How To Use AMD FreeSync with NVIDIA Graphics Cards

Although many gaming monitors boast support for either AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-Sync, it is possible to synchronize these displays with graphics cards from the opposing brand. Being the cheapest to integrate, FreeSync is most commonly found on monitors, while most gamers still prefer NVIDIA video cards for their gaming PC. Here’s how to make those two work together.

First things first…

Before we start, we should temper some expectations. Sure, AMD FreeSync can be used as a sort of “faux G-Sync”, but this doesn’t mean that all features of the technology are all fully mirrored. Depending on the monitor and graphics card, some of the optimizations might get lost in translation. Still, there’s a lot to gain out of this work-around.

In most cases, you benefit from the variable refresh rate (VRR) that your display supports, while eliminating issues like screen tearing. This will ensure you get the most out of your FreeSync monitor, even if your GPU came from NVIDIA. An opposing card from AMD might spew out smoother results, but with this guide, you at least use you some of the gaming benefits that were built into your display. 

Promotional photograph showing a PC gamer using a 360 Hz gaming display with NVIDIA G-Sync.

For this to work, you’ll need a AMD FreeSync (Premium) display, an NVIDIA GPU on at least the Pascal architecture — commonly known as the GTX 10 line-up — and a video cable that supports adaptive output. In some cases, monitors might be capable of picking that up over HDMI, but DisplayPort almost always has your back on this one. 

Open up the NVIDIA Control Panel

To enable your “fake G-Sync” on a FreeSync monitor, head on over to the NVIDIA Control Panel application. If you have been using your NVIDIA graphics card for some time, you will probably have it installed already, as it comes pre-packaged with many GeForce driver updates. 

The NVIDIA Control Panel is not listed as a Windows program, but can easily be found from the desktop. Simply right-click an empty area on the desktop, and it should be listed in your trusty drop down menu.

Screenshot of the NVIDIA Control Panel being highlighted in the drop-down menu from a Windows 10 desktop.

If that’s not the case, you can download the NVIDIA Control Panel for free through the Microsoft Store. Support for the downloadable package can be finicky, but having your graphics card’s drivers fully updated usually keeps everything compatible. That tip applies to basically anything graphics card related, as a matter of fact.

Change the G-Sync settings

In the ever so reliable NVIDIA Control Panel, navigate to the “Set up G-Sync” tab under the “Display” category. This will divide your G-Sync settings into three easy steps — as long as NVIDIA recognizes a display that features adaptive synchronization. 

If that’s the case, you can enable G-Sync (and/or “G-Sync Compatible”) under Step 1. This can either be exclusively for full screen gaming, or both windowed and full screen modes. The first one is often preferred for the best frame rates, but we won’t judge if you play your games windowed.

Step 2 will have you choosing the display to output the G-Sync towards. The NVIDIA Control Panel will list all of the displays connected to your video card, with different icons, depending on their G-Sync compatibility. Those that feature some sort of adaptive sync, will have a green backdrop with a part of the NVIDIA logo.

Screenshot from the NVIDIA Control Panel, with highlights on the settings that will make G-Sync work on a AMD FreeSync monitor.

Under Step 3, you’ll find the checkbox to enable these settings for the selected display. This is also where NVIDIA will display a message saying “Display is not validated as G-Sync Compatible.” This reads like an error, but it’s mostly a matter of fact. NVIDIA just appears to be slightly salty that your monitor’s manufacturer didn’t pay the G-Sync tax to have their adaptive syncing approved by NVIDIA themselves.

All there’s left to do, is to click “Apply”, and that’s it. Even rebooting isn’t required for the changes to take effect. As long as you went over the steps correctly, your AMD FreeSync monitor should now function as unvalidated G-Sync output. 

Go enjoy your games with variable refresh rates

That wasn’t so hard, now was it? We hope our quick guide got you some smoother gaming results, without too much of a hassle. Feel free to let us know if this G-Sync work-around worked for you. We would love to hear how much your gaming results benefitted from these changes.

If you couldn’t get the “faux G-Sync” to work, make sure to hit us up in the comment section down below. We might be able to help you out in a pinch. Sharing your own experience and suggestions might even make for great additions to our article. What’s not to love about helping your fellow gamers out?

Want to know more about gaming monitors? Check out our extensive guide on Everything You Need To Know About Gaming Monitors, or try out our recommendations on The Best 1440p Monitors for Competitive Gaming, featuring some great FreeSync and/or G-Sync compatible displays.

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