Vertical Sync

Vertical Sync

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Vertical sync, also known as vertical synchronization or VSync, is a technique used in computer graphics to synchronize the display of the monitor with the output of the graphics card. It aims to prevent screen tearing and provide a smoother visual experience.

Here’s how vertical sync works and its main features:

  1. Synchronization: Vertical sync ensures that the graphics card sends new frames to the monitor only during its vertical blanking interval. This interval occurs when the electron beam moves back to the top of the screen after finishing drawing the current frame. By synchronizing the display refresh rate with the graphics card’s frame rate, vertical sync eliminates screen tearing and reduces visual artifacts.
  2. Screen Tearing: Screen tearing occurs when the monitor displays multiple incomplete frames at the same time. It happens when the graphics card sends a new frame to the monitor while it is still in the process of displaying the previous frame. This can result in a visible horizontal line where the two frames meet, leading to an inconsistent and fragmented display.
  3. Smooth Animation: By enabling vertical sync, the graphics card waits for the monitor’s vertical refresh signal before sending a new frame. This ensures that each frame is displayed in its entirety, providing a smoother and more consistent animation experience.
  4. Input Lag: One downside of vertical sync is increased input lag, which is the delay between user input (such as mouse movement or keyboard presses) and the corresponding on-screen action. This is because the graphics card has to wait for the next vertical blanking interval before updating the screen, which can introduce a slight delay in response time.
  5. Frame Rate Limitation: Vertical sync limits the frame rate to the monitor’s refresh rate. If the graphics card is capable of rendering frames at a higher rate than the monitor’s refresh rate, the excess frames are discarded, resulting in a capped frame rate. This can be beneficial in reducing the strain on the graphics card and minimizing power consumption.
  6. Tearing vs. Input Lag: Vertical sync provides a trade-off between eliminating screen tearing and increasing input lag. In fast-paced competitive gaming, where low input lag is crucial, some users prefer to disable vertical sync to achieve the lowest possible latency, even if it means experiencing screen tearing.

Overall, vertical sync is a display option that helps synchronize the graphics card’s output with the monitor’s refresh rate to provide a smoother and more visually consistent experience. It addresses screen tearing but may introduce some input lag depending on the specific system configuration and user preferences.

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