Advantages and disadvantages of v-sync?

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#1 Posted by MethodMan008 (1008 posts) -

Hey again duders,

So you guys helped me get my PC in working fashion.. I just received my GTX 660 in the mail today so now I have semi-respectable gaming PC (finally!)..

With that will probably come lots of questions, but I only can think of one at the moment..

Should I use v-sync? I can't really tell the difference.. I dunno what is wrong with me that I can't tell the difference between 60fps and 200fps but I don't really see it.. Does v-sync do something special to make up for that? Do games look prettier to you with v-sync off?

Thanks y'all!

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#2 Posted by JCTango (1500 posts) -

I usually turn it on unless I'm getting bad mouse movement (delayed). I'm not entirely sure about the pros and cons of turning v-sync on, but I think some games have a tendancy to run your graphics card too hot if left unchecked.

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#3 Posted by agerstone (112 posts) -

My reason for turning on V-Sync has pretty much always just been to get rid of screen tear in the games that get it.

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#4 Posted by MethodMan008 (1008 posts) -

Pros and cons... That would of been much better than advantages and disadvantages..

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#5 Posted by hmmisee (185 posts) -

The advantage of VSync is that you can prevent screen tearing with it, the disadvantages is the mouse lag associated with it, unless the game supports triple-buffering.

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#6 Posted by MethodMan008 (1008 posts) -

Ah, ok.. I thought it had something to do with screen tearing.. Which is something I can not notice at all for some reason.. The internet leads me to believe that AC2, ACB, and ACR had terrible screen tearing on PS3 but I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.. So I guess I'll leave it unchecked.. Unless that can actually make the card run hotter..

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#7 Posted by envane (1225 posts) -

Yeah .. though i dont really care about screen tearing unless its obscene i pretty much always use vsync to limit the frame load on my gpus (2 580s in sli) especially this time of year (in australia) its warming up and i have to be conscious of the extra heat generated by the sli sandwich.

ill turn it off if i actually have any performance issues with it tho , but for games that already run smooth as butter with it on , it feels like im helping increase the longevity of my cards by sticking to a perfectly acceptable 60fps. then again i have been toying with my next upgrade and the idea of running at 120fps vsync ehhe

also stupid crap like minecraft will run at liek 600 fps if i dont enforce vsync , using a lot more memory or cpu/gpu cycles than needed for that kind of game .

disabled vysnc in borderlands 2 because i was getting a bit more noticable frame drops at certain points , but now its just chewing up everything i have to give it and running super crazy fast , probably going to go back to vsync because it at least didnt make my computer turn into a leaf blower .. worst game ive had doing this was rage, at 2% gpu load with vsync on and up to 80+% with it off

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#8 Edited by Declarius (189 posts) -

Vsync caps the frame rate at 60 fps (usually), keeping the frame rate in line with your monitor's refresh rate. Screen tearing can get very bad, and some people notice it more than others.

Vsync also produces mouse lag, because your PC is dropping frames in order to cap it.

The heat part is because your GPU strains to achieve the highest fps it can, sometimes 100+, you generally don't need that many frames so that extra work isn't needed, if you cap your fps at 60, your GPU is doing that much less work.

In the end, if your GPU is running too hot and you're getting more frames than needed, enable Vsync. Unless the game requires precise aiming (fps).

Also, triple buffering is more resource heavy, but also caps the framerate and doesn't introduce as much lag.

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#9 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

V-sync prevents screen tearing. It will only show you an image when an entire frame is rendered and ready to go, which ideally will be one frame per the refresh rate of your monitor. If a frame isn't entirely ready to be shown on time then it won't show it at all. Your monitor will refresh showing the previous frame again and your game will skip frame/s to stay synced and running at the proper speed. If you had v-sync off, then it would show whatever is ready from the next frame and complete the image by making the rest up from the last frame again. That's why you get a 'tear' in the image (you're seeing part of one frame and part of another), and why it's more noticeable if you are spinning quickly or something (there is more difference between the two frames).

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#10 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

And you won't really notice the difference in fps above the refresh rate of your monitor. It doesn't matter if your game is producing 200 frames per second if your monitor is only refreshing 60 times per second, because you're never going to see the other 140 of them.

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#11 Posted by myketuna (1880 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

And you won't really notice the difference in fps above the refresh rate of your monitor. It doesn't matter if your game is producing 200 frames per second if your monitor is only refreshing 60 times per second, because you're never going to see the other 140 of them.

I'm using a 32" 1920x1080 HDTV as my display and because of that I will usually turn it on. Some games don't need it, but most cause kind of ugly tearing. I don't mind it though. 60 FPS looks great to me.

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#12 Posted by MethodMan008 (1008 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

And you won't really notice the difference in fps above the refresh rate of your monitor. It doesn't matter if your game is producing 200 frames per second if your monitor is only refreshing 60 times per second, because you're never going to see the other 140 of them.

Ahhh, ok. The monitor I use most of the time (HP w2408) is only 60hz.. and the monitor I use some of the times is the Playstation 3D monitor, which is apparently 240hz, but it only shows up as 60hz when connected to my PC for some reason.. :'(

So might as well always turn V-Sync on in that case.

Thanks duders.

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#13 Edited by impartialgecko (1863 posts) -

Can't really comment. I only have a GTS450, so I use the adaptive v-sync function to limit all my AAA games to 30 fps and bump the settings up. It's a great compromise that saves me money for games, but v-sync is great if you have a monitor with a super high refresh rate. If not, then it cuts out screen-tearing which is nice.

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#14 Posted by JP_Russell (1194 posts) -

I'm apparently extremely sensitive to even the smallest amount of mouse lag, so I always turn V-sync off in games when I can.  I've read about triple buffering reducing or eliminating mouse lag, but I've played games with triple buffering in the graphics options and had it enabled, and the V-sync still made a very noticeable difference to the responsiveness.  So I don't know what that's all about.
 
It's unfortunate because the visual difference in most games is significant, and it makes it hard to choose to go without it when I'm switching it on and off to weigh the pros and cons.  But that mouse lag, man...  In the worst cases, it's nearly unplayable; in the best cases, it's just a much worse downside than even some of the nastier screen tearing out there.  That tactile disconnect is just the worst thing for me.

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#15 Posted by Fattony12000 (8271 posts) -

Always be v-syncing. I can't remember the last game that I had to turn off v-sync due to mouse lag.

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#16 Posted by TruthTellah (9809 posts) -

Screen-tearing destroys my sense of immersion in games; so, v-sync is essential. Fortunately, most modern games have no issue with running v-sync, and I'd recommend keeping it on unless you notice mass lag, which I haven't seen in a long time.

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#17 Posted by cannonballBAM (712 posts) -

@MethodMan008: I would say a GTX 660 is more than respectable. V-sync will limit the frames to prevent screen tearing as previously stated. I would say also it depends if your bottle necked. Having a substantial amount of GPU memory doesn't necessarily make up for the necessary CPU power. I usually say its how well a game is optimized.

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#18 Posted by Firepaw (3053 posts) -

A good example of the disadvantage of v-sync is the X-Com Enemy Unknown demo, that some people simply couldn't play with a mouse, though I disabled it before playing so I don't know how bad it was.

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#19 Posted by benspyda (2129 posts) -

I think games look a lot smoother with it on. It's less important when you have mouse control though, its more for games that you play with a controller where the screen tearing becomes apparent.

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#20 Edited by Devildoll (1011 posts) -

advantages: reduces tares in the image.
disadvantages: can contribute to "mouse lag" , traditional vsync means that if the framerate drops to 59, it effectively drops to 30.  in general just delays the image more than with the setting turned off. 
 
i personally just want the most actual image possible, i can live with tearing as long as i am in full control of the situation and able to pop a cap in the other guy before he does me. 
for the most part I don't even get tearing, so vsync aint that necessary. at-least on the games i currently play.
 
You can not tell the difference between 60 and 200 fps, if your screen only updates at 60 hz, if you have a 120 Hz however, you are able to distinguish up to 120 individual frames per second.
Some things are more complex than just the actual picture displayed, some game engines behave differently depending on the framerate, so even if you cant actually any frames above 60.
your character might run faster if you let the game pump out 100 fps.
 
counter-strike ( the real counter-strike) is an example.

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#21 Posted by Bollard (7557 posts) -

You won't see a difference between 60 and 200 because your monitor is probably only a 60hz monitor, so it will only change 60 times a second. You should turn it on because running at 200 on a 60hz monitor will lead to terrible screen tearing (horizontal lines where the top half of the image is from a different frame than the bottom half). Plus, there's no need to make your graphics card produce so many wasted frames, and turning it on will extend its life and keep it cooler.

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#22 Posted by Binman88 (3699 posts) -

Although you won't see frames beyond 60 on a 60hz monitor, I only ever turn it on for single player games that have problems with it off (ie. screen tearing or stuttering) like Borderlands 2, or games that don't require accuracy with a mouse. I wouldn't even consider playing a competitive FPS with vsync on. The mouse feel is completely altered, and any tiny amount of sluggishness becomes noticeable to me.

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#23 Posted by Justin258 (14373 posts) -

@MethodMan008 said:

Ah, ok.. I thought it had something to do with screen tearing.. Which is something I can not notice at all for some reason.. The internet leads me to believe that AC2, ACB, and ACR had terrible screen tearing on PS3 but I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.. So I guess I'll leave it unchecked.. Unless that can actually make the card run hotter..

You are blessed. I notice every single tear and thus will turn on VSYNC unless I absolutely can't play with it on. Some games can't be played well without it; Gamebryo engine games are an example. In my experience, a varying framerate in those games gives the physics engine a good fucking and everyone starts running and moving a whole lot faster than they should be.

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#24 Edited by FritzDude (2316 posts) -

You have GTX 600 series card which support something called adaptive V-sync (maybe older series supports that too, though I'm not sure). Turn that on in the global settings in your Nvidia control panel and never think on this again. Here's a video explaining this:

Loading Video...
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#25 Posted by Snail (8885 posts) -

@FritzDude: Holy shit that's great. Do you know if there is an equivalent for AMD video cards?

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#26 Posted by TobbRobb (6083 posts) -

Screen tearing is the bane of my existance. I literally can't play some games without V-Sync on.

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#27 Posted by bybeach (5670 posts) -

I use v-sync all the time now. But when it first came out I remembered some issues vaguely with what I had for gpu etc. The First Batman was nearly ruined without Vsync. I really got to hate screen tearing...

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#28 Posted by Subject2Change (2971 posts) -

Human eye cannot see above 60 FPS that it why you can't see a difference between the two. However as others have said input delay is the biggest con (so anything "competitive" I tend to keep it off) for any single player campaigns it's usually on to prevent the tearing.

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#29 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2167 posts) -

It can lower your framerate and sometimes has mouse lag associated with it, but I've never experienced the latter. I've set my GPU to keep Vsync on no matter what as every game I play has severe screen tearing without it.

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#30 Posted by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

That video does a stellar job of explaining what the positives and negatives of V-Sync are: It is great for cleaning up graphics but when the frame rate fluctuates dramatically you get this disjointed feeling as it recalibrate to another sync rate. As a side note, this is why things like "adaptive v-sync" are great.

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#31 Posted by FritzDude (2316 posts) -

@Snail: Not sure. But if this becomes more of a standard in the future then I'm sure AMD will do something similar, there's no reason not to.

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#32 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2539 posts) -

I always turn it on in everything because screen tearing is the worst!

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#33 Posted by groin (869 posts) -

@Subject2Change said:

Human eye cannot see above 60 FPS that it why you can't see a difference between the two. However as others have said input delay is the biggest con (so anything "competitive" I tend to keep it off) for any single player campaigns it's usually on to prevent the tearing.

About 10 years ago people were saying the human eye cannot see above 24 FPS. These days the new myth is 60 FPS. It's true that above 60 FPS is not noticeable on 60 hz displays. However, I have human eyes and can perceive at least 75 FPS. 120 hz displays were not that uncommon back in the CRT days (~1999 era).

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#34 Posted by mosdl (3422 posts) -

@Snail said:

@FritzDude: Holy shit that's great. Do you know if there is an equivalent for AMD video cards?

I don't think AMD has that yet, but some games build it into their engine. Borderlands 2 on the PC has something called Smoothed Framerate which I believe is the same thing, but done in the engine rather than being enforced by the card. Actually I am not sure if this is done on the card or in the drivers themselves.

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#35 Posted by GiantAlston (101 posts) -

V-sync usually provide feedback to give fluid(ness) between the mouse and the game screen. To produce less screen tear as well as produce the best gaming experience possible. The problem is, it causes the graphics card to chug (even if overclocked) try testing out your graphics card tempurature to see if there is any increase or decrease while playing games.

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#36 Posted by Scrawnto (2552 posts) -

@groin said:

@Subject2Change said:

Human eye cannot see above 60 FPS that it why you can't see a difference between the two. However as others have said input delay is the biggest con (so anything "competitive" I tend to keep it off) for any single player campaigns it's usually on to prevent the tearing.

About 10 years ago people were saying the human eye cannot see above 24 FPS. These days the new myth is 60 FPS. It's true that above 60 FPS is not noticeable on 60 hz displays. However, I have human eyes and can perceive at least 75 FPS. 120 hz displays were not that uncommon back in the CRT days (~1999 era).

Yeah, that stuff has always been nonsense. I can definitely see flickering from fluorescent lights in my peripheral vision (which is more sensitive to rapid changes in light and dark, to better warn you of threats in your environment), and those go at 60hz.

As far as the topic at hand, my advice is never enable it if you are getting less than 60fps. In my experience, if you would be getting 52fps without v-sync, it will get cut down to some round fraction of your refresh rate (30 fps for a 60 hz screen, 40 fps for a 120 hz screen, etc.) so as to sync the frame to the refresh. This issue may actually be limited to v-sync without triple buffering, and you can double check this with something like FRAPS to monitor your framerate, but I just disable it to be sure.

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#37 Posted by IAmNotBatman (701 posts) -

It tends to differ game to game - Worst scenario I've come across for v-sync = Dead Space.

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