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Deciding whether a G-SYNC monitor is worth it or not 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.
In this article, we’ll cover whether gaming monitors with NVIDIA G-SYNC are worth it. These displays feature a special module integrated in the monitor which provides a variable refresh rate (VRR) for compatible NVIDIA cards. It also increases the monitor’s price.
However, FreeSync monitors don’t have variable overdrive or as low input lag as G-SYNC displays, and they usually have less wide variable refresh rate range.
Since FreeSync doesn’t add any extra cost, FreeSync displays are obviously worth their price as you get a variable refresh rate, but are the premium features of NVIDIA G-SYNC worth the extra cost?
Is A G-SYNC Monitor Worth It?
Some top-tier gaming monitors such as the Acer Predator X35 or the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ are only available as G-SYNC variants meaning that there are no FreeSync counterparts that you could get for less money.
In this case, if you want the absolute best gaming experience and you can afford it, going with G-SYNC is the only option.
Now, when you have two monitors with essentially identical specifications except that one has FreeSync and the other has G-SYNC and at least a $100 higher price tag, deciding between the two options is not always easy.
In truth, there’s no simple answer here or a specific amount that makes the G-SYNC version of a monitor more worthwhile than its FreeSync counterpart or vice versa.
Many factors come into play here besides the price difference including what resolution/refresh rate is in question, how powerful your PC rig is, what alternative gaming monitors are there, etc.
Here’s a sum-up of things you should keep in mind when deciding whether a G-SYNC monitor is worth it:
- VRR range: If your FPS rate frequently drops to or sits around 30-50FPS in certain games, consider a G-SYNC monitor as they all have wide VRR range or pick a FreeSync model with a wide range and LFC support.
- Future-proofing: Make sure your new monitor will last you at least a couple of years. Don’t get a monitor that will instantly bottleneck your system. Also, note that G-SYNC doesn’t work with AMD cards
- Compatibility: Have or plan to get an Xbox One console? Most FreeSync monitors provide VRR over HDMI as well as DisplayPort. In this case, a FreeSync monitor may be a better choice.
- Alternatives: Make sure to check for all available alternatives of the G-SYNC monitor you’re interested, not just the FreeSync counterpart model. There may be newer and better FreeSync models available that are more affordable than certain older G-SYNC models with worse or similar specs.
Below, we’ll list the most common situations where one might have trouble deciding which display to pick in order to give you a general idea about what to look out for when choosing between FreeSync and G-SYNC monitors.
Alternatively, you can post your PC specifications in the comments below and let us know what gaming monitors you have in mind, and we’ll gladly help with your decision.
4K 144Hz Gaming Monitors
The most recent situation where users had to choose between a FreeSync model or a more expensive G-SYNC variant include the 4K 144Hz gaming monitors by Acer: the Acer Predator XB273K and the Acer Nitro XV273K.
In our Acer XB273K review we covered all the differences between the two models in detail, but here’s a quick summary:
Both monitors offer the same image quality and actually have a native refresh rate of 120Hz.
The Acer XV273K FreeSync model features two DisplayPort inputs; You can connect both ports to your GPU via two DP cables and overclock to monitor to 144Hz at 4K without any image compression, but you can’t use FreeSync or HDR in this case.
The Acer XB273K, on the other hand, has only one DisplayPort input. It can be overclocked to 144Hz using chroma subsampling which decreases the quality of text, but you can use G-SYNC and HDR up to 144Hz.
Additionally, the XV273K cannot run VRR and HDR at the same time whereas the XB273K can.
The most important advantage of the XB273K here is the wider VRR range of 30-144Hz range as opposed to 48-120Hz range of the XV273K.
4K UHD is quite demanding even at 60Hz, let alone 120Hz+, even if you have a high-end PC gear. Sure, you may be able to run 144FPS at 4K in CS: GO, but in the latest titles, you’ll still sit around 60FPS with decent image settings.
Due to its wider VRR range, the gaming experience is going to be a lot smoother on the XB273K if your FPS rate fluctuates around 30/40-60FPS.
Another very important thing to consider here is quality control. Many users complained about getting severe IPS glow on their XV273K FreeSync models.
Initially, the XB273K G-SYNC monitor was $300 more expensive than the XV273K. Now the price difference is down to ~$100. Either way, NVIDIA G-SYNC is definitely worth it in this case.
1080p 240Hz Gaming Monitors
If you’re looking for a 240Hz gaming monitor, the VRR range is not as important as it is at 4K as you’re easily going to get high FPS in most eSports titles anyway.
Further, a lot of gamers don’t use VRR in competitive titles as it limits the frame rate to the monitor’s maximum refresh rate. Instead, they leave the FPS rate uncapped in order to get as low input lag as possible.
Some gamers prefer using backlight strobing technology which some high refresh rate gaming monitors offer. The quality of backlight strobing technology implementation also varies between different gaming monitors.
So, in this case, G-SYNC is usually not worth it. You should focus on getting a monitor that has good motion handling and good overdrive/backlight strobing implementation instead.
For instance, the popular Acer XF252Q goes for around $350 whereas that same monitor with G-SYNC costs ~$500 yet there’s no big difference in performance between the two. In fact, the XF252Q has a better backlight strobing implementation.
1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitors
Want a 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor? You’ll find that the G-SYNC models such as the Acer XB241H go for around $350. Now, this particular model is overclockable to 180Hz, but still, for the same amount of money, you could get a 240Hz display for a better performance in competitive games.
Or, you could get an excellent 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor for a pretty much identical performance as well as a lot better image quality. So, G-SYNC is not worth it here either.
When it comes to other gaming monitors such as 1440p 144Hz or ultrawide models with NVIDIA G-SYNC, you should look for whether there are better FreeSync models available for less money.
For instance, the ASUS PG279QZ is a 27″ 1440p 144Hz (165Hz OC) IPS gaming monitor with G-SYNC and it goes for around $550-$600.
For just below $500, you can get the LG 27GL850 27″ 1440p 144Hz IPS display instead which has FreeSync (but it’s G-SYNC compatible) – plus a wider color gamut and a notably faster response time than the PG279QZ.
For more examples on how particular G-SYNC monitors compare to their FreeSync counterpart or similarly priced alternatives, visit our following monitor reviews:
Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.