Have you ever seen or heard about the term VSync, particularly when playing 3D games or using applications? It is one of the video setting options that appear in games and some applications. VSync is a short form of the word vertical sync. But what’s the use of this option? Should it be turned on or off? Let’s check out.
Before getting to the uses of VSync option, let us first see how graphics are processed in an electronic device. Be it a laptop, PC or any other, there is a certain method of every device of rendering graphics to a screen. It can come with either an independent or an integrated graphics card. Regardless of how it is, its main function is to bring visuals onto the screen. With commands to the graphics processor, users can get to see 3D scenes or frames. It provides rapid frames with slideshow-like effect. With every slide moving rapidly, it appears just like an animation. The graphics processor can output frames at a certain speed, which is called frames per second. If you want the games to be smoother, the graphics processor needs to output more frames. Whereas the screen tries to be on the same line as the frames being produced. The frame rates are symbolized as ‘Hz’ or even called as frequency.
But at times, issues arise when more frames are produced by graphics processor than the monitor can actually handle. In such cases, the monitor may go out of sync in the process, thus leading to screen tearing problem. When this issue occurs, even a complete image looks like a split picture on the screen and this is called ‘screen tearing’.
Here comes the use of vertical sync or VSync which tries to make a balance between the monitor refresh rates and graphics processor’s frames and looks for syncing issues, if any. However, this step is performed by either stopping the game engine or buffering frames till the VSync monitor till the monitor is all set to output the next frame.
If you notice the screen tearing issue, the first thing to try out is the VSync. It helps both the graphics processor and monitor frames to be on the same level, make them work in conjunction and fix the issue of screen tearing.
Besides, VSync in games is also useful when the graphics processor is in full control of the graphical demand. Sometimes, graphics processor function rapidly and this leads to excess frame rates, thus making the graphics processor overheat. Turning on the VSync will bring the frames rate to control and in level with the monitor’s refresh rate, besides reducing strain on the graphics processor. Enabling VSync also causes problems like delay of mouse clicks, key presses and make other actions less responsive than before.
It is a common question for many whether to keep the VSync on or off. Well, this completely depends on the issue. If screen tearing appears, it is recommended to turn the VSync on either through graphics processor or software. But enabling the VSync may not be appropriate when the monitor’s refresh rate is higher than the frame rate or when there is no screen tearing issue. When used properly, VSync definitely helps to fix issues and prevents overheating of the graphics processor. Turning it on even when no such issues will do more harm than good. Using it when not necessary can cause a delay in response, system lags and even harms the FPS (frames per second).
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