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Nvidia debuts 6 G-Sync laptops and 7 G-Sync displays, as its tech war with AMD rages on

Gordon Mah Ung | June 2, 2015
AMD and Nvidia have dueling display technologies to smooth out refresh rates in games. Hardware adoption is part of the battle, and Nvidia's winning--for now.

In essence, Nvidia can boot a panel it feels isn't up to snuff. In fact, all six of the G-Sync laptops announced feature new 75Hz displays that, Nvidia said, meet its standards. Most laptop displays top out at 60Hz. Why no 120Hz or 144Hz panels? Nvidia said it wasn't aware of any laptop-sized panels that could hit those refresh rates just yet. 

The same process occurs on desktops, too. This validation process, Nvidia claims, makes G-Sync superior to AMD's FreeSync.

Here's where the fight begins: Nvidia pointed out issues with blurring that are said to occur on FreeSync-enabled monitors. AMD officials previously have told PCWorld that blurring is not a FreeSync problem, per se, but is mostly an issue with how each individual monitor is designed and implemented.

To an extent, Nvidia officials agree that it can be a monitor design and implementation issue but they also say that's why G-Sync is better, because gamers will know Nvidia has approved the panel in use.

Blurring, for example, is accounted for in the G-Sync module, which is tuned for each panel used by the monitor. Nvidia also said that very low frame rates below the monitor's refresh rate are also compensated for in G-Sync by doubling the refresh rate and inserting duplicate frames to make it appear smoother. Nvidia has only now revealed this technique, but tech web site PCPer did a clever dissection of it that's explained here.

Nvidia also threw some sand in AMD's eye in its presentation by highlighting that SLI currently supports G-Sync, while AMD has had to delay support for FreeSync with CrossFire multi-card setups. 

New G-Sync monitors debut, seven in all

None of this matters if no one builds monitors, and that's where the war is likely to drag out. As part of its announcement, Nvidia is touting seven new G-Sync panels on tap for this year.

They include:

  • Acer's XB271HK, a 27-inch 4K IPS panel with a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Acer's XB281HK, a 28-inch 4K TN panel with a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Acer's X34, a 34-inch curved, wide-aspect IPS panel with a 3,440x1,440 resolution and 75Hz refresh rate.
  • Acer's Z35, a 35-inch curved, wide-aspect VA panel with a 2,560x1,080 resolution and 144Hz refresh.
  • Asus' PG279Q, a 27-inch 2560x1440 IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate.
  • Asus' PG27AQ, a 27-inch 4K IPS panel with a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Asus' PG34Q, a 34-inch, 3,440x1,440 IPS panel with a 60Hz refresh rate.

The lineup lengthens the list of G-Sync monitors available to consumers, a glaring issue when G-Sync was first introduced. Specifically, it took almost seven months from G-Sync's introduction to the availability of G-Sync monitor.

AMD has had just as much of a problem, if not worse, getting FreeSync-enabled monitors to the market. The first FreeSync monitors didn't become available until just a few months ago, but AMD says we should expect to see no fewer than 20 FreeSync monitors this year. 

Who will win this war? No one knows. In fact, speaking with Nvidia officials, they don't even think there is a war, because few gamers go out to buy FreeSync-enabled monitors while G-Sync is a highly sought after check off item. 


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