Both Nvidia and AMD offer great PC hardware components. But sometimes, to get the best bang for your buck, you need to switch between their respective ecosystems. For example, you might want to get an Nvidia GPU but a Freesync monitor. Nothing wrong with that.

However, doing this back in the day meant that you couldn’t use adaptive refresh rate on your Freesync monitor. Not anymore. Thanks to new updates, it’s possible to enable Freesync on a monitor while using an Nvidia GPU.

In this article, you’ll find all the info you need to know about this topic, from what adaptive refresh rate tech is, how Freesync works with Nvidia GPUs, and the steps to connect a Freesync monitor to an Nvidia GPU successfully. Let’s get started.

What is Freesync?

Before I get into the specifics of how to connect a Freesync monitor to an Nvidia GPU, let’s get you familiar with what Freesync really does and how it enhances your gaming experience.

The thing to understand is that GPUs share one similarity with rocket engines: both operate at 100% most of the time. As a result of this, a GPU connected to a monitor will try to push as many frames as it possibly can. But, as we all know, each monitor has a certain refresh rate.

So, if the GPU breaks the cycle and pushes more frames than the monitor is capable of displaying, the monitor will end up overlapping the current frame and the next frame, leading to a morphed image which is known as screen tearing. It’s not fun…

This is where Freesync comes to the rescue. It puts the frame rate of the GPU in “sync” with the refresh rate of the monitor. When the GPU pushes out a new frame, the monitor displays it. Then say, if your GPU is generating 60 frames a second, your monitor refreshes at 60Hz. As simple as that.

Of course, G-Sync by Nvidia also exists, and it serves the same purpose. For many years, Nvidia GPUs worked with G-Sync monitors and AMD GPUs worked with Freesync monitors and never the twain shall meet. However, when GeForce driver version 417.71 dropped in 2019, all of that changed for good.

Does Freesync Work With Nvidia GPUs?

As I said before, this is possible. However, let’s go through the requirements in order to do this successfully. Here they are:

  • You need an Nvidia 10-series, 16-series, 20-series, or 30-series GPU
  • GeForce Game Ready Driver version 417.71 or higher should be installed in the GPU
  • You need to enable Freesync in the monitor’s OSD
  • Connect the monitor to the PC via DisplayPort

If you have these lined up, follow the steps in the next section.

How To Connect A Freesync Monitor To An Nvidia GPU

To do this, first you need to open the Nvidia Control Panel. Right-click on your desktop and select it from the drop-down menu. Once opened, on the side column you’ll see a “Set up G-Sync” option. Click it.

Select the Freesync display you’re using and tick the “Enable G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible” checkbox. If the monitor you’re using isn’t certified, you’ll also get an “Enable settings for the selected display model” checkbox, which you need to tick too.

Along with that, also check the resolution and refresh rate settings. Make sure they’re set to the max according to the monitor’s specifications. After applying these changes, your monitor will restart and hopefully adaptive sync will work as expected. 

For testing purposes and making sure everything is running without any hiccups, you can download Nvidia’s tech demos, or, even better, try out some of your favorite games!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Freesync Work for Dual Monitors?

As a streamer, you probably have a dual or triple monitor setup. If they are Freesync enabled, and you’ve made sure to follow all of the steps I explained above on how to enable it, you shouldn’t have any issues whatsoever. Just make sure to use DisplayPort for all monitors.

Why Does G-Sync Cost a Premium?

I’m sure by this point you’re aware of the price difference between G-Sync and Freesync monitors. In fact, before cross-compatibility was announced, one of the main plus points of AMD GPUs was the reasonably priced Freesync monitors. Here’s the reason for it.

Freesync utilizes an open-source standard developed by VESA, called Adaptive-Sync. This is built into VESA’s DisplayPort spec (version 1.2a or higher). It doesn’t cost extra for a manufacturer to add into their monitor, so most of them just go along with it.

On the other hand, G-Sync is proprietary hardware-based. This, as we all know, makes the monitor a more premium option. Of course, you can also find high-end Freesync monitors in the market. These are bundled with extra value features like blur reduction and LFC to justify the cost.

Which One do Pro Streamers Prefer: Freesync or G-Sync?

Some of the popular streamers you’ll find using G-Sync are Ninja, Tfue, Symfuhny, and Nick Eh 30. However, try not to get carried away by these names. Both Freesync and G-Sync serve the same purpose.

So, when buying a monitor, instead of this, consider more important factors like resolution, refresh rate, and panel type. If you want an in-depth guide on buying monitors, check out this article.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, you can use your Freesync monitor with an Nvidia GPU, but you need to comply with some basic requirements and follow a few simple steps to enable it.

I remember hearing about this announcement back in 2019 from CES. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. Usually most companies try to create a wall around their ecosystem and force customers to stay inside it. But generous moves like this give customers like you and me more options to choose from and leads to higher competition in the market, which ultimately results in better products.

Now, when buying a monitor, you don’t need to pay a premium just because of G-Sync compatibility. That can take a back seat to other important considerations like resolution and response time. Overall, I hope you found this article useful and were successful with enabling Freesync on your monitor!

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James is a marketer by day and gamer by night. He loves sharing his Marketing background in the world of streaming. When he's not working on campaigns he's likely to be spotted in Verdansk.