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 graphics 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
Nowadays, most 1080p 144Hz and 1080p 240Hz displays are discontinued, but you can find a few 1080p 360Hz models, such as the Dell AW2521H. Initially, this gaming monitor went for ~$700, but now it can be found on sale for $400 – $500.
Even at its discounted price, we find that it’s not worth the price as there’s a 1080p 360Hz FreeSync monitor that offers better performance and features for just $300, the Acer XV252QF (or the Acer Aopen 25XV2QF variant).
Not only is the FreeSync version cheaper, but it’s also overclockable to 390Hz and offers better backlight strobing support (works all the way up to 390Hz, whereas the 1080p 360Hz G-SYNC models are limited to 240Hz with MBR).
However, the G-SYNC models were available before the FreeSync versions, so if you wanted to be one of the first gamers with a 360Hz display, you had to invest in it.
In case you want the absolute best 1080p 360Hz monitor for competitive gaming with the fastest response times and the best MBR implementation, there’s the BenQ XL2566K with a TN panel. It doesn’t have a G-SYNC module.
In 2023, we’ll be seeing the first 1080p 540Hz TN panels and 1080p 500Hz IPS panels. There are two announced monitors using these panels, the ASUS PG248QP and the Dell AW2524H – and both of them will use G-SYNC modules. There are no FreeSync versions announced at the moment.
So, when it comes to 1080p displays, G-SYNC monitors are usually not worth it.
You’re either looking for a budget gaming monitor (in which case G-SYNC adds too much to the price) or a display for competitive gaming where input lag, response time speed and potentially backlight strobing implementation is a lot more important than VRR performance.
Now, if there’s no FreeSync counterpart available, a 1080p G-SYNC monitor with a high refresh rate is worth it if you want the best performance right away and don’t want to wait and see when and if FreeSync models using the same panel will be available.
Quad HD G-SYNC Monitors
Another good example is the Acer XB271HU 1440p 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with G-SYNC, which goes for ~$500. The newer Acer XV272UV with FreeSync has a higher 170Hz refresh rate, a wider color gamut and a faster pixel response time speed for $250.
The G-SYNC variants offer a slightly better HDR image quality, but they’re over $250 more expensive. The difference in HDR image quality is not worth the extra money as these G-SYNC models don’t really offer a true HDR viewing experience.
If you’re looking for a 1440p 360Hz gaming monitor, it’s only available with a G-SYNC module, the ASUS PG27AQN. It’s unknown whether there’ll be any FreeSync versions of this monitor.
Therefore, when it comes to 1440p G-SYNC monitors, they’re not worth the price unless you want a high-end model with a 360Hz refresh rate.
4K UHD G-SYNC Monitors
When it comes to 27″ – 32″ 4K SDR high refresh rate gaming models, there are no particularly good G-SYNC options. Luckily, most FreeSync variants offer excellent performance with properly optimized overdrive and reasonable pricing.
When it comes to HDR monitors, the G-SYNC Ultimate models are way too expensive. There are the ASUS PG32UQX and the ViewSonic XG321UG with 1152-zone mini LED solutions. Sadly, they go for ~$2,500 yet have a few major flaws, such as subpar pixel response time and lack of HDMI 2.1.
The upcoming G-SYNC Ultimate models, such as the ASUS PG32UQXE, will feature faster response time and HDMI 2.1. They’ll also be cheaper ($2,000) but have fewer dimming zones (576).
Finally, larger 4K gaming monitors are only available as FreeSync variants, such as the Gigabyte Aorus FV43U.
UltraWide G-SYNC Monitors
If you’re looking for a 34″ OLED gaming monitor, the Dell AW3423DWF and the Dell AW3423DW are the most popular models. The main difference between them lies in the G-SYNC module and the $200 price difference – you can see a detailed comparison in our review.
In case you’re interested in a larger ultrawide monitor, the Dell AW3821DW 38″ 3840×1600 144Hz model with G-SYNC is actually more affordable than the inferior FreeSync models, so it’s what we recommend.
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!