Lag Reduction and Image Tearing Elimination

Learn how-to reduce or eliminate lag and use Vsync to prevent image tearing to benefit from a smoother game play experience that takes advantage of every frame per second that your computer screen can output.

Episode #9-06 released on September 23, 2018

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Today, I will explain when and why Vsync is useful, and what it can do for your gaming experience. Will it make it better, or hinder your experience? And, does a better graphics cards actually mean more frames per second, right or wrong?

Why is it that bigger and better graphics cards generating more frames per second is fundamentally a incorrect way of thinking about your gaming experience? Why is it that your graphics card generating more frames per second, is not actually generating more frames per second? The answer is your computer screen.

Your computer monitor likely has a fixed refresh rate. If it has variable refresh rate technology like FreeSync or G-Sync, you will need the correct graphics card for that to work. Since most monitors have a fixed refresh rate, and many people still use screens with a fixed refresh rate of 60 frames per second, we can explain using that.

Lag in the gameplay, usually felt when we have less than 44 frames per second when our screen is expecting 60. The experience is particularly jarring since it feels like the image is locked in time. The fewer the fames, and the faster pace the gameplay, the less reaction time we will have, making the experience horrible. This is usually solved by lowering the image quality, lowering the game resolution or buying a better graphics card. It is more likely to happen with older graphics cards, or people preferring a more beautiful gameplay over frames per second minimalists.

Now, if you have a brand-new high-end graphics card, odds are that lag is not going to be the issue. The issue you will face is known as tearing. This occurs when a fixed frame rate computer monitor is given too many images per second to process and starts one image, and then continues with a substantially different image. You can see this easily when turning or changing direction. And, this is an issue for any fixed rate monitor. So, if you can produce more frames per second than your monitor can output, whether you have a 60, 120, 144, or higher frame rate per second monitor, you will experience tearing, which can be worse than lag in some cases. I have experienced game play in some games were able to generate over a thousand frames per second, but since the monitor cannot output that, it simply caused catastrophic image tearing which made the game unplayable. And, this is where Vsync being enabled can be of great benefit, if your monitor does not have variable refresh rates.

It is not particularly useful for your graphics card to generate more frames per second than your screen can handle, but it is important that it can generate enough frames per second for the game not to lag so much that it unplayable. Vsync only prevents the graphics card from generating more than a specified number of frames per second. Which means, that if your monitor can present 144 frames per second, and does not have a variable refresh rate, enabling Vsync at 144 frames per second means you will not experience tearing. Vsync won't prevent lag, but if your graphics card is recent enough, and you opt for gameplay instead of graphic fidelity, you shouldn't have an issue with lag. And, if you adjust the gameplay effectively and the game is not that recent, it may be possible to setup the game to have a continuous number of frames per second, but your mileage may vary. So, it is possible to set a fixed number of frames per second, using Vsync, and Vsync itself is useful, but only when we are given the choice to limit the number of frames per second to the number of frames we can effectively show on our screen, and not a number lower than that as some developers have tried to enforce in the past.

So, Vsync, is good. Also, it will dramatically lower the amount of work, in some cases, that your graphics card has to do when generating each of the images for the screen, since it will no longer produce more frames per second, than what the screen can handle, or whatever value you chose to setup yourself.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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