AOC just announced a 24″ monitor with AMD FreeSync support, priced under £200. If you’re looking for a 1080p panel with frame-smoothing functionality that’s news in itself. Add AOC’s largely identical G-Sync 24″ panel and its extra £100 outlay into the picture, however, and you’ve got a clear indication of the price premium on NVIDIA’s hardware-based frame smoothing.
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Some degree of pricing discrepancy between AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s G-Sync is to be expected: the former is so named because it doesn’t require any additional hardware to smooth out frame delivery from GPU to panel, relying on DisplayPort protocols to pre-negotiate an adaptive refresh rate.
By contrast, NVIDIA’s solution requires a hardware module within the panel itself to sync the refresh rate between the GPU and display. Ironically, the exact opposite’s true of each manufacturer’s approach to aysnc shading in DX12 – AMD handle the task in hardware, whereas NVIDIA will use a software layer in an updated driver.
All that means monitor manufacturers pay NVIDIA for the physical hardware and the technology’s license, and thus AOC’s largely identical 24″ TN monitors, the G2460PF (£199) with FreeSync support and G2460PG (£299) bearing the G-Sync tech, carry a £100 price difference.
If that sounds like a bargainous price for a 24″ 1080p monitor, it’s worth bearing in mind that both models use TN panels. These are renowned for their rapid response times (and in fact both models boast a 144Hz refresh rate to facilitate their respective tech) but traditionally don’t offer the depth of colour of an IPS screen. However, a good TN screen can outperform a bad IPS – there’s no absolute hierarchy among the two display types.
It’s extremely hard to quantify or compare the performance of those two ideologically opposed solutions to screen tearing and frame stutter. But the question AOC’s pricing raises isn’t simply: which is the better technology? It’s: if G-Sync is the better technology, how much better is it?
Does either technology appeal to you? Would you be interested in a face-off piece based on user experience? Let us know below.