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What is vsync?

In games I play on the PC, I often see the option to enable or disable vsync. What exactly is vsync?
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More about what vsync
  1. It limit's your GPU to output frames as high as the refresh rate of your monitor.

    It's mainly to reduce screen tearing but can introduce input lag.
  2. Best answer
    Basically, it makes sure that the monitor would only change the image if it can change the whole frame. If your graphics card is done painting only 5/6 of the frame, it will wait until the next refresh rate to draw it. If your graphics card is done painting the frame before it's time to refresh, it will make the graphics card idle until the refresh rate.

    It works pretty simply: if there's a call to refresh buffer on the screen (openGL or DirectX API call), the driver simply freezes the game engine until it is time for monitor to refresh itself.
  3. So is it better to keep it on or off?
  4. FI you are getting lot's of screen tearing then put it on. If not then always keep it off.

    Off be default and on when needed.
  5. If you have an nVidia card, use adaptive v-sync. Then it will switch itself on when needed and stay off when it's not.
  6. The Stealthinator said:
    So is it better to keep it on or off?


    Depends on what kind of game you're playing, and how bad the tearing is. If I'm playing an FPS or fighting game, I'll leave it off no matter what. If I'm playing an rpg or a single player game of some kind, unless it's a really hard platformer, I'll turn it on.
  7. Best answer selected by The Stealthinator.
  8. Sunius said:
    Basically, it makes sure that the monitor would only change the image if it can change the whole frame. If your graphics card is done painting only 5/6 of the frame, it will wait until the next refresh rate to draw it. If your graphics card is done painting the frame before it's time to refresh, it will make the graphics card idle until the refresh rate.

    It works pretty simply: if there's a call to refresh buffer on the screen (openGL or DirectX API call), the driver simply freezes the game engine until it is time for monitor to refresh itself.


    Sorry if I sound stupid but does enabling Vsync reduce game performance or increase it. Because i didnt get the whole picture here.
  9. Turning Vsync off increased the FPS while playing a game that required a powerful system.
    It helped the FPS but it looks horrible, in my opinion.

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=928593
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