Does more FPS than Screen refresh rate really make sense? Myth busting of all the confusions and more about different sync technology

Who doesn't love to have a lot of fps, Right? More fps provide smoother experience; however, your screen is limited to some refresh rate like 60HZ and your GPU is capable of providing more than 60 fps, does it make any difference?

You might have heard that Your display cannot show more fps than your refresh rate. That’s Right, your display cannot show more fps than the actual refresh rate. But you can notice the difference of gameplay with same HZ screen on different fps. If you play with a 60HZ monitor on 60 fps rather than you play on the same monitor but with 120 fps, then you might notice some better experience than 60 fps. 

Here is the answer why higher FPS is better, but before we talk about the solution, we need to know how GPU and display work together to send frames into your eye.

Let’s start with the display. Suppose you have a 60HZ display. It means the monitor is updating its display every 1/60 second, that is equal to 16.7ms. But when you play a game then it is not necessary that your GPU render at exact same time. It can be 20ms, 14 ms,10ms anything. There are two methods, your frames can reach to monitor:
1) Vsync off 
2) Vsync on

    1)   Vsync off: - Your rendered frames reach to your display as soon as it renders.
    2     Vsync on: - Rendered frames wait till your display is ready to refresh.

With Vsync off, rendered frames are sent to display without waiting for a refresh. So, you get more new frames without refresh and when refresh happens then you have new frames along with old frames, which are instantly sent to display as it renders. That is the reason why you get two or three piece of an image. 

To get rid of this terrible situation, we put Vsync mode turn on then all the rendered frames wait till the new refresh happen.

It first renders the frames, stores into a buffer and waits till the refresh time. That is the big reason for long input delay. Most of the pro gamers avoid using Vsync on. It updates screen with rendered frames at the same time so you won’t get screen terror, but it makes a delay which is a problem, whereas in Vsync off you will get short delay because it renders frames as soon as they are made.

Frame Latency: - Very basic definition of frame latency is the delay between performing an action and displaying on the screen.

So here we talk about the 60HZ display, it can refresh after every 1/60 seconds. It can only display the latest picture that your pc has rendered within last 1/60 second. So, if you have low fps than actual refresh rate, then you will get some delayed mouse movement or some weird animation. 

For example: - If your pc has rendered 60 frames within 16.7ms and suppose it has frame latency of 2ms. Now within the same 1 refresh(16.7ms)  if we have 120 frames, then frame latency will become 1ms.
That is the answer to the question; 

Fewer frames you have in refresh, more you got latency. Similarly, more frames you have in refresh, less latency you will get. You play a game on 300 or 400 fps with a 60HZ display which produces around 2.4ms latency and you compare it with 60 fps(produces 16.7ms latency), you will get more smoothness, better mouse movements than normal 60 fps. 

I want to share one more example to clear myth about human eye can not see more than 60 fps. Most of the peoples think that the human eye can not see more than 60fps. So, you won’t notice any difference on more than 60 fps but this is not completely true. Let me explain you with an example, suppose you are staring at one image then how much fps do you need to see? Nothing right, because it is static but when picture move from left to right then how much fps do you need to see it properly? OK, let me make it simple, suppose there is cursor on a desktop which moves on the screen at 1 pixel per second speed so you need only 1 fps to see it properly. Now suppose you have an object moving on your left to right at 150000 pixels per second. How much fps do you need to see it clearly now? If you have a native resolution like 1920*1080, we divide it by our pixels and we get 1080/150000=0.0072 equals to 7.2ms. now if we divide 1000  by 7.2ms, we get actual fps to see the object clearly. So, if we divide 1000/7.2=139 fps that means we need 139 fps to see that object properly. So, if you play very high graphics games with 60HZ monitor and you are getting more than 60 fps will definitely make difference if you compare 60fps gameplay and 120fps gameplay.

There is no doubt you can get a better experience by upgrading your display which already has low latency because of high refresh rate and more fps reduces the amount of latency more. This is the simple reason for all the confusions and myths.

Now, I think I have cleared myth about refresh rate and fps, but what about Vsync? If you turn off Vsync then you will get screen tearing, mixing of frames and if you turn on Vsync then you will get mouse lag, higher uses of power and more. So, what is the solution? Because of the drawbacks of Vsync technology, many giant companies like Nvidia and AMD came with lots of new techniques like:
      1) Nvidia G-sync
      2) AMD free sync
      3) fast sync

1) Nvidea G-sync:- Nvidia came up with the new technology called G-sync to reduce screen tearing and alternative technology to the Vsync.  The major drawback of Vsync is input delay, and one more is fps drop. If you have enough powerful GPU which can produce more fps than your monitor refresh rate but Vsync technology will hold fps constant to monitor refresh rate and if your GPU has rendered frames earlier than refresh time, then still it has to wait till the next refresh happen which produces a big delay. The second one is, if your GPU produces low fps than your screen monitor, then it will cut half of the fps and start refreshing. Example if your GPU produce 48fps and your screen refresh rate is 60HZ, then with the Vsync ON, it will reduce refresh rate to 30 and you will get only 30fps constant. So, these are big disadvantages of Vsync technology.

Nvidia introduces G-sync technology alternative to Vsync. A very simple explanation of G-sync technology is they made an adaptive frame technology to reduce tearing and very less delay than Vsync. Let’s understand with an example, if your GPU produce 45 fps and your screen is 60HZ then it will set screen refresh to 45HZ. It changes the refresh rate of the screen as per the fps produces, so that there is no delay between frames and refresh plus. You will get full fps which your GPU is producing. 

1) No screen tearing
2) less delay then Vsync
3) can get maximum of fps your GPU provides.

1) You need to buy special G-sync supported monitor to work with it
2) It doesn’t work when your GPU is providing more fps than your refresh rate.

2) Free sync:- AMD’s free sync and Nvidia’s G-Sync does the same thing, but the way they work is different. Here you also need to buy a special monitor which supports free sync technology. It works same as the G-sync technology on variable refresh rate called dynamic refresh rate. 

Things which are different between G-sync and free sync: free sync uses open, adaptive sync standard (which is 30HZ-144HZ) and display port revision 1.2A with adaptive sync support in firmware. While Nvidia G-sync only works on it’s built-in Nvidia scaler module. Pretty much both work on the same objective but the way they are doing is different that makes cost different. Now, it is up to you whether you go with Nvidia or AMD.

3) Fast sync:-  G-sync or free sync needs a compatible monitor to work with them. Here, in fast sync we don’t need any special monitor because it works on all monitors. In this technology, one additional buffer is added to the graphics card. That is why it works also in the case when GPU is producing more frames than refresh rate. Additional frames are stored in the buffer, and when there is need, It sends extra frames as needed. Benefits of this technology are input lag is less then G-sync or free sync, and it also removes screen tearing for which G-sync and free sync are made. In short fast sync technology is better than V-sync, G-sync, and free sync. 

I hope after reading this article, you have a clear idea about what is going on. I think now you came out from all of those myths. But still, you want to see it practically then do it by your self and feel. The best option is stick around with 144HZ monitor for some days and after a long time if you back to the 60HZ monitor then you won’t need this explanation you will clearly get the difference. I hope you liked this cool new article. If you want to see more something like this, subscribe us to never miss any updates from us. Have a good day.

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