Nvidia is a highly popular technology brand, and its graphics cards have a wide customer range.
Anyone with an Nvidia GPU installed on their PC prefers to match it with an Nvidia G-Sync monitor to get the best performance.
However, when users check out the prices for these monitors, they become unsure if they can spend that much for a future-proof setup.
When you take a peek at the other side of the market and see the considerably lower prices of the FreeSync monitors, you wonder if you can hook them up to your Nvidia card and save a huge amount of money.
This article will answer this question and provide you with the instructions and tools you need for this matter.
Can You Use A FreeSync Monitor With An Nvidia Card?
Yes, you can use an Nvidia graphics card with any display, and you’ll get an image like on any other screen.
A couple of years ago, Nvidia only supported its own G-Sync monitors and locked you into its ecosystem.
Also, AMD supported only the open FreeSync standard.
However, things have changed since 2019, with Nvidia starting the G-Sync Compatible initiative, also known as “Nvidia FreeSync.”
The company announced FreeSync support for GeForce graphics cards so that owners of Nvidia graphics cards can enable G-Sync on FreeSync and other adaptive sync monitors.
However, there are limitations to this decision.
Firstly, only GeForce 10 and 20 series graphics cards support this feature.
Secondly, you should connect the GPU to the monitor through the display port only, meaning you can’t use HDMI or DVI ports to connect to your FreeSync monitor.
Lastly, you’ll need to install the 417.71 version of Nvidia drivers or later.
Nvidia currently supports three display types for using the adaptive sync technology:
- G-Sync Ultimate: G-Sync Ultimate or G-Sync HDR monitors have Nvidia’s G-Sync HDR module inside them along with the full suite of HDR features.
They’re the best around.
- Regular G-Sync: The original G-Sync monitors include a G-Sync module and only work with Nvidia GPUs but don’t support G-Sync HDR.
- G-Sync Compatible: G-Sync Compatible monitors are Adaptive sync or FreeSync monitors that Nvidia has certified for use with their GPUs.
They don’t have a built-in G-Sync module, but they support the VESA Adaptive-Sync standard.
They can also work with AMD GPUs.
Adaptive sync will be enabled by default with a G-Sync Compatible monitor and Nvidia’s latest drivers installed.
Since there aren’t many G-Sync Compatible monitors, users wonder if they can hook up a non-certified FreeSync monitor to their Nvidia graphics card.
As Nvidia says, “It may work, it may work partly, or it may not work at all.”
Many people have gotten high-quality displays with this method, and many encountered significant issues.
It depends on the monitor and GPU combination you’re using.
How To Connect A G-Sync Compatible FreeSync Monitor To An Nvidia GPU
If you’ve got one of the G-Sync Compatible monitors that Nvidia has certified for use with an Nvidia GPU, hooking it up will be an easy job.
It just needs some preparations to ensure everything will work smoothly.
Step 1: Connect The Monitor
Connecting the FreeSync monitor will be just like any other display, but make sure you use the Display port for the connection.
If you have a GTX 16 series or RTX 20/30 series Nvidia GPU, use the HDMI 2.1 port.
Step 2: Update Windows
You should be running a recent version of Windows, preferably the latest update.
- Right-click on the Windows logo and choose Settings to open the app.
- Select the Update & Security section.
- Hit the Check for Updates button.
- If you receive a pending updates message, click on its button to download and install it.
- Afterward, restart your PC for the update to be activated.
Step 3: Update Nvidia Drivers
Windows updates may have updated the Nvidia drivers.
However, to be sure, it’s best if you download the latest drivers for your GPU from Nvidia’s official website.
Head to Nvidia’s website, search up your GPU model, and then download the latest drivers that come up.
Before installing the drivers, you’ll have to uninstall the existing GPU drivers so they wouldn’t interfere with the new ones and cause issues.
Display Driver Uninstaller or DDU is the best and most reliable application for removing drivers without leaving anything behind.
Disconnect your internet before starting the process with DDU and keep it that way until the installation of your new drivers is complete.
This way, you’ll block Windows updates and automatic driver re-installments from reinstalling the wrong Nvidia drivers.
Restart your PC once the driver finishes downloading.
This process should automatically download and install Nvidia’s GeForce Experience to update the drivers if Nvidia releases any new versions.
Step 4: Enable FreeSync
You’ll have to enable the FreeSync feature of your monitor through its own settings.
The process can be different for every monitor brand.
Step 5: Turn On G-Sync
- Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel from the drop-down menu.
- Under the Display section from the left menu bar, choose Change Resolution.
- Choose the FreeSync monitor and adjust the resolution to the highest possible option.
- Now choose the Set up G-Sync section from the left panel.
- Check the box next to the Enable G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible option.
- Hit the Apply button.
How To Use G-Sync With An Unsupported FreeSync Monitor
It’s still possible to manually enable G-Sync for those of you with FreeSync monitors that aren’t G-Sync Compatible certified.
However, as stated before, there’s no guarantee that it’ll work fine.
To start the process, perform all the five mentioned steps in the previous section.
Then, do the following:
- After hitting the Apply button in the last step of the previous section, the system will inform you that Nvidia hasn’t validated your monitor for G-Sync.
Since you already knew that, move on to the next step.
- While in the Set up G-Sync window in the Nvidia panel, select your monitor under the second heading.
- Then, check the box next to Enable settings for the selected display model and then Hit Apply.
- If you can’t see the above settings or find out later that G-Sync isn’t working correctly, head to the Manage 3D Settings section that sits under the 3D Settings menu.
- Click on the Global tab and find the Monitor Technology section.
- Choose G-Sync Compatible from the drop-down menu and then hit Apply.
If you want to know how this change has affected your display, you can download the G-Sync Pendulum Demo that Nvidia has developed to show the difference G-Sync causes.
If your G-Sync/FreeSync combo works out, the animation shouldn’t experience any stuttering or tearing.
If you’re unlucky with the setup, you’ll get some iffy results.
Reddit’s PC community has created a handy list of all the unsupported FreeSync monitors and how they work with G-Sync turned on.
If you’re looking to buy such a monitor, take some time to analyze the list for the best results.
Can You Use A G-Sync Monitor With An AMD Radeon Card?
Nvidia left everyone in shock with the decisions it made back in 2019.
Not only did the company allow its graphics cards to connect to the FreeSync monitors, but it also made it possible for its G-Sync monitors to work with AMD GPUs.
Of course, only some of the new G-Sync models that entered the market since then had updated their integrated modules and allowed them to support both Adaptive-Sync and HDMI-VRR.
This enhancement supports game consoles that are VRR compatible or run a graphics card that supports Adaptive Sync.
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X users can choose a G-Sync monitor of their choice.
Also, PC gamers with an AMD card installed can benefit from a G-Sync monitor.
What Makes A Good FreeSync Monitor For Use With G-Sync?
Aside from the qualities that a good monitor should have in general, a FreeSync monitor that wants to run G-Sync should have a wide variable refresh rate window, also known as a FreeSync window.
FreeSync will only be active in this range.
For instance, imagine your monitor has a 60–120Hz window.
If your game’s FPS runs lower or higher than this range, you’ll experience tearing with G-Sync enabled.
You’ll have to turn down your game’s graphics settings to always remain in the stated zone.
The wider the window, the less you’ll have to sacrifice the game’s quality.