NVIDIA Fast Sync: How Does It Help Gaming? How To Enable It?

Dhir Acharya - Feb 11, 2021


NVIDIA Fast Sync: How Does It Help Gaming? How To Enable It?

NVIDIA Fast Sync is a solution created by the graphics card maker in 2017 to fix all the screen tearing problems while maintaining the latency the lowest.

If you are playing games on a computer with a conventional monitor, you may have noticed screen tearing issues. This problem happens the most in fast-paced games when you are swiftly panning with your mouse. However, NVIDIA created a solution for gamers that use a Pascal or Maxwell-based GeForce GTX GPU. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about NVIDIA Fast Sync and how to enable it.

NVIDIA Fast Sync
NVIDIA Fast Sync helps improve gaming experience

What is NVIDIA Fast Sync?

NVIDIA Fast Sync is a solution created by the graphics card maker in 2017 to fix all the screen tearing problems while maintaining the latency as low as possible, this is option is far better than the traditional V-Sync tech. Fast Sync is specifically used when frame rates are higher than the refresh rate of the screen. On the contrary, if the frame rate is lower than the refresh rate, Fast Sync doesn’t do anything.

NVIDIA Fast Sync
NVIDIA Fast Sync latency

How NVIDIA Fast Sync Compares to V-Sync?

A major disadvantage of V-Sync is input lag, which negatively affects the gaming experience, especially in fast-paced titles. Now, most gamers choose to disable V-Sync since the latency could exceed 100 ms. Meanwhile, this is not the case for Fast Sync with the latency minimized and close to what you can obtain after turning off V-Sync.

NVIDIA could pull this off by introducing the Last Rendered Buffer, which sits between the Front buffer and the Back buffer. Firstly, the GPU renders a frame into the Back buffer, which is then moved to the Last Rendered Buffer. Next, the GPU renders the next frame into the back buffer, during which the frame in the Last Rendered Buffer gets moved to the front buffer.

Now, the Last Rendered Buffer waits for the next frame coming from the back buffer while the front buffer undergoes the scanning process and the image goes to the monitor. Then, the frame is sent from the Last Rendered Buffer to the front buffer to be scanned and displayed on the monitor.

The result is the game engine not getting slowed down because the Back buffer is always available for the GPU to render to. Therefore, gamers will not experience the screen tearing issue for there is always a frame stored in the front buffer to be scanned.

However, Fast Sync only works when the GPU is rendering at a frame rate higher than the refresh rate of the monitor, meaning gamers can still encounter screen tearing if their GPU is rendering at a frame rate that’s lower than the refresh rate of the monitor.

To overcome this problem, one will need t G-Sync monitor to eliminate screen tearing by reducing the refresh rate to the same level as the rendering rate of the GPU. Nevertheless, G-sync does not eliminate the screen tearing problem if the GPU’s rendering rate is higher than the monitor’s refresh rate.

All in all, to completely eliminate the screen tearing issues, you had better enable Fast-Sync in a G-Sync capable monitor.

NVIDIA Fast Sync
NVIDIA Fast Sync

How to Enable NVIDIA Fast Sync?

In this part of the post, we will show you how to enable Fast Sync NVIDIA using the NVIDIA control panel. The following instruction is applicable for those with a supported GeForce GTX 960 graphics card or newer. The NVIDIA Control Panel comes along with the graphics drivers and you don’t have to install it separately.

  • Step 1: Right-click on a blank space on the desktop and click “NVIDIA Control Panel” to open the software.
  • Step 2: Click Manage 3D Settings, which is in the software’s left pane.
  • Step 3: In the right pane of the software, scroll down until you see Vertical Sync, click on it. Then, from the drop-down menu, select Fast > Apply.

After these three simple steps, you have finished enabling NVIDIA Fast Sync. On the other hand, you need to ensure you have disabled V-Sync on all games because some titles have this option on by default, in which case Fast Sync will not work as expected.

NVIDIA Fast Sync
How to enable NVIDIA Fast Sync?

Eliminate screen tearing issues with Fast Sync

If you are using a normal monitor paired with a capable GPU that can render at a frame rate exceeding the refresh rate of your monitor, you can totally use Fast Sync to overcome screen tearing. Best of all, NVIDIA Fast Sync introduces only a minimal lag. With Fast Sync, you don’t even need a G-Sync monitor.

But if you are using a G-Sync monitor but your GPU’s rendering frame rate is higher than the refresh rate of the monitor, you will likely undergo screen tearing issues unless you enable Fast-Sync.

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