Nvidia’s G-Sync for laptops accidentally outed through Alpha Driver leak

nvidia geforce gsync module

Nvidia has been keeping a tight lid on any future announcements about their G-Sync technology, which is an in-house, customised take on the Adaptive Refresh specification found in the eDP 1.0 standard released by VESA a few years ago. To date, what we’ve learned is that the G-Sync module that Nvidia created is a custom FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) and is required to make the tech work. Without it, monitors will not be able to support Nvidia’s methods to enable adaptive refresh rates and you’ll just be left with a dummy monitor.

When Nvidia revealed G-Sync last year they were rather coy about the possibility of seeing this inside a laptop and though they haven’t said anything about it yet, there already is support for it in the wild and Nvidia is working on new software drivers to enable this as I write this news piece. Interested? hit the jump for more.

The fun started when someone on the ASUS Nordic Support forums asked for help with some issues he was having with his ROG G751JY with the Geforce GTX 980M being unable to install the latest batch of Nvidia drivers. After a while, someone posted links to Alpha-testing drivers from ASUS, saying that it fixed his problem. But it also had a rather unintended side effect that was undocumented in the driver files – enabling G-Sync support for the built-in display and allowing for refresh rates as high as 100Hz on the built-in IPS panel.

gsync panel ASUS G751JY

A while later, the driver links were removed by ASUS but found their way back onto Gamenab.net, where one of the writers there takes credit for “hacking” the G-Sync support into the drivers. Though he does mention that he’s gotten G-Sync to work on other monitors, he specifically mentions getting it working on a Samsung S22D390 as well as having friends getting it working on Yamakashi aand Catleap monitors. Whether this is true or not is debatable (he provides no evidence to support his claims), but other ROG G751JY owners (as seen in this Overclockers.uk thread) have verified that the drivers do indeed work for them and solve several issues they were experiencing beforehand.

ASUS forums Gsync G751JY

As more and more people started picking this up, PC Perspective took it upon themselves to do some testing with their own ROG G571JY that they had in for review and they confirmed that it did indeed work – upon installing the alpha drivers they were able to toggle on G-Sync support and enable 100Hz refresh rates, they were able to run Nvidia’s pendulum demo to verify that G-Sync was functional and they played several games to see how well it worked under pressure.

The end result, really, is that even at this early stage in the testing phase, Nvidia already has G-Sync working without the need for a custom G-Sync scaler like they do on the desktop. Questions were asked and answered in PC Perspective’s video below (which I suggest everyone checks out) because the implications on what we’re seeing here are hugely important for the monitor market. Not only does it mean that Nvidia is probably supporting a form of Adaptive Refresh rates through the use of the embedded Displayport 1.0 standard just like AMD did when they first announced FreeSync, this could be potentially backported to several Nvidia Geforce mobile setups as long as the display and GPU support the technology.

It also raises questions about Nvidia’s future in the Adaptive Sync market and whether they are going to drop their work on G-Sync when the time is right, or if they’ll continue with it. Ryan Shrout said that Nvidia told him that there were still tricks that the G-Sync module could do that they haven’t explained yet, so it’ll likely be a very long time before they give up something that already works extremely well from a user experience perspective.

We’ll report more on this story as it develops. In the meantime, check out PC Per’s video below and let us know if you’re on the lookout for a new monitor or laptop that can support some form of variable refresh rates.


Source: PC Perspective, Gamenab, ASUS forums