G-Sync Impressions

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GSync Install, Thoughts

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:57 pm

Hey all! I've got the GSync module installed in my Asus VG248QE. I'm loving it sofar; more details and high-speed footage to come. In the meantime, I thought I'd share my install experience:

The box:

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UPC! (Ready for the shelf ;) )

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Top layer in the box with the GSync board:

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Second layer: Instructions, parts, power supply:

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Second layer spread out:

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Power supply; as you'll see later the original monitor includes an internal power supply while the GSync board does not. Note the company name. :)

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Manuals, sticker, pry tool, displayport cable

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Gsync board

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Gsync board from the displayport angle. Note displayport only.

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Gsync board power hookup

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The "brains" of the Gsync board. I really wanted to remove the heatsink and take a look under the hood but figured I'd better not this time around. Note the RAM.

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Parts and monitor ready to go.

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Prying off the back shell. I don't care for this part of modding. (I miss screws)

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Back shell off.

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Board ready to go.

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Guts removed from panel. Note the guts are taped on from the manufacturer!

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A look @ the "backside" of the original guts. Board on your right is a power supply.

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Original board/ps vs. the Gsync board.

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If you're installing one note you have to twist the end of the lvds connectors to ensure the cable reaches and that it's in the right direction.

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Twist so they look like this before plugging in:

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The back reinstalled with Gsync guts inside.

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Case back on.

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New OSD (looks nice!) 144hz.

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I'll save the subjective assessment and high speed videos for later. For now, I'll comment on the VG248QE itself before/after the mod:

- As stated, power supply is now external.
- As stated, only displayport is supported.
- All monitor controls are gone with the exception of brightness. I'm not disappointed by this however, Most monitor options/OSDs have gone off the deep end and the VG248QE is no exception. All the other options can be set with video drivers.
- The OSD is replaced with what you see on the last screenshot. I love this OSD; it states very clearly the resolution, refresh rate (max) and mode (g,vsync).
- The minimum brightness on the monitor is a bit brighter than before, not a huge deal though.
- GSync is enabled via a driver setting under 3d Settings.

More to come!
Toby
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Re: GSync Install, Thoughts

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:58 pm

Here's the high speed Vsync Off vs. G-Sync video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4-ApJA0Zag

More to come.
Last edited by Toby on Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Toby
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Re: GSync Install, Thoughts

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:44 am

reserved for more comment.. :lol:
Windows8.1 Pro 64 bit, Antec EA650 Power Supply, ASRock Extreme 4 motherboard, I5 3570K processor, 8 gigs of Kingston HyperX 1600 DDR3 ram, Kingston HyperX 3K 240 gig SSD, Asus GTX660, Cooler Master Storm Scout case
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Re: G-Sync Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:46 am

Topic merged.
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!"
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The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:15 am

Moderator / Admin Notice: I apologize if this thread is posted in the wrong place, feel free to move it if it is. My PM was never answered, so I just decided to post it in the most appropriate place I could think of.

Notice: This review constitutes a set of opinions gathered from a week of general usage. No scientific testing was conducted. As such, there will likely be discrepancies between my impression of the experiences and more accurate data. In all cases of science, I defer to the following articles posted by The Tech Report and Blur Busters. These people are far smarter than I and know far more than I do. They also have wonderfully clear and scientifically collected data, none of which I have. If you find my review inaccurate or below your standards, please feel free to read theirs.


What is this thread?

Simple, The G-Sync giveaway run by Nvidia and The Tech Report demands the requirement of giving feedback to the community if you should win the contest. As one of the winners, this thread is where I plan to continuously give feedback. This, of course, will start with just this one post about my experiences thus far. However, it is very likely to expand well beyond that in the future.

What is G-Sync?

This is a question I think most people haven't had answered just yet. Not that I think the technical data surrounding G-Sync is entirely incomplete, but I do believe it's largely difficult to draw any actual conclusions from it. The idea of G-Sync is an extremely old technology, an idea older than VESA standards, born from the birth of computer graphics. It's simply the idea of having a display device refresh synchronously, in time with a computer application. So, if I were to make a program that was to display a duck, this sort of technology would update the screen with the duck whenever the program says the duck is ready to be displayed. It's a very basic way of doing things, which places quite a lot of weight on the programmer getting the timing right.

You see, screens of all varieties have physical limitations. CRTs can only draw a new line so quickly at a fixed resolution, and LCDs need to draw a line slowly enough to overcome transitional blurring. As a result, screens have traditionally refreshed on a fixed cycle, usually measured in Hertz or Hz for short. At a typical 60Hz refresh rate, a monitor will copy the buffer from a video card exactly that many times per second, and draw the contents of that buffer exactly that many times per second. All of this slowness and careful timing induces problems with drawing a program directly to a screen. The problem is that a screen might not be ready to draw an image by the time a program is. If a program updates the screen too quickly, we land up with two different pictures being drawn on our display in a single refresh. This is what translates into tearing, and runt frames. However, there's also the inverse problem. A screen could be ready to update before a program is ready. In this case, the screen merely repeats whatever it has available until something new arrives. This is what translates to stutter and micro stutter.

Um... but was is G-Sync?

I'm getting there. G-Sync is partially a form of V-Sync. Now, V-Sync has been around for a while, and all it does is tell a program to wait until the next refresh is done before sending out the next image. This solves half the problem with display timing, but not all of it. The problem is that this eliminates runt frames and tearing, but does not account for stutter and micro stutter from a program that slows down. Instead, most V-Sync implementations make the problem worse, by making the program wait even longer than needed in order to produce the already late frame. This is where most people get it wrong, however; V-Sync doesn't induce the stuttering, it only makes it worse. The stuttering is always there. With V-Sync off it's more than possible for a frame to miss a refresh and induce a stutter.

All of that said, Nvidia tried to alleviate the exacerbation of stutter using V-Sync, by implementing a new system some time ago. Their answer, Adaptive V-Sync, is a terminally mis-marketed technology that simply disables V-Sync whenever a program slows and misses an expected refresh. This technology does eliminate the usual V-Sync issues, but does nothing to actually stop the stutter entirely, which is unfortunately contrary to the sensationalized marketing material accompanying it. Adaptive V-Sync was largely ignored after launch, but it is currently an actual component of G-Sync. I believe this is important to mention, as I have yet to read anyone else discuss it.

Well, okay, Adaptive V-Sync... right... but what's G-Sync?

Alright, now here's the part where things get interesting: G-Sync is a one-step magical cure-all to stutter and micro stutter, used in conjunction with Adaptive V-Sync to remove all traces of visual artifacts from the display refresh system.

So, um... what is G-Sync?

This is the problem really. It's why G-Sync is so terminally difficult to even describe, and why capturing it in a video for playback on a display is nearly impossible. G-Sync is several technologies and ideas thrown together into a single unified system. At its core G-Sync is actually a promise, more than anything else. It's a plan on the part of Nvidia to dedicate itself to eliminating a set of problems no one has given a name yet. This, I believe, is why G-Sync comes on a programmable chip rather than a dedicated piece of silicon. Nvidia probably will continue to add components to and modify G-Sync as the product continues to move forward. As such, these impressions of mine will likely only hold true in regards to the beta product of G-Sync, and only on the ASUS VG248QE in particular. I do not claim to think that G-Sync will be the same experience by Q2 2014, or even on the 2560x1440 displays recently announced at CES.

G-Sync is a very beta product, and any feelings I have on it now are only in regards to its current beta status.

All of that just for another warning? Come on! Give it to me straight! What is G-Sync?

From my understanding, G-Sync is a set of technologies used in unison:

    Adaptive V-Sync: For eliminating tearing artifacts when a program is faster than a refresh cycle on a monitor.
    Adaptive Refresh Rates: A technology built into the Display Port VESA standard which allows a graphics card to adjust the timing of a monitor refresh rate however it chooses.
    G-Sync: A technology which matches Adaptive Refresh Rates on a monitor to the exact timing of each individual frame in a full screen program from 30Hz to the maximum the monitor allows, instantaneously.

To put it simply, G-Sync is a piece of technology bundled with other technology that solves what V-Sync can't. It's an instantaneous, lag-free system for smoothing the delivery of all frames to the maximum extent that technology can currently allow. It's also the name of the overall package, which includes Adaptive Refresh Rates to make the system possible using existing cable technology, along with Adaptive V-Sync to smooth out the distribution of frames above the threshold the monitor can handle.

But that's just three technologies! You made it sound like there was a bunch of them!

There are.

This is where G-Sync gets confusing. You see, those are the technologies already built into the very-much-beta, fully-reprogrammable, and not-entirely-finished G-Sync technology itself. When you open up the Nvidia Control Panel and go to the Set Up G-SYNC page, hitting enable turns on all of these together.

However, there are other technologies in the physical G-Sync kit which are not yet a part of G-Sync.

As a hint, they're all listed in the title.

What is ULMB?

Ultra Low Motion Blur is Nvidia's official response to the idea of 2D lightboost. It's essentially a button on the monitor which turns on 2D lightboost in one press, without any of the fuss that was once involved in it. ULMB is also significantly better than lightboost was, it lacks the color and contrast issues that plagued lightboost, and appears to work a little better overall.

Before you ask, lightboost was an Nvidia technology designed to eliminate pixel-persistence by strobing the backlight of a monitor in time with the refresh rate. It was designed for 3D Vision 2, and was aimed at eliminating the nasty blurring artifacts which many users complained about with the original 3D Vision. However 3D users eventually discovered, by way of a driver bug, that lightboost could be used in 2D mode to eliminate blur just as well. What this ultimately does in both 3D and 2D modes is to completely eliminate the sort of "LCD blur" which makes people defend and cling to their CRTs. A driver hack was created for people with 3D Vision 2 compatible monitors and spread throughout the internet like wildfire.

Though 2D lightboost was far from perfect, and in-fact, had some very serious problems. For one, Nvidia's 3D Vision glasses are tinted. It's a slight byproduct of the overall design of the kit, but lightboost had to have contrast and color settings modified in order to make videogames appear correct while wearing the 3D glasses. As such, in 2D mode, lightboost gave the wrong color and contrast settings and made games appear oddly washed out.

ULMB corrects all of this. While it functions precisely like lightboost whenever 3D Vision is enabled, using the button on the display to activate the 2D mode turns off the color correction and contrast differences designed for the 3d glasses. As such, it completely removes LCD motion blur with only one actual drawback, a slightly dimmer display. However, on an overly bright panel like the one in a VG248QE, this is hardly an issue.

You're talking about 3D Vision a lot there. What is that? Isn't 3D a gimmick designed to sell Televisions?

That's true. 3D in movies and in television is largely a gimmick designed to sell more useless products to consumers. HOWEVER, Nvidia's 3D Vision is not just a gimmick. In fact, any 3D technology for video games is a fantastic idea.

Why? I don't want things to get flung in my face while playing a game.

That's just it, really. Nvidia's 3D vision doesn't do that. Often, the best 3D Vision titles aren't games where something flies right at you.

No, 3D Vision is really all about depth perception. Basically, in a standard videogame it's really hard to judge distances. When we do judge distances, it's almost always in relation to other objects. This is simply because we're looking at something our brain knows is flat in the surface of a monitor, and while we certainly know that things are in motion and do have some ability to determine distance relatively in these 2D videogame worlds, we lack any actual precision in knowing exact distances, especially when a game world is sparse and contains few objects to compare distance with. This is how a lot of open world games get away with having mountains or sky boxes no taller than anything else in the level. Distance in videogames, and the appearance of depth is a complete illusion.

That is, until you apply actual 3D technologies. At that point, the illusions fall away, and everything becomes as precise in the game world as it is in real life. Take my experience with Eurotruck Simulator 2 as a good example. While it's easy enough to drive one of these trucks in 2D mode, judging the distance to the car in front of you, for a critical task like stopping, can be difficult to do accurately without risking getting it wrong. Try this picture for instance. Could you tell me how far away the truck is from the car in front? How about that car from the car in front of it? How long then, before the truck driver has to start breaking? You could probably guess if you have experience with the game, or even make a fairly educated guess by counting car lengths. However, in 3D mode, I'd only need to glance at this image to give you an answer.

Wonderful a monitor advertizement and an advertizement for 3D Vision. Great. What does this have to do with the G-Sync upgrade kit?

Simply put, the G-Sync upgrade kit includes all of these components. So, should you be considering buying a G-Sync kit for a VG248QE, you'll be buying three technologies: G-Sync, ULMB, and 3D Vision compatibility.

Now, let's drop the Q and A format for a second and discuss why this is important. All three of these technologies could be considered to be critical for playing games. G-Sync eliminates artifacts from the refresh cycle, ULMB eliminates LCD motion blur, and 3D vision allows for precision depth perception. All three of these features have games they work better in, and games where they do practically nothing. All three of these technologies are interesting, and all three of these technologies are propriteary components of the G-Sync upgrade kit and technologies exclusively owned and updated by Nvidia.

However, there's a problem. A big problem. A problem that's difficult to deal with, ugly, and likely representative of the kit being a very beta product.

None of these three technologies work together.

That's my big problem with the G-Sync upgrade kit thus far, and it's not a small one.

Want to play Eurotuck Simulator 2 without crashing into things? Sure! Turn on 3D vision and go! Oh, but don't expect G-Sync to work with it.

Well, okay then, how about a game where G-Sync is more important like Metro Last Light? I've always wanted to play that without stutter, can I just turn off 3D vision when I start that game?

Nope! You have to go into the Nvidia Control Panel and SWAP from 3D vision to G-Sync.

Well, Metro looks great with G-Sync, but I miss my old lightboost mode. Can I turn that on now?

Nope. The ULMB button will give you a nice OSD message letting you know that isn't possible.

Um, so what do I need to do to get it working?

Turn off G-Sync in the Nvidia Control Panel and lower the refresh rate to 120, 100, or 85Hz. Then the ULMB button will work.

What? I can't use ULMB at 144Hz? But G-Sync works just fine at 144Hz!

I know, but apparently the backlight doesn't like the extra 24Hz, and neither does 3D Vision.

What About 3D Vision and ULMB? Can I tick on 3D Vision in the Nvidia Control Panel and use ULMB at 120Hz? I promise I'll turn off 3D vision when the game starts!

Not while 3D vision is enabled. It has to be disabled. It can't just be off. It has to be completely disabled in the Nvidia Control Panel for ULMB mode to work.

That sounds like a mess!

It is.

There's no nice way of saying this, unfortunately. Nvidia's G-Sync kit is an end-user nightmare of continuously opening, navigating, setting, and resetting options in the Nvidia Control Panel between games. If you want ULMB for twitch shooters like Call of Duty or Counterstrike then you have to go disable G-Sync, turn down your refresh rate to 120/100/or 85Hz, and make sure 3D Vision is completely disabled as well. If you want G-Sync for competitive StarCraft II play or an unparallelled experience in Metro Last Light, you need to disable 3D vision completely, make sure ULMB is off, turn up your refresh rate to the highest it goes, and enable G-Sync in the Nvidia Control Panel. If you want 3D Vision for Eurotruck Simulator 2 or War Thunder then you need to completely disable G-Sync, turn down your refresh rate to 120Hz, make sure ULMB is off, and enable 3D Vision through the Nvidia Control Panel.

It's a mess.

A really huge mess.

Enough of a mess to turn people away.

And the sad part is that we haven't even gotten to the hardest and most difficult part of the G-Sync kit yet.

The installation is a nightmare.

Even if you have a fair amount of skill assembling computers, I wouldn't advise attempting to install the G-Sync upgrade kit yourself, not for the VG248QE anyway. I got my G-Sync kit the day before New Year's, and started installation sometime early on in the afternoon. It was only twenty minutes till 2014 before the monitor was back together with my G-Sync kit fully installed. I won't claim to be the most competent of technicians, and I'm sure the video I recorded of the process will make me look like a complete fool when I finally get around to uploading it to YouTube. Still, following Nvidia's initial and somewhat flawed install instructions to the letter resulted in hours of work, actual damage to the bezel of my monitor, and having to take the whole thing apart three times. Even after all of that, I still couldn't figure out how certain pieces were supposed to attach, and despite my best efforts the inside components still don't line up correctly with the holes on the back of the monitor. I landed up with an extra screw out of the install which refused to stay where it was supposed to go, along with a back plate for the new power connector that does not seem to have any way to snap or screw in place.

Overall the install process was painful, long, nerve wracking, and not something I think even the most confident of IT techs should commit to trying without serious research. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not even people I don't like, and especially not people who haven't opened up something other than a computer before.

If I had paid 200 dollars for this kit, I'd be mad about it.

Usually when you win something in a contest it's supposed to make you feel good. It's like a present from a website or a company that you love, and getting something like that during the holidays should have made it that much sweeter. Though that's not how I feel about G-Sync. Overall I feel like I just broke even on this thing with my investment in time and relative frustration alone versus the relative payoff of the features rewarded to me. If I had added a cost of 200 dollars on top of this though, I'm not sure I'd still be okay with it. The kit is currently too rough around the edges to be a strong and expensive consumer product, and the install process is too harrowing to safely sell it as an upgrade kit to a monitor.

If you own a VG248QE and you're excited about the G-Sync conversion kits, i'd tell you to either have a professional instal the kit for you, or wait to buy a new monitor with G-Sync pre-installed.

While Nvidia has upgraded the installation instructions and made a video recently, I still believe that this is too much to ask of an ordinary consumer.

It's all too obvious these monitors were never designed to be taken apart, and most will never be able to instal one of these kits properly on their own.

Okay, we get it. You're a G-Sync hater. You probably love Free-Sync, don't you?

No, It's not like that at all. After spending a lot of time with the kit, I have to say that I'm actually really happy with G-Sync itself, and I think that it definitely offers a different and better alternative to V-Sync based alternatives like Triple Buffering while making animation and camera panning far smoother than its ever been in video games. I just didn't want to go into discussing the benefits of G-Sync without giving you a thorough understanding of what's wrong with it.

The truth is, G-Sync is a really amazing technology showcase. Even with all of its maddening quirks, and its difficulties and it's problems, I still find myself liking G-Sync a lot.

So, what are the benefits of G-Sync?

I'm going to cheat and say the first benefit is bringing 120Hz+, ULMB, and 3D Vision to a whole new range of monitors. Before, we had to thoroughly research monitors to discover whether they had specifications like that, but now Nvidia has effectively established a baseline for extremely competent gaming monitors. There's no more trial and error, or guess work, or assuming forum posts are right. Now, all of these features are included on any monitor with the G-Sync branding attached to it. This is a big step up, and a really positive event for the entire monitor industry.

It's a shame that AMD isn't included on the G-Sync tech itself, but it at least appears possible that Free-Sync type tech may work on G-Sync monitors thanks to Nvidia's usage of tech built into the Display Port Standard. At the very least, these monitors have a guaranteed level of high refresh rate support for non-Nvidia users. That's already more than they had before.

For us Nvidia users, G-Sync means a much larger base of players with 3D Vision capable monitors, and a larger pool of people who can try 3D Vision glasses. This means Nvidia is more likely to expand 3D Vision support or update 3D Vision profiles more frequently. When you combine this with the fact that 3D compatibility is built into DirectX 11.1 on Windows 7 and Windows 8, along with the next gen consoles all supporting these feature levels, this all starts to look like a really good future for 3D Vision. We may have a lot more "excellent" rated 3D games in the future, and that's certainly not a bad thing at all.

Finally, Nvidia's G-Sync controller board is gigantic and extremely overbuilt, so it's more likely to take to larger resolutions and faster refresh rates. We're already seeing new G-Sync monitors with 2560x1440 resolutions at 120Hz, and I've heard we may see 1080p monitors at 177Hz in the future. Combine these high quality Nvidia boards with the new upcoming Display Port 1.3 standard and we could see 4K monitors with high refresh rates far sooner than we see graphics cards capable of actually pushing them.

Which actually segues nicely into the next topic.

So, what does G-Sync mean? Specifically, G-Sync the technology and not just G-Sync the kit.

Having G-Sync on is a wonderful experience, in certain games, but it's not really all that noticeable in all games. I noticed it the most in Metro Last Light, which is a fine example of a game that isn't remotely optimized in any way shape or form. On the highest settings, turning on G-Sync in Metro Last Light felt like playing a whole new game. Facial animations were all startlingly well done, giving a clear impression that the characters were all actually speaking. Movements were fast and sharp, even with motion blur on. Swapping out, firing, and reloading weapons was all clean and fast as well. In this game G-Sync gives the impression of playing at well over 200 FPS. It's just faster and smoother than I ever thought possible, and without Nvidia's pendulum tech demo to test G-Sync myself, Last Light instantly sold me on the capability of the technology. There really isn't anything like watching a hundred or so PhysX particles fly around with silky smoothness while reloading in a heated firefight. G-Sync completely removes every last instance of the horrible stuttering we've come to expect from the 4A Engine, and then some. Words can describe it easily enough, but they hardly do it justice. A brick and mortar store would do well to have G-Sync on while looping the Metro Last Light benchmark over and over again on a test system.

Though, there's a problem with using Last Light as the poster boy for why G-Sync is a good idea. Last Light has some of the worst problems with stutter, tearing, and animation quality in the industry. This hardly makes the game fair comparison material, as there are many games with significantly cleaner and better animation quality and less stuttering issues. I'll be testing other games more thoroughly in the future, but I've noticed that F.E.A.R doesn't necessarily benefit in any noticeable way from using G-Sync.

That said, messing with the quality options in Metro Last Light yielded interesting results. The higher the frame rate got in the game, the less profound the difference was between G-Sync and the standard result. On a high refresh monitor like this one, getting closer to 144 fps and 144Hz didn't feel that much different from playing with G-Sync disabled. Though it still definitely felt a bit better. The largest difference I experienced was around the 30 to 60 fps range. In here, The game felt impossibly smooth, and it got me questioning whether high refresh monitors or even high frame rates were really all the necessary in the face of smoothing technology this powerful. If a game like Last Light could stutter like mad at 40 fps, a speed some people consider to be 'unplayable', and yet be rendered totally silky smooth by G-Sync: it makes a very strong case for buying lower end Nvidia cards and putting the money saved towards a G-Sync monitor, or using incredibly demanding features like Driver forced SGSSAA or 3D vision.

The bottom line is that G-Sync obliterates the idea that larger frame rates, or even more evenly distributed frame rates, translates into smoother animation. It completely turns the tables on the status quo, and really changes things. It's incredible technology, and I'm really excited to see where it can go from here. Though I'm also kind of scared that it might not go where it needs to, being as it just feels so incomplete at this point.

What Nvidia needs to do.

G-Sync is terrible as an upgrade kit, and selling it that way should never be done again unless the installation process is done by certified and professional technicians. Though, that doesn't really worry me too much, I don't think too many people will get turned off to G-Sync by buying a frustrating and expensive upgrade kit.

What really needs to happen to G-Sync is just for more of the features in the kit to be included in the G-Sync technology suite. John Carmack, at one of the G-Sync events, talked about bringing ULMB into G-Sync, and I have to agree that this is Nvidia's real next step. There's no reason why a circuit board as huge as G-Sync with a fully programmable chip design can't make an already strobing backlight strobe less-quickly in time with lower monitor refreshes. I can understand that it might not be able to take the extra 24Hz of the LCD panel itself, but even if it just turns off the strobing or locks it to 120Hz when you go over that threshold, these technologies really shouldn't be separate. There shouldn't be any reason why a competitive FPS player would choose a Low Motion Blur mode over G-Sync. The two should really just be designed to work together.

Next, Nvidia has to do something about swapping back and fourth between these technologies. Right now, it's a complete mess moving from 3D Vision to ULMB to G-Sync. 3D Vision doesn't do anything exotic with screen refreshes apart from the backlight strobing, so there's no reason why 3D Vision shouldn't be compatible with G-Sync either. At the very least, turning off 3D Vision with the keyboard shortcut or the button on the IR emitter should swap directly to G-Sync without a user having to go and change over in the Nvidia Control Panel. The way it's set up right now can't be the way it all works in the consumer product. It's a disaster right now.

Finally, G-Sync needs a driver which is more stable. It's not G-Sync's fault, but the last stable Nvidia driver on my computer was 314.22. All of the other ones since have had serious problems, with the most recent two WHQL drivers and the surrounding Betas being the worst. This isn't good considering G-Sync needs 331.77 or higher in order to function. Nvidia's current drivers conflict horribly with my sound card and USB drivers, causing strange USB related Blue Screens to pop up at random with absolutely no warning. They also induce strange stutters which don't seem to go away, even after the driver crashes and resets. The stutters slow down my extremely powerful computer to a crawl reminiscent of a full stop, but tend to vanish after a full reboot. I'm not sure what causes these issues, but I don't have any of them with the 314.22 drivers, and yes I've checked extensively to make sure my overclocks aren't doing it. I have my graphics cards running at stock now and it hasn't increased or decreased the frequency of crashes and stutters under the new drivers. It's not my CPU or my RAM either, as I've also checked those extensively at stock speeds, it's just these drivers that do it. so, until Nvidia finally finds a stable replacement for 314.22, or just squashes the horrible bugs in 332.21, I really don't think many will find G-Sync appealing.

Or any brand new Nvidia product for that matter, their drivers just really need a solid bug-fixing release.

My Final Thoughts on G-Sync or TL;DR

G-Sync is a promise from Nvidia. It means higher quality monitors, better quality gameplay experiences, and a dedication to making gaming better. Though, in its current form it's questionable as to whether it accomplishes that or just induces levels of frustration. It's a very Beta-level product with tons of weaknesses and tons of positive points. It has a lot going for it, and a lot that needs to be improved.

The good news is that the capacity is there to add these improvements in theory. The question is whether or not Nvidia will support these needed improvements moving forward. I have my doubts, but at the winning price of "free" I was more than willing to bet my monitor on it.

Though I think the upgrade kit is too difficult to install and that most people should just wait for actual G-Sync monitors to release, or have a professional install an upgrade kit for them.

Either way, G-Sync is a diamond in the rough, an emerging technology that has plenty of room to improve into something truly wonderful. Assuming Nvidia can deliver on the promises, G-Sync has my endorsement.

My Computer Specs.

CPU: Intel i7 3770k
Cooler: Kraken X60
Mobo: Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3
RAM: 16GB (4x4GB) G.Skill (Two kits of F3-2400C10D-8GZH)
GPU: EVGA GTX 680 FTW+ 4GB w/backplate
PhysX: EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Classified Ultra
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200w
Storage: 2x 1TB Western Digital Drives. Caviar Black (Primary) and Caviar Green (Storage)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Stryker
CD/DVD Burner: ASUS DRW-24B1ST

Primary Monitor: VG248QE (G-Sync from 680)
Secondary Monitors: ACER AL2216W & ACER AL1716 (from 560 Ti)

Sound Card what causes Blue Screens with new Nvidia drivers: TASCAM US-122L (Connected for XLR Microphone)

Accessories:
3D Vision 2 kit from Nvidia
Razer Onza
Razer Death Adder 2013
Razer Black Widow Ultimate Stealth Edition

Thoughts on "Free-Sync"

I find it unlikely that a large company like Nvidia with a lot of exceptionally competent engineers would spend a ton of time and money implementing something in an incredibly complicated manner that already exists. My guess is that the systems built into eDP for laptops are power saving features, intended to lover refresh cycles in environments where they aren't necessary in order to save power. For example, limiting the output of the desktop to 30Hz instead of 60Hz to save battery life.

My guess is that this technology either doesn't translate well into what Nvidia's doing, as it may not be fast enough to synchronize completely with the frame-rate output of a graphics card, or it may just not do what they need. If the two don't jive perfectly then you might get a 42 fps screen refresh displaying at 44.5621 Hz, or a similar mismatch, which would still produce either tearing or stuttering of some kind in the final image.

Also, the inclusion of triple buffering does not sit right with me. Triple Buffering, unfortunately, can mean a lot of things. More often than not it means odd buffering which can induce latency. If it's anything like the triple buffering in The Stanley Parable, you won't feel it over the maximum refresh of the monitor, but there will be really noticeable problems with mouse movement below that. Yes problems, not necessarily lag problems either. It might be that a combination of driver forced 8xSGSSAA and driver forced HBAO+ might be messing with the triple buffering algorithm Valve uses in that version of the source engine, but sometimes I feel like the mouse doesn't do what I tell it to in that game with triple buffering on.

I'm not saying AMD's implementation couldn't work, I'm sure it'll definitely end up being a "good enough" Cheap-Sync. However, monitors that support "free-sync" are not guaranteed to support a minimum feature set similar to G-Sync. At least, not yet. In the future, that may change. For now, there's really no telling.

Color me hopeful, but not expecting miracles.

Future Updates Go Here:

Let me know if there's any games, configurations, or applications you want me to try with my VG248QE. I'll make new posts for them, and link to those here if I can. I'm more than willing to spend more time with G-Sync in applications or scenarios I've already left feedback on, if you want more details from me.

I apologize deeply for any grammar or spelling or formatting errors. I swear, English is my first language, but sometimes I just miss things. I'm only human, after all, and cyborg upgrades are expensive.
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Re: The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:17 am

OMG, amazing input mate, thanks a lot for posting ^ in detail.
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Re: The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:00 am

That was A LOT of words :o
Amazing Mr. X wrote:I find it unlikely that a large company like Nvidia with a lot of exceptionally competent engineers would spend a ton of time and money implementing something in an incredibly complicated manner that already exists.

I agree.

Amazing Mr. X wrote:3D in movies and in television is largely a gimmick designed to sell more useless products to consumers. HOWEVER, Nvidia's 3D Vision is not just a gimmick.

I've actually experienced both of these, using active glasses, and I completely disagree. I like watching movies like Avatar with well-implemented 3D effects, whereas using such gimmicks in current games does absolutely nothing to enhance my enjoyment or improve my performance in them. Maybe in future when (in an addition to VR goggles) full VR suits with treadmills will be widely available and every game will require them I might change my opinion, but right now the Nvidia's 3D Vision is still an unnecessary gimmick designed to attract some simple-minded sheeple :wink:
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Re: The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:25 am

Thanks for the detailed writeup! From what you wrote, and from a lot of your complaints, one thing about G-sync is very clear: It's obviously at the beta-test quality/simplicity level right now. A bunch of the issues you had (like even having to hack a monitor in the first place) are due to the fact that G-sync is obviously not 100% mature yet and Nvidia still has a bunch of polishing to do before it is a refined feature that people can use without too much hassle.
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Re: The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:38 am

chuckula wrote:Thanks for the detailed writeup! From what you wrote, and from a lot of your complaints, one thing about G-sync is very clear: It's obviously at the beta-test quality/simplicity level right now. A bunch of the issues you had (like even having to hack a monitor in the first place) are due to the fact that G-sync is obviously not 100% mature yet and Nvidia still has a bunch of polishing to do before it is a refined feature that people can use without too much hassle.

Bingo. This kind of change is going to take work (especially to get other technologies and ideas to work with it), and it also needs people to see the benefits in order to spread the word about the technology. My hope is that adaptive refreshing will come to all displays in some form. And yes, the upgrade kit will go away fairly quickly as soon as the design is complete.

Next up, I am fairly certain that this thread will be merged with this one. I think they're trying to keep winner impressions in one place.

Thanks for the detailed write up, by the way. You should probably have it reviewed a couple times and see if you can get it published on a blog or something. It was fun to read, and helps cover a lot of bases.
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Re: The G-Sync Experience: ULMB, 3D Vision, and 144Hz.

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:37 am

Amazing Mr. X wrote:Though, there's a problem with using Last Light as the poster boy for why G-Sync is a good idea. Last Light has some of the worst problems with stutter, tearing, and animation quality in the industry. This hardly makes the game fair comparison material, as there are many games with significantly cleaner and better animation quality and less stuttering issues. I'll be testing other games more thoroughly in the future, but I've noticed that F.E.A.R doesn't necessarily benefit in any noticeable way from using G-Sync.


I think as far as FEAR goes, I can understand GSync not having a very noticeable impact. Things are already going to be extremely fluid since you are:

- Playing a game from 2005 on 3770k and GTX 680
- Have a 144Hz Screen
- Probably using fpslimiter.exe or DXTory to lock your game at 85-100 fps since that is what most FEAR 'pros' consider to be the sweet spot
- Likely playing at a lower resolution in the 800x600 to 1024x768 range if you are a competitive FEAR player


I played FEAR multiplayer at 960x540 100hz (custom resolution in nvidia control panel), 100fps frame limit using DXtory, vsync OFF with a BenQ XL2420t 120hz monitor.

The first time I played FEAR with a 120hz monitor, it was so smooth it was unbeliveable. RMAing my 1st XL2420t due to stuck pixels and using a 60hz Samsung while I waited was like playing in slow motion.

Do you still play FEAR today? Every few months I open the server browser and just see MXT CTF with 1.5 runspeed and awful custom maps being the only populated server and ALT-F4 out. I miss the older "pure" competitive setting servers running league settings, 1.2-1.3 runspeed and stock maps.
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Re: G-Sync Impressions

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:49 pm

Thread merged.

Thanks for all the contributions.
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Re: G-Sync Impressions

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:43 pm

Nicely done guys, extra kudos go out to Amazing Mr. X for the extremely easy to read, but yet still very detailed writeup. Someone give this guy a job doing this stuff. I can honestly say I really enjoyed reading your writeup and that's a hard thing for me to say because I usually wont read an entire post that long.

Anyway, from what I can tell this technology is extremely fascinating, yet too many quirks in it for me buy one just yet. I believe that technology like this will help pave the future for a whole new set of highly optimized gaming monitors. The only issue I have with it so far is that Nvidia plans to keep it to themselves for the most part, which in one way is great for the business, but horrible for the consumer. In my opinion technology like this should be widespread and done on all platforms.
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