This Trick Makes AMD FreeSync Work On a Nvidia GPU

Redditor "survfate" has done the seemingly impossible and found a workaround to make AMD's Radeon FreeSync technology work on a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card.

While a monitor's screen size, resolution, panel type, refresh rate and response time are important specifications to take into consideration when picking up a gaming monitor, whether the monitor supports an adaptive refresh technology, such as Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, is also  important, particularly for gamers. G-Sync monitors are generally pricier due to the fact that a proprietary G-sync module is implemented to get G-Sync working, and with it comes licensing fees. On the other hand, FreeSync builds upon VESA's open and royalty-free Adaptive-Sync standard that only requires the monitor to have a standard scaler and a DisplayPort 1.2a connection.

There's no room for choice. If you own a Nvidia graphics card, you're limited to G-Sync monitors, and the same goes for AMD Radeon graphics cards owners and AMD FreeSync. However, a user from Reddit has discovered a neat workaround to allow Nvidia owners to enable AMD's FreeSync technology on their GeForce graphics cards.

How It Works

To use the workaround, you need an AMD Ryzen processor with integrated graphics, or in other words an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), a normal monitor, a FreeSync monitor and a Nvidia GeForce graphics card.

You plug the FreeSync monitor into the motherboard and the non-FreeSync monitor into the Nvidia GeForce graphics card. Survfate's workaround basically forces the Nvidia graphics card to do the dirty work of rendering the frames. Afterwards, the frames are transported to the APU, which in turn sends the frames to the FreeSync monitor. 

For his experiment, survfate paired an AMD Ryzen 3 2200G APU with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics alongside a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card. Once everything was hooked up, the ingenious Redditor entered the motherboard's BIOS and made the APU the primary display adapter.

The last step is to configure the game or application in the Nvidia Control Panel to utilize the GeForce graphics card, much like how mobile laptop users switch between the iGPU and discrete graphics. Batman: Arkham Knight and AMD's Freesync Windmill demo worked perfectly, according to the post.

Survfate also pointed out that this trick should theoretically work with an AMD Radeon graphics card. Ever since Windows 10's April 2018 Update (1803), users with multi-GPU systems are able to define the default GPU for individual applications. All you have to do is set the AMD graphics card as the Power Saving GPU and the Nvidia graphics card as the High performance GPU. The selection is done automatically on an APU. Users haven't found a way to make the selection with the combination of an AMD and Nvidia graphics card. One particular Redditor claimed they were able to use survfate's workaround with World of Warcraft with his RX 480 and GTX 1060. However, he did note that World of Warcraft has a setting that allows users to choose their preferred graphics card to do the rendering work.

So, do we recommend Nvidia owners start buying FreeSync monitors? Absolutely not. While the workaround seems to be working, Nvidia could easily patch it on a driver level at any given time. Not to mention that you'd have to buy an additional non-FreeSync monitor just for the trick to work. 

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  • bit_user
    This definitely adds latency and jitter. I can't promise you'll notice it, but if you're enough of a framerate junkie to care, then I wouldn't risk it.
  • TJ Hooker
    I wonder if you actually need the non-Freesync monitor or if you could just use an HDMI dummy plug or similar to trick the Nvidia card.
  • nitrium
    If nVidia has any decency they'd just enable FreeSync on their GPUs, which would cost them zero and can almost certainly be achieved with just a driver update. Of course then people would have no reason to buy nVidia's pointlessly expensive proprietary GSync monitors. AMD try to be inclusive, while nVidia are deliberately exclusive. I guess it must be fun to be king and wield your power/influence for the benefit of no-one but yourself.