Picture this. You’re walking through the world of Skyrim and suddenly, while you’re fighting a cave troll, your screen splits in two and before you can process what’s happening you’ve been flung into the air and subsequently pummelled into Oblivion.
Corny video game references aside, screen tearing is a serious issue that affects many gamers across the world. Here at MWBIS we have had our fair share of failed missions and lost rare items due to sudden screen tearing.
We were so sick of it we decided to put together the ultimate guide to help you with eliminating screen tearing once and for all so that you can play games with peace of mind.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about screen tearing and its causes as well as what you can do to prevent and fix screen tearing…
What is screen tearing?
The simple answer
Screen tearing occurs when a monitor’s refresh rate (hz) and a computer’s graphics card’s frame rate becomes out of sync causing the screen to split horizontally across multiple frames.
Now that you understand the basics of screen tearing, lets dig a little deeper…
What causes screen tearing?
Screen tearing occurs when your computer display’s refresh rate is unable to keep up with the attached graphic card’s frame rate which causes the video display to split resulting in an extremely annoying PC gaming experience…
From the caves of Minecraft to the sprawling wasteland of Fallout 4, screen tearing can ruin any gaming experience and make you want to uninstall device. When your monitor’s refresh rate is higher than your graphics card’s frame rate, the screen can start stuttering otherwise known as ‘lag’.
This can often occur when your computer has low specifications hardware resulting in reduced frame rates as frames finish rendering at a slower rate than the monitor is displaying them.
In contrast, a tearing screen can occur when your monitors refresh rate is lower than the frame rate produced by the graphics card resulting in input lag on your video feed.
Keep reading to learn how to eliminate screen tearing issue s for good…
How to fix screen tearing?
To truly understand screen tearing we must first discuss V-Sync, the first tool used to combat a torn screen…
What is V-Sync?
V-Sync, otherwise referred to as vertical sync, was the first technology developed to mitigate the issue of screen tearing by matching the frame rate of a game to the refresh rate of a monitor.
It works by effectively putting a limit on the amount of information the graphics processing unit can send to the monitor for every refresh rate cycle. This hard limit works to ensure the two units operate on the same refresh interval so as to deliver maximum performance.
In recent years however, innovations in graphics drivers have lead to new and exciting ways to combat screen tearing for good…
Nvidia Adaptive Sync
In some cases V-Sync might not be the best solution as its hard limit technology can work against you in cases where your FPS (frames per second) drop just below your monitors vertical refresh rate. For example, if your monitor runs at 60 hz and your game drops to 59 fps V-Sync would kick in and half your frame rate to 30 fps so as to keep things syncronized. This will result in a horizontal line across the entire frame as you begin to experience stuttering and screen tearing.
The solution to a tearing screen came in the form of Nvidia Adaptive Sync which allowed for a more flexible approach to the problem. From Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 650 Graphics card onwards users are able to switch on Nvidia Adaptive Sync which constantly monitors your frames and will switch V-Sync off in the event it falls below the monitors refresh rate. This essentially allows your Nvidia graphics card to adapt itself to whatever game your playing and provide you with the best possible gaming experience.
Of course when V-Sync is switched off the screen will begin to tear slightly until the two can become re-synced but any true gamer will understand lag is a far greater issue than minor screen tearing. We would all rather a single screen draw out than the video motion shutting down or a torn screen.
However, just regular Vsync enabled was widely ignored by gamers across the world who preferred screen tearing to the frame lag caused by V-Sync. So a new technology was required…
Nvidia fast sync & AMD Enhanced Sync
Nvidia hardware is constantly evolving and with complaints about high frame rate lag following the introduction of Nvidia Adaptive Sync, they released Nvidia Fast Sync. This technology, similar to that of AMD enhanced sync, aimed to reduce input lag caused by V-Sync being enabled by optimising the process the Nvidia or AMD video card used to develop and display frames.
By using a series of back and front buffers the graphics cards could maximise the amount of frames displayed per second thus minimising input lag caused by V-Sync. This was a revolutionary solution that allowed NVIDIA and AMD users to play games with intense FPS modes.
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync: Record game clips easily
The next evolution in fighting the screen tearing issue was the introduction of G-Sync and FreeSync.
With this next breakthrough, monitors were now capable of adapting their monitors refresh rate as long as it fell within their frame limit. This meant that monitors could quickly alter their refresh rate to match the ever-changing frame rate of a graphics driver, at the cost of a minimal spike in input lag (1ms).
This opened a new technology phase, difference in input lag was greatly reduced and gamers could even manage 3D settings in more than a few ways, across any game mode, without endlessly fidgeting with their GPU settings.
Now users could utilize G Sync to enjoy smooth scrolling on this new updated driver software which also allowed for full screen optimization.
What is NVIDIA control panel?
NVIDIA control panel refers to the reader supported control panel created by NVIDIA which is a handy feature that allows for full screen optimizations through the customisation of a video card.
Users can use the device manager to press windows that allow them to record audio at different levels while also allowing them to edit and manage their screen to help with smooth scrolling and increased frame rates. Full screen optimization is useful to prevent screen tearing, how to fix screen tearing as well as allowing a user to turn their screen into a visual artifact developed by themselves.
The control panel also allows your graphics drivers to turn into a mini game bar that you can use to alter your frame limit feature s to mach your game mode. Our personal favourite is the smooth scrolling feature which allows smooth scrolling to be enabled across any game mode.
The world of screen tearing has been constantly developing in recent years to provide gamers with the ultimate experience. The game bar has been set higher and higher each year and thus monitors must adapt to keep up with the ever growing demands from modern games and modern gamers.
So how can you prevent screen tearing?
We recommend looking for monitors with NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD freesync technology as these are the best affordable options currently available on the market.