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Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Talk about NVIDIA G-SYNC, a variable refresh rate (VRR) technology. G-SYNC eliminates stutters, tearing, and reduces input lag.

Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby LaskoAA » 07 Apr 2017, 13:21

Based on the below, it looks like Pro players prefer non-gsync over g-sync monitors (or this list could be super old).

http://prosettings.net/
http://on-winning.com/cs-go-config-setup-settings-monitor-mice-sensitivity-pros/

With that said, I have written two top World of Warcraft players on Twitch and both said that they don't use G-sync monitors.

What is it about g-sync that the pro gamers do not like?
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby Sparky » 07 Apr 2017, 13:39

Probably because eliminating tearing isn't worth the price premium to them. Also, pro gamers aren't necessarily experts on monitor technology. The more important question is whether pro players that already have g-sync monitors and compatible video cards actually use it, or if they've tried it in a good configuration(with framerate capped inside the VRR range). Capping framerate goes against conventional wisdom for pro gamers, despite a reduction in input lag in some circumstances.
Last edited by Sparky on 07 Apr 2017, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby RealNC » 07 Apr 2017, 13:43

Professionals play with v-sync off and want very high frame rates. (I'll overlook the fact here that there's no professional WoW players, so I don't know what they're all about.)

The esport game I'm familiar with is Counter-Strike. People play with 300FPS or more (500FPS is not uncommon in big LAN tournaments). This is completely outside the G-Sync range. When playing a game with money and a career being at stake, professionals want every last little benefit they can get, no matter how minuscule of an advantage it gives them. G-Sync operates within the monitor's refresh rates, so that means lower FPS, and it introduces a small amount of input lag*, so it's not an option for most pros.

G-Sync's point is to make games more enjoyable by reducing stutter, getting rid of vsync input lag, and eliminating tearing at the same time. Professionals don't care about "enjoyable", they care about performing better. Driving a Formula 1 car for example is not an enjoyable experience. Quite the opposite. You need special training to even be able to endure it. G-Sync is more like a luxury Mercedes, designed for enjoyment and comfort.

It should be noted that many pro gamers DO have g-sync monitors. They just don't activate G-Sync in their games.

* G-Sync has greatly reduced input lag compared to vsync, but it's still not as low as vsync off.
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby LaskoAA » 07 Apr 2017, 13:53

RealNC wrote:Professionals play with v-sync off and want very high frame rates. (I'll overlook the fact here that there's no professional WoW players, so I don't know what they're all about.)

The esport game I'm familiar with is Counter-Strike. People play with 300FPS or more (500FPS is not uncommon in big LAN tournaments). This is completely outside the G-Sync range. When playing a game with money and a career being at stake, professionals want every last little benefit they can get, no matter how minuscule of an advantage it gives them. G-Sync operates within the monitor's refresh rates, so that means lower FPS, and it introduces a small amount of input lag*, so it's not an option for most pros.

G-Sync's point is to make games more enjoyable by reducing stutter, getting rid of vsync input lag, and eliminating tearing at the same time. Professionals don't care about "enjoyable", they care about performing better. Driving a Formula 1 car for example is not an enjoyable experience. Quite the opposite. You need special training to even be able to endure it. G-Sync is more like a luxury Mercedes, designed for enjoyment and comfort.

It should be noted that many pro gamers DO have g-sync monitors. They just don't activate G-Sync in their games.

* G-Sync has greatly reduced input lag compared to vsync, but it's still not as low as vsync off.



Gotcha, definitely makes sense.


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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby jorimt » 07 Apr 2017, 14:08

RealNC wrote:* G-Sync has greatly reduced input lag compared to vsync, but it's still not as low as vsync off.

Correct, G-SYNC, within its own range, can have a slight increase in input latency over an unsynced display. However, this isn't traditional sync-induced input latency here, which delays entire frames, we're talking fractions of frames averaging in the 1-3ms range over multiple samples (final numbers will be in my eventual results for "G-SYNC 101: Input Latency"), and sometimes there is no additional latency at all.

If a system were capable of perfect frametime delivery, and perfect framerates that did not budge an iota, G-SYNC would not be needed. In fact, no syncing methods would be needed. But of course, there is no perfect system.

G-SYNC + v-sync "on" compensates for these frametime variances during the vertical blank period (more details in my article here: http://www.blurbusters.com/gsync/gsync101-range/).

What I think many may have a difficult time realizing, is because of these unavoidable frametime variances, even on the ideal system, this small amount of additional latency "must" be introduced to eliminate tearing, else, at some point a frame will miss its frametime target before completion, and two frames will be displayed simultaneously, thus tearing will occur.

With an unsynced display, the only input latency advantage you have over G-SYNC is the very bottom third of the display, and only during some frames, depending on how consistent the system's frametime output is. These faster bottom updates on an unsynced display are often only high enough on the screen to encompass the player model's lower arm, wrist, or hand.

It's debatable whether or not that is a true advantage in real-world gaming scenarios, but it's likely enough of a reason for competitive gamers to be super safe, and opt for unsynced over G-SYNC. There's also a possibility that an unsynced display recovers from sudden frametime spikes more quickly than G-SYNC does, due to the slight pause sometimes added by it's frametime compensation with v-sync "on," but I haven't done enough research on that specific aspect to come to an absolute conclusion.

I'll be expanding on this subject in the upcoming entries of my ongoing G-SYNC 101 article:
http://www.blurbusters.com/gsync/gsync101/
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby RealNC » 07 Apr 2017, 14:28

jorimt wrote:It's debatable whether or not that is a true advantage in real-world gaming scenarios, but it's likely enough of a reason for competitive gamers to be super safe, and opt for unsynced over G-SYNC.

The main issue professionals have is mostly frame latency. 500FPS has a 2ms frame latency, 300FPS has 3.3ms, 144FPS has 7ms.

That's pretty much it, really. Who needs 500FPS on a 144Hz display? Not me, of course. But the pros want it. I don't know of any empirical evidence about whether or not this actually makes a difference in their competitive performance, but the numbers are there and pros want the better numbers.

Edit:
It's also about what you're used to. Game engines don't do perfect scaling when it comes to mouse controls. Mouse movements can feel different between 300FPS and 142FPS. If you're used to 300FPS, the mouse can feel a bit different if you go 142FPS G-Sync. At least it does for me (and I'm not even remotely close to pro level of play.)
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby Chief Blur Buster » 07 Apr 2017, 14:47

Framerates higher than refresh rate can have less lag
With VSYNC OFF at 500fps on a real-time scanout monitor (most fast gaming monitors) -- any random part of the screen has extremely little lag. For GSYNC, you only only have one frame per refresh cycle, and an enforced latency between top edge of screen versus bottom edge of screen. You can see LCD scanout behavior in high speed videos.

At 120Hz, you have a 8.3ms difference between top edge of screen and bottom edge of screen for a non-torn frame, due to scanout latency.

Now, with 500fps at 120Hz during VSYNC OFF, you have four tearlines per refresh cycles (4 refresh slices). Any pixel on the screen is refreshed only a max of 1/500sec behind the frame delivery. Uppermost tear slice could be 3 frames ago, 2nd tear slice could be 2 frames ago, 3rd tear slice could be 1 frame ago, and final (Bottommost) tear slice could be current frame. Each slice only ~2ms lag. Because the slices were delivered and displayed in realtime while the screen was scanning out top-to-bottom (in finite scanout speed). Bottom edge of screen has only 2ms lag max. If you had VSYNC ON or GSYNC (at 120Hz) and was forced to run at one-quarter frame rate, the bottom edge of screen will have ~8ms (1/120sec) lag from start of frame delivery over the monitor's cable.

eSports champions use VSYNC OFF
Thusly, VSYNC OFF is the preferred setting of the champions. It's not as smooth/stutterfree. Strobed & GSYNC are like Mercedes for comfort (smooth and pleasant), rather than a F1 formula car (fast but not your everyday comfort driver). You can kinda combine the two to an extent (e.g. a fast Mercedes -- e.g. 240Hz G-SYNC with low-latency scanout) and beat the everyday drivers while still being comfortable. You can even get a Ferrari or a Tesla equivalent in gaming monitors and still be reasonably comfortable (visually-wise) -- but metaphorically may not win on the Formula 1 racetrack of professionally-paid-league eSports competitions. (As RealNC said)

eSports players usually don't use ULMB/LightBoost/strobing either
eSports players usually also don't generally use strobe backlights either. I even acknowledge that strobing is very useful for some kinds of gameplay but not for other kinds, in the Motion Blur Reduction FAQ. For example, it will help forced-eye-tracking situations like aiming during high-speed low-altitude helicoptor flybys -- but it won't help fixed gaze (stare-only-at-crosshairs) with flick-mouse turns of many Quake/CS:GO players. That said, some players are indeed trained on motion-clarity-dependant gaming tactics.

However, comfort (Mercedes/Ferraris) isn't the same as performance (Formula1/Indianapolis500)
Just as there's room for a Mercedes and an F1 in driving sports, there's room for G-SYNC, ULMB, in gaming monitors. Pampering your eyes with smooth motion is highly desired by gamers -- and can still provide certain competitive advantages in the amateur leagues if used properly -- For example capping max frame rate to prevent sudden-latency-increase effect when hitting GSYNC limit -- or if using ULMB/LightBoost/Blur Reduction -- working to fix strobe-amplified microstutters to make blur reduction smoother and jittery-free.

Want to write an article about this?
We are looking for a freelance article writer that can write a Blur Busters articles on why most eSports players do not use GSYNC / FreeSync / Strobing -- and why they're right -- and why it doesn't invalidate these technologies because they are still great amazing gaming-comfort-improving technologies that still make many say "WOW!" to. Inquire within squad[at]blurbusters.com .... Even better if you are a competition player + casual player that uses the Right Tool for the Right Game (enjoys GSYNC ON/OFF, enjoys ULMB ON/OFF, etc).
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby Chief Blur Buster » 07 Apr 2017, 15:07

RealNC wrote:That's pretty much it, really. Who needs 500FPS on a 144Hz display? Not me, of course. But the pros want it. I don't know of any empirical evidence about whether or not this actually makes a difference in their competitive performance, but the numbers are there and pros want the better numbers.

While not gameplay empirical evidence -- However, from lab measurements, there's indeed a latency advantage, especially for center-of-screen and bottom-of-screen.

Mathematically, it's law of physics for a monitor -- frames are not delivered instantaneously to a monitor. There's no way to get less than 6.9ms for the bottom edge of a 144Hz screen without using VSYNC OFF. High speed cameras of VSYNC ON/GSYNC on a 144Hz (1/144sec = 6.9ms) show an approximately 6.9ms lag difference between the very top edge (first scanline) and very bottom edge of screen (last scanline), but with VSYNC OFF running at ultrahigh framerates, the difference is less than (1/framerate)th millisecond between top edge and bottom edge. At 1000fps VSYNC OFF, there's only (at most) 1ms lag difference between top edge of screen and bottom edge of screen.

Don't forget the Olympics "cross-the-finish-line" effect of simultaneous draw situations (see each other at same time & shoot each other at same time). One millisecond can matter when crossing the finish line ahead of your competitor. Don't forget in the rareified field of top players, human reaction times tend to be similiar (e.g. benchmarked 151ms vs 152.5ms versus 153ms versus 154ms -- choose a tight spread) because they're all so fast. In the elite leagues, milliseconds matter. But for everyday gamers, it sure doesn't matter a hoot. And good skills can still easily win with tens of milliseconds extra lag handicap, with the huge variances of skills found in amateur leagues.

Note: Yes, I know game tickrates apply here. Tickrate granularity (e.g. 128Hz CS:GO) limits advantage, but all those milliseconds really do add up over time. Being 4ms sooner than your competitor can mean your ticks round off sooner (because you used VSYNC OFF instead of VSYNC ON) could mean you have a 50-50 chance of rounding off to the earlier tick cycle (4ms is half of 1/128sec for a 128Hz tick cycle as 1/125sec = ~8ms).

VSYNC OFF at infinite framerate, has 1/2 refresh cycle (scanout speed) less lag for screen centre than VSYNC ON / GSYNC. The closer you get to infinite framerate (e.g. 500fps@500Hz, 1000fps@1000Hz, etc), the closer you achieve that theoretical maximum center-of-screen input lag reduction. For a 120Hz display, 8.33ms, that's a theoretical maximum 4.16ms lag savings for VSYNC OFF.
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby jorimt » 07 Apr 2017, 15:09

Very true.

The variables produced from the combination of maximum refresh rate with maximum sustain framerate on an unsynced display, along with the multiple possible ratios between the two, definitely complicates the ability to give one answer on the "G-SYNC vs unsynced" input latency question. I will keep this in mind when writing my "optimal settings" section of the G-SYNC 101 article.

The safest answer is, for anyone not gaming competitively, that wants absolute smoothness, and the very minimum additional input latency possible with zero tearing, G-SYNC is the way to go. Again though, for competitive gamers, unsynced is preferred in most instances as to rule out any of the aforementioned variables and ensure the lowest input latency possible, however negligible to the average or casual gamer it is.
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Re: Why do Pro gamers not use G-Sync?

Postby RealNC » 07 Apr 2017, 15:25

Btw, G-Sync is not always the best choice either for comfort :D

For example, when playing retro games (MAME and snes9x are what I use), I prefer ULMB. Emulators usually have a "low-latency vsync" which makes ULMB *extremely* nice with those games.

There's something to be said about scrollers/platformers (Super Mario World, 1942, etc) when using ULMB and low-latency vsync. *Even* with the "double image effect" of 60FPS on 120Hz ULMB, it looks superb.
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