A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to finally get my hands on one of LG’s latest and greatest OLED TV.
Having just splurged the better part of £1000 on this admittedly stupendous TV, I was eager to get the maximum use out of it with my Xbox Series X. One of those uses was Variable rate refresh mode or VRR.
The TV supports Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate technology. So that got me wondering…
Does the Xbox Series X even support Nividia G-Sync?
Realizing I couldn’t be the only gamer with this question running on repeat in their mind, I jumped on the internet eager to find an answer. This is what I found…
Does the Xbox Series X Support G-Sync? No, the Xbox Series X doesn’t support G-sync. G-sync is a customer technology developed by Nividia that only works with Nivida GPU hardware. The Xbox Series X and S use AMD hardware that doesn’t support G-Sync. The Xbox Series X does support Freesync, AMDs VRR solution.
So the Xbox Series X doesn’t support G-Sync. Oh well, that’s not surprising given the fact the Xbox Series X uses AMD technology. But fortunately, the Xbox Does support some form of VRR in the form of Freesync.
So in the next sections, I’ll look at why Xbox doesn’t support G-Sync, what Freesync is and what it does, and how to enable Freesync on your Xbox Series X and S.
Ok, let’s get started…
Does the Xbox Support G-Sync
No, the Xbox Series X and S don’t support G-sync. G-Sync is a proprietary Nvidia technology that can only be used with Nvidia graphics cards and hardware.
This means that G-Sync is in no way supported by the Xbox Series X and S because both consoles use AMD hardware.
G-Sync will not be made available for use in a future Xbox patch. Again, this is because Nivida insists on the technology only being used with its hardware.
Nivida insists on this because they position G-Sync as a “premium” variable refresh rate solution, and so opening up their G-Sync system to 3rd party hardware manufacturers such as AMD would decrease the quality of G-Sync.
Fortunately, as mentioned briefly above, Xbox does offer AMD’s syncing technology: FreeSync. Let’s take a look at what FreeSync is…
What is FreeSync?
FreeSync is AMD’s VRR solution and is the equivalent to G-Sync.
Just like many software technologies that AMD develops, Freesync is open source and freely available for all hardware vendors to use. For that reason, you’ll find vastly more monitors and TV that support Freesync than you will G-sync.
However, unlike G-sync Freesync is not a premium solution. Though Freesync can eliminate screen tearing and judder in games (more on this later), Freesync can introduce other subtle artifacts such as screen ghosting.
Fortunately, newer Freesync enabled monitors and TVs do not suffer from ghosting.
What does Freesync and G-Sync do?
As already mentioned, both Freesync and G-Sync are a form of variable rate refresh or VRR.
but what exactly does that mean? And what benefits does that bring to you as a gamer? In this section, we’ll take a look.
Essentially FreeSync and G-Sync’s jobs are simple: they are designed to sync the TV’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate.
For example, normally a TV can run common refresh rates such as 120hz, 60hz, or 30hz and it will be locked to that refresh rate. What this hertz (Hz) number means is that every second the TV updates its image 120, 60, or 30 times. This rate of Refresh or Hz can’t waiver from that number so the TV, regardless of what a game’s frame is, will always update at that set number.
Now, this is where it gets a little confusing. The console runs games and updates the game separately at a specific frame rate. For example 30 or 60 frames per second. However, this frame rate is decoupled from the TV’s refresh rate.
So the TV might be refreshing at 30Hz, but the game might be sending 35 frames to the TV every second.
In a perfect world, the number of frames produced by the game every second would perfectly match up with the number of refreshes the TV makes every second.
Console developers work very hard to ensure their games produce exactly the right number of frames per second and deliver them to your TV at exactly the right time so that game’s FPS and the TV refresh rate update in synchronicity.
But that’s rarely the case because games, being dynamic, will vary their frame rate from scene to scene.
For example, say your TV is refreshing 60 times per second. Now imagine that your game’s frame rate is 43 frames per second. As you can probably see, the 43 frames that the console has sent the TV do not fit into 60 TV refreshes.
So the TV does its best with what it’s got…
Some frames are shown for 2 TV refreshes whereas some frames are shown for 1 refresh.
This creates a feeling of stuttering or judder in-game.
Plus, because frames are being sent out of sync to the TV, the TV’s screen can end up displaying 2 different frames at the same time. The display will render half of one frame and then render half of the next frame. This can appear as a horizontal tear on the image on the screen. Take a look at the image below. You can clearly see the image is horizontally divided.
Variable-rate refresh technology can solve these problems.
It does this by letting your GPU control the TV’s or monitor’s refresh rate and sync it to the game’s frame rate. So, if the game is rendering at 49 frames per second, the monitor will only run at 49Hz or refreshes per second. The game and monitor will sync up perfectly.
So G-Sync and Freesync nearly eliminate stuttering and screen tear making games feel far more fluid.
I say nearly because many Freesync and G-Sync monitors will only sync the frame rate to the monitor’s refresh rate so long as the game’s frame rate is above a certain threshold such as 40fps.
Below is a video created by Vizio that explains what VRR is and the benefits it can bring you.
How do I use Freesync?
Using Freesync with your Xbox Console couldn’t be easier.
Basically, all you have to do to enable Freesync on your Xbox Series X and S is do the following:
1: Go into your Xbox consoles Settings
2: Next navigate to General display and TV options.
3: In this new menu there should be 3 columns: Display, Setup, and Advanced. Under the Advanced column, there should be an option called Video modes. Select it.
4: In Video Modes look for an option called Allow variable refresh rate. Navigate down to it and make sure the option is ticked. if it’s not, click on it with the X button. A pop-up will appear asking you to keep the setting. Select Yes. Your Xbox will now automatically use Variable Rate Refresh using Freesync technology if your TV/monitor supports it.
If you select the Variable Rate Refresh option and screen goes black and stays black, your TV is not VRR compatable. Don’t worry though, if you wait for 20 seconds your Xbox will revert back to it’s original settings and the options screen will reappear.
And that’s it. That’s how you use FreeSync VRR with your Xbox Series X and S.
If you are still not sure, check out the great video below by MyGadgetsWorld
It wouldn’t be one of my articles if I didn’t end with a summary to remind you of all the juiciest bits from the article:
- Xbox Series X and S can’t use G-Sync
- G-Sync is propritary technology made by Nivida and needs Nividia hardware to function
- The Xbox Consoles use AMD hardware
- The Xbox Series X and S can make use AMD free Sync variable refresh rate technology
- There are many more Freesync enabled TV and monitors available to buy
- This is because G-Sync is positioned as a premium tecnology and costs a lot of money to licence
- Freesync is open source and available to any company to use
- Freesync and VRR let your monitor’s refresh rate to sync up to your games frame rate
- This eliminates judder, stutter, and screen tearing artifacts
- You can easily enable VRR and Freeysnc use on the Xbox By going into your Settings > General Display and TV option > Video Modes. You can then turn on VRR from here.