Not to brag (well, maybe a little), but thanks to the info on this site and the help of people on the forums, I built a sweet rig inspired by an article here: Fractal R3, windows 7 home premium 64 bit, i7 2600k, ASRock Z68 Extreme4, gskill 4+4 gb, EVGA GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB, Seasonic SS-850HT 850W, Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM /64MB/SATA 6.0Gb, ASUS 24X DVD, XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283, Nexus BASIC D12SL-12 120mm Case Fan x6. I have the computer hooked up from the gtx580 hdmi out to a Panasonic X3 plasma tv. I upscaled the resolution to 1080p: 1920x 1080 even though the max the tv can handle is supposedly 720p: 1024 x 768. Resized the desktop and all was well. No issues whatsoever.
I got an old game that I always wanted to play to run correctly (system shock 2). Just finished it and started playing the original Crysis (on vista compatibility mode and a 64 bit patch) while I hope for Skyrim for xmas. During the Crysis intro, I was stunned by different parts of the screen moving at different speeds, creating undulating horizontal lines (screen tearing?). I turned on the vsync option and the tearing went away.
Did a little research on it, and I am still wondering what is causing the tearing. It appears that either:
1. my TV will only display 60hz or about 60 fps from the hdmi input and my pc was trying to run more than 60 fps even though the tv couldn't handle it.
2. the pc is trying to display the game at 1080p and the tv can only handle 720p, causing the tearing.
So what is going on here exactly? How can I fix/prevent it? What am I going to do if I cannot turn on vsync on a different game? It is shocking to buy an expensive pc+tv only to have games look like crap. Any help would be immensely appreciated
Vsync should be your solution. It makes your card not render frames faster then the screen can display them. It goes by different names. Vsync,sync every frame,vertical sync or refresh(what vsync stands for)
Nvidia has a game profile manager so you can tell the game to run with Vsync. If you use Vsync with a OpenGL game, turn on an option called Triple buffering as well.
I have seen some TV's that did have there own issue like that. Lets hope this is not the case.
Screen tearing occurs when the graphics card updates the screen buffer at the same time the monitor reads the buffer to update the viewable picture.
It doesn't matter what FPS you have or what hz your monitor can display, most games will experience screen tearing without v-sync on. It's more noticeable with your FPS is higher than your refresh rate, as you can get multiple tears. It's also more noticeable in some games than others due to the scene.
V-sync forces the graphics card to wait until the monitor is not updating the screen before it can write to the screen buffer. That window of opportunity is call vertical trace mode, which is how v-sync get's it's name, Vertical sync, because the graphics card is synced with vertical retrace mode.
V-sync can have a negative impact on FPS, but I think it's well worth it.
Vsync is the most likely fix for your situation. To modify your global vsync settings open your nvidia control panel and select "Manage 3D Settings" scroll to the bottom and change "Vertical Sync" to "Force On"
You may also find scaling is causing issues. Specifically with TV's connected to video cards the TV has hardware and software to perform internal scaling to fit the image to the screen (stretch a 4:3 image to fit 16:19), your video card also uses scaling to adjust the image size to your displays resolution, having both devices attempt to scale the image can cause display abnormalities. Select "do not scale" from the "adjust desktop size and position" panel of your Nvidia control panel. to see if scaling is adding to the tearing effect you are seeing.
WOW. Thank you nukemaster, bystander, and dalethepcman, for your quick, descriptive responses. You guys are awesome. I could have spent days searching Google and would never gotten info this in depth. It sounds I have a lot of options to tinker around with until I get the display right. I'll be messing with it in my spare time. Now I have no doubt that this is where to go for help.