Deciding whether a G-SYNC monitor is worth it depends on many things, including what’s your PC configuration and budget, what FreeSync monitor alternatives are available and what resolution/refresh rate you’re interested in, among other things.
NVIDIA G-SYNC displays feature a special module integrated into the monitor, which provides a variable refresh rate (VRR) as well as variable overdrive for compatible NVIDIA cards. This module also increases the monitor’s price.
In contrast, AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible technologies do not increase the cost of the monitors as they’re based on royalty-free Adaptive-Sync protocols of HDMI and/or DisplayPort.
Additionally, just like G-SYNC, Adaptive-Sync provides you with a variable refresh rate for tear-free gameplay, but usually, the supported VRR range is narrower and the overdrive implementation is not as good.
Of course, there are exceptions.
Some FreeSync/G-SYNC Compatible monitors have just as wide VRR range as G-SYNC models as well as flawless overdrive implementations, which is why there’s no simple answer to the question: is G-SYNC worth it?
Generally, most G-SYNC monitors are not worth it.
In many cases, for the extra price you’d have paid for a G-SYNC monitor in comparison to its Adaptive-Sync counterpart, you could simply buy a better display with FreeSync/G-SYNC Compatible.
Sure, it wouldn’t have a G-SYNC module, but it might have a higher resolution, a faster refresh rate, or a higher-quality panel, which would provide you with an overall better gaming experience than G-SYNC.
Here are some examples.
Full HD G-SYNC Monitors
The cheapest G-SYNC monitor is the Acer XB241H. It’s a 1080p 144Hz (overclocks to 180Hz) display with a TN panel and 1ms GtG response time. It goes for $350 – $400.
Is it worth it?
No — because at that price range, you can get a 1080p 240Hz IPS gaming monitor with FreeSync/G-SYNC Compatible, which would provide you with a significantly better image quality and smoother performance.
So, what about 1080p 240Hz monitors with G-SYNC?
Well, since it’s mostly competitive gamers who pick 240Hz displays, G-SYNC is not worth the extra ~$150 as they usually prefer to play with uncapped frame rates (over 240FPS which disables VRR) for minimal input lag.
At such high refresh/frame rates, screen tearing is barely visible, too. And if they want to play some more demanding games as well, regular VRR will do just fine here as most 1080p 240Hz IPS models have excellent overdrive implementations and a wide enough dynamic range to support LFC (Low Framerate Compensation).
Now, if you want 360Hz, you’ll need a G-SYNC gaming monitor, such as the ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN.
Is it worth it?
Well, if you want the smoothest gaming experience in competitive fast-paced titles, then yes — but it’s not like you have a choice since there aren’t any 360Hz models available without G-SYNC, at least not yet.
Quad HD G-SYNC Monitors
Another good example is the Acer XB271HU 1440p 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with G-SYNC, which goes for ~$500. For the same price, you can get the LG 27GL850 with a newer IPS panel that boasts a wider color gamut and a faster response time speed.
Now, when we get to 1440p 240Hz models, you have a choice between something like the Dell AW2721D with G-SYNC and HDR600 or the Acer XV272UX with FreeSync and HDR400.
Dell’s model offers a better HDR image quality, but it also has some downsides. It lacks an sRGB mode, DSC and MBR — all of which are supported by the XV272UX at a lower price. So, it comes down to personal preference.
4K UHD G-SYNC Monitors
Just like it’s the case with 360Hz monitors, if you want the absolute 4K best image quality, you’ll need to invest in a G-SYNC monitor, such as the Acer X27 or the ASUS PG27UQ.
Besides the G-SYNC module, these two monitors have a 384-zone full-array local dimming (FALD) solution. These zones can individually dim parts of the image that need to be dark without affecting the bright parts, thus, significantly increasing the contrast ratio and improving the HDR viewing experience.
However, the monitors aren’t cheap as they go for ~$1500 – $2000. As you might’ve expected, there are no FreeSync or G-SYNC Compatible monitors with FALD.
There are alternatives, though, such as the LG 27GN950 with FreeSync Premium Pro and G-SYNC Compatible certifications. It even uses a newer panel than the FALD models with a faster response time speed, 160Hz overclocking and DSC support. It’s also notably cheaper at ~$800 and offers a decent HDR image quality with DisplayHDR 600 certification.
So, in this case, whether G-SYNC is worth it depends mainly on your budget.
At any rate, if you’re interested in any of these two models, keep an eye on the upcoming refreshes of them: the PG27UQX with an even better 576-zone mini-LED FALD backlight (and higher price); and the LG 27GP950 with the added HDMI 2.1 support.
UltraWide G-SYNC Monitors
Here, we have a similar scenario. If you want the best ultrawide monitor, you want the ~$2000 Acer Predator X35 or the ASUS PG35VQ with G-SYNC and 512-zone FALD.
As for the regular ultrawides, we recommend the LG 34GP83A since it offers a faster response time speed and a wider color gamut than the older-generation G-SYNC models, such as the Acer X34P and the Dell AW3418DW.
What’s the bottom line?
As you can see, whether G-SYNC is worth it mainly depends on what resolution and refresh rate you’re interested in, what kind of panel or features you prefer, as well as on your budget and PC configuration.
The examples above should give you an idea of when it’s worth it or not, but feel free to leave us a question below if you’re not sure which monitor to get!