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Nvidia G-SYNC: A New gaming experience seen on the ASUS SWIFT PG278Q Display

Testing Methodology

Testing something like this is very interesting as there are many things to take into account, such as monitor type, game type and even features. so for this comparison I will play multiple game types across multiple monitor variants to give the best representation of gaming experience in VSYNC and non VSYNC environments, then they will be compared to the G-SYNC gameplay. The monitors are all different types to allow a full mix from 60Hz up to 144Hz gaming displays so I can explain accurately the experience testing with each unit.

Unlike other reviews there are no charts here as this is all gameplay experience testing so instead I will cover each game played and my experience when playing them.

Test Rig

Test Rig
CaseThermaltake Core V71
CPUsIntel i7 4960X 4.5GHz
MotherboardsASUS RAMPAGE IV Extreme Black Edition
RamPatriot Viper 64GB (8x8GB) 2133Mhz 11-11-11Quad-Channel Kit
CPU CoolerCustom Liquid Cooling
Hard Drives2x Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB 10K RPM 3Gb/s Hard Drives (Raid 0)
SSD4x Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
OpticalASUS Blu Ray Burner
GPU2X Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI
Monitors
  • ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q
    • 2560×1440 – 144Hz – 1ms – G-SYNC
  • ASUSVG248QE
    • 1920×1080 – 144Hz – 1ms
  • BenQXL2720T
    • 1920×1080 – 144Hz – 1ms
  • ASUSVE278Q
    • 1920×1080 – 60Hz – 2ms

 

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games

We will use the following Games to test the performance of the new G-SYNC technology.

Benchmarks
Battlefield 4
War Thunder
DOTA 2
Batman: Arkham Origins

Testing results and user experience.

Well I wasnt sure how I was going to do this as im used to making charts to show performance of a CPU or GPU but in this case it’s strictly how you feel and there’s really no way to put that in a numerical value. With that I decided I would list each game and just talk about the gaming experience overall and what each game was like in each mode, So here it goes.

 

Battlefield 4

First up Battlefield 4, and it was started from bottom up to the SWIFT display. So I started at 1080p 60Hz, then 144Hz standard ASUS display, then 144Hz BenQ Gaming Display and finally the SWIFT with G-SYNC.

I love playing BF4 so I have grown used to some of the chops in frames and such but when you’re actually looking at it it can get quite unnerving, Now I will admit that switching from 60Hz to 144Hz/120Hz it helped smooth it out quite a bit.  But still there are plenty of points across all three non G-SYNC Gameplay experiences where with VSYNC enabled you can notice definite chops or lags when making quick turns or navigating a dangerous area on a map which is kind of what FPS is all about. Disabling the VSYNC option allowed for some very nice performance numbers thanks to the SLI 980s but once again you run into the tearing aspect and when turning quickly you can see this very prevalent. So we have proven what Nvidias PR people has said as to the current state of gaming for BF4 at least which is the first game and mind you I played on each display for a minimum of 6 Hrs to get a good feel for how it responds to different settings.

Now to the G-SYNC setup, I got it configured which took all of no time at all then started fighting with an issue of G-SYNC not enabling until I found out I was not very bright and was not in fullscreen mode which is required for G-SYNC to function. A tool I use regularly to connect to local and remote test systems called Teamviewer was also causing an issue where BF4 could not go into fullscreen mode so if you have a G-SYNC display be sure to close Teamviewer when playing.

After all setup and G-SYNC was enabled I will honestly say that I was more than very surprised as I never thought BF4 could play like this, I wish I could somehow play it back for all of you to see but there was just a very smooth feel to the flow of the gameplay which I have never experienced before. I hate to sound cliché here but after playing BF4 on G-SYNC I do not know if I could ever go back, there is that big of a difference for me as it just feels so much more fluid and the response feels so natural its hard not to love the effect. Absent where the weird cuts of tearing and there was no noticeable lag of frames or stutters this literally feels like the way BF4 was meant to be.

 

War Thunder

War Thunder is a popular Free to Play flying game which I have had a great time playing personally as the flight system they have modeled for keyboard/mouse is absolutely amazing! It makes the need for a joystick pretty much null unless playing simulation battles. On top of this the graphics are awesome with excellent visuals and cinematics but once again with very hi res textures you get the random frame timing issues as some textures take longer to load than others so with all of the eye candy cranked up things can get iffy really fast.

Starting at the three non G-Sync experiences I can definitely say that at 60Hz VSYNC on or off can be a pain as you see plenty of issues and in 3rd person view which is default it can really get kinda messy. Switching up to 120Hz/144Hz the experience is far better but still you can see some issues as you get into multi person dogfights as the Display and GPU fight to keep things in sync and ultimately you get some clips here and there or with VSYNC enabled you can definitely see some lag as multiple planes come by at full clip.

Coming to G-SYNC I feel that once again there is an inherent smoothness to the experience which at times is very hard to describe without you trying it yourself. For example I have had G-SYNC pitched to me on countless occasions and nothing they could tell me would describe what I feel using it. This is why I have a tough time quantifying it here as how do you describe smoothness from one level to another especially when what I see here is what I would consider absolute smoothness. Planes flying at 550-650Km/h in all directions and the experience still feels smooth that is not an easy task by any means. Aside from the battles if you take a test flight and start just rolling the plane you can see that the wings have no sort of clipping or choppiness as you roll which is something you definitely see in the refresh on a non G-SYNC solution so overall I would say the gameplay experience is much more solid with G-SYNC although e effect is less seen than it id in the BF4 or FPS testing.

 

DOTA 2, Starcraft 2 and League of Legends

One area you can see tearing or lags is in top down MOBA or RTS games as the actions and map movement is so quick you tend to get clips all the time but when I do play these kinds of titles either I’ve gotten used to it or havent noticed it very much. After I started focusing it I did however see it but I guess I am just so into the game mechanics that I lose focus on the minor visuals on issues like this.

Once you pay attention to these details they stick out like a sore thumb and once again I think the transition to 144Hz helped clean it up a bit but they are still there.

Switching to G-SYNC enabled display once again you lose these minor annoyances from what I can tell but as my focus gets so much on game mechanics I did not notice a huge difference in G-SYNC until I started to notice I was catching enemy heroes much more often creeping at the edges and sniping my team from a fringe area. Upon switching back to a non G-SYNC monitor I noticed that sometimes you can miss small details like this such as your teammate in a big battle getting hooked and pulled over and by the time you notice you cannot assist whereas with the G-SYNC display I seemed to catch a lot more of these quick moves that before just seemed to be something that “just happened” so maybe this is a placebo affect but for me I feel like in the RTS and MOBA titles while they can be majorly mechanics driven there is a definite effect there that you have to see to understand.

 

Batman Arkham Origins

Batman, everyone loves the bat. Well Arkham origins has been a great game once again heavily detailed causing massive framerate spikes depending upon the environment.

First up was the 60 Hz which was playing quite well but at certain points the Tearing was so bad it was just stupid. I honestly never realized it was this bad until i looked at it, so I switched to VSYNC enable and tha lags and stutters were actually very surprising as in my eyes now that I was trying to keep a measure on this sort of thing it basically broke the game for me I honestly would consider this game unplayable. Yes I may be a little dramatic as I have played this game before but when you are looking for these issues or if your sensitive to it believe me it will not be the best gaming experience ever at least at 60Hz.

Turning to the 120Hz/144Hz displays things looked a bit better as the issues were not as prevalent but still bad enough that if playing for any significant amount of time would be a bit hard. I am now wondering why I started testing this as I was perfectly happy playing this game before I started looking for issues.

Switching on G-SYNC was something I really don’t have a word for. To say it was amazing kind of doesn’t do a lot for it, saying its the best gaming experience ever just makes me sound like a marketing shill so how do I explain this besides it was a whole different world. I did still notice some minor graphical glitches but from what I have seen that’s expected as you may see things now that you never saw before since you’re seeing clean delivery of every frame and honestly the tearing was gone, stuttering pretty much vanished however texture loads sometimes would lag a bit but that’s not an issue with timing of display that’s me not realizing I still had this game on the HDD array on not on the SSDs.

G-SYNC honestly changed my view of the Batman game and I honestly plan to go revisit even more titles now to see just how the gaming experience changes with this new technology.

Nvidia G-SYNC Technology Nvidia has been very proud of many of their advances over the last few years, offering special ways to improve the gaming experience using GeForce products. That being said we have seen many instances where gaming immersion has been enhanced or at least changed the way you play from things such as 3D Vision or new AA technologies to make the game just a more enjoyable and cleaner feeling experience. However there is one thing that has always been an issue which is screen tearing, and this can be fixed with VSYNC or at…

Review Overview

Performance - 10
Value - 8.5
Quality - 10
Feature - 10
Innovation - 10

9.7

Nvidia G-SYNC technology is something that is hard to put into words but if you try it you will understand it and it will be tough to game without it.

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