G-Sync: The Best Thing Since SSD’s?

I am a bit of a sucker for buying nice shiny things when it comes to tech. I have been wanting a triple monitor setup for a while, along with higher refresh rates and G-Sync (my graphics card is a GTX 1060). Since it was Amazon prime day and they had no good monitor deals, I bought an AOC G2460PG from Aria.co.uk.

The G2460PG

The monitor is a 24-inch monitor with a 1920×1080 350Cd 144Hz TN panel. For a TN panel, it is pretty good in terms of colour reproduction, certainly the best monitor I own. I did notice a slight waving effect on some dark websites with compressed background images. Turning down the refresh rate to 120Hz seemed to fix this. I don’t really care about aesthetics, but it does look nice with the brushed aluminium effect around the bezel, which is pleasingly small. The only issue I had setting it up was the European kettle lead included which I was able to replace with a UK one I had lying around.

Front view of the AOC G2460PG G-Sync monitor

144Hz

I don’t play many e-sport games but I did give Team Fortress 2 a go. It is smoother, even non-gaming use, but I think >90Hz gives diminishing returns. There isn’t a lot else to say here other than unless you only play very old games, don’t buy a high refresh rate monitor without adaptive refresh rate technology (currently Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s Free-Sync are the only two contenders). Otherwise, a higher refresh rate can only be a good thing, unless you PC cooling is really bad.

Triple Monitors

I haven’t had much time to do serious productivity work yet (i.e. programming), but so far triple monitors are pretty sweet. I can do the main task on my new monitor, have a video off to the right and instant messaging on the left. For programming, I have code across two screens and can have IM or Stack Overflow on the third. It’s pretty sweet. Of course, some people can’t stand that level of monitor mismatch, but it doesn’t bother me.

My triple monitor setup - and coffee

G-Sync

Onto the main event. G-Sync is, simply put, amazing. I don’t think I could go back to a non G-sync monitor, it’s that good. I have linked a video below.

The only thing I can compare it to is going from a hard drive to a solid state drive for your operating system. You would have heard that it was faster, but seeing was believing. It was fast and changed the way you used your PC. Going back to a mechanical hard drive is unbearably slow. Adaptive refresh rate technology isn’t as much as a step change for non-gamers, but if you do game you will love it. It is hard to describe but everything is smoother and looks great because you don’t get any tearing or artefacting.

One thing to note is that G-Sync monitors are more expensive (by around $100) than equivalent AMD Free-Sync monitors. Once you have brought one type, you will be locked into either Nvidia or AMD graphics cards, unless you want to upgrade a monitor too. I expect that this will change eventually, possible with monitors supporting both technology (especially if Nvidia cut G-Sync licensing fees).

Issues

Obviously, it’s not exactly as simple as most people would like. Some games don’t have good g-sync support. Below are a few issues I have encountered so far:

  • Skyrim and Fallout 4 don’t support >60 fps (higher frame rate  actually causes animations to run faster)
    • You can play with config files to sort of get it to work
  • Roam Total war has terrible FPS (I don’t think this is G-Sync related, just old game syndrome)
  • Farcry 3 has terrible micro stutter with V-sync on, fortunately I never get above 144Hz so I just turn it off
  • The monitor has this odd strobeing effect when first turned on, but goes away after 5-10 mins
    • It is only noticeable on dark static screen regions
  • Playing games and watching a videos at the same time makes my graphic card cry and the video stutter (depending on codec)
  • I’m now locked into Nvidia graphics cards, but at least I won’t have to buy Vega and watch my PC set on fire 😉

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