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).
The same applies to 1080p 360Hz monitors. For instance, the Acer XV252QF with FreeSync is not only $200 cheaper than the G-SYNC variants, such as the Dell AW2521H – it also offers better MBR implementation and an overclockable refresh rate of 390Hz, all while having just as good image quality, pixel response time and VRR performance.
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 27GP850 with a newer IPS panel that boasts a wider color gamut and a faster response time speed.
Dell’s model offers better HDR image quality, but it also has some downsides. It lacks an sRGB mode, DSC and MBR — all of which is supported by the XG27AQM at a lower price. So, it comes down to personal preference.
4K UHD G-SYNC Monitors
If you want the absolute best 4K HDR image quality, you’ll need to invest in a G-SYNC monitor, such as the ASUS PG32UQX.
Besides the G-SYNC module, this monitor has an 1152-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 PG32UQX isn’t cheap as it goes for ~$3000 and there are no FreeSync or G-SYNC Compatible 4K monitors available with FALD (at least not at the moment).
So, if you want a 4K gaming monitor with the best HDR picture quality, you’ll need to invest in a G-SYNC model; whether the display itself is worth the price is another question, which you can learn more about in our PG32UQX review.
UltraWide G-SYNC Monitors
Here, we have the opposite situation to that of the 4K UHD models.
The Acer Predator X35 and the ASUS PG35VQ are the best G-SYNC ultrawide monitors; they have a 512-zone FALD solution and 3440×1440 200Hz VA panels.
However, for the same amount of money, you can get the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9, which has a better 2048-zone mini LED FALD implementation, as well as a higher refresh rate, a higher resolution and a faster response time speed.
When we get to the 34″ 3440×1440 IPS models, G-SYNC is also not worth the extra cost.
The popular LG 34GP83A goes for $800, whereas the G-SYNC variant, the LG 34GP950G can be found for $1,300. Even though the GP950G model offers a bit better HDR image quality, it’s not worth the extra $500. The LG 34GP83A is also significantly better than the equally priced previous-gen G-SYNC ultrawides, such as the Acer X34P.
Finally, there are the 38″ 3840×1600 ultrawide gaming monitors. Here, the Dell AW3821DW offers the best value for the money as it has a dedicated G-SYNC module yet it’s cheaper than its FreeSync counterparts, such as the LG 38GN950. It’s a rare situation, but LG’s model is simply overpriced while Dell’s variant is constantly on sale.
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!