What Is Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) & How Does It Work?


In first-person shooter games, we often need to turn around quickly to spot enemies and shoot. This leads to a quickly changed picture on the monitor. Meanwhile, you might notice sometimes there are misaligned and torn images on the screen while playing.

This is the so-called screen tearing, and this issue especially happens when the frame rate by the graphics card is much lower than the monitor refresh rate (Hz) or there is a dramatic fps change (for example: fps goes up and down between 240~90fps as an extreme case).

VRR is a technology to synchronize the frame rate (fps) of a game with the monitor’s refresh rate (Hz), similar to VSYNC technology; The difference is VSYNC limits the frame rate output to the monitor’s frame rate (even if the PC can generate more fps in that game), and VRR makes monitor refresh rate dynamically sync with the frame rate when it is equal or lower than the native monitor refresh rate.

I have heard many VRR standards, such as G-Sync, FreeSync certification & Adaptive-Sync. What’s the difference?

G-SYNC is developed by NVIDIA and achieved by incorporating a module inside the monitor.

FreeSync is developed by AMD and achieved by adopting “VESA Adaptive-Sync”, which is defined as an open standard under DisplayPort 1.2a protocol defined by VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association)  in the industry in 2014.

From 2019, NVIDIA also incorporated the VESA Adaptive-Sync standard into their design of graphic cards and named it “G-SYNC Compatible”. Therefore, VESA Adaptive-Sync can be said to be the most commonly used technical protocol for VRR.

So, if the monitor complies with the VESA Adaptive-Sync specification, does it mean that the monitor can support FreeSync or G-SYNC Compatible too?

G-SYNC Compatible or FreeSync are both implemented through VESA Adaptive-Sync technology, if the monitor is designed to follow the VESA Adaptive-Sync standard, it should be able to conduct VRR with graphic cards in theory.

The monitor is a passive display device so you should also check whether your graphic card supports VRR function and keep your graphic card drivers updated to the latest version. For more information, please visit your graphic card manufacturers' websites.

For our models feature with VRR and certifications, please refer to the list below: 

So, did you test your VESA Adaptive-Sync featured models whether they are both compatible with G-Sync Compatible or FreeSync?

For the models that didn’t get certificated by AMD/NVIDIA but feature VESA Adaptive-Sync, we have conducted a series of tests for them on several graphic cards.

According to our internal tests, both AMD & NVIDIA's graphic cards are VRR compatible with our Adaptive-Sync models, but, that’s based on our test results under specific graphic cards. There are too many brands and different specs of graphic cards on the market so we we are not able to guarantee the results for all graphic card models at all times.

With this in mind, you could still enable the VRR function on your monitor & system to give it a try. If there are any compatible issues, feel free to send us a message on our global Facebook / Twitter @ZOWIEbyBenQ, or contact our RMA department through our website (ZOWIE site > Support > Contact > RMA) for assistance.

How do I enable Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), FreeSync, or G-Sync Compatible on my PC & XL monitor? If my monitor didn’t certificate by AMD / NVIDIA, what will happen?

Before enabling the VRR function on your graphic card’s control center, please check the following steps on your monitor:

(1)   Ensure your monitor features VESA Adaptive-Sync.

(2)   Disable DyAc/DyAc+ before enabling the “FreeSync Premium” inside the monitor menu.

(3)   Go to “System” > “FreeSync Premium” > “On” to turn on VRR function.

* DyAc/DyAc+ are not compatible with VRR at the same time.

* The monitor menu string may vary for models. For XL2731K / XL2746K, please refer to “Adaptive-Sync” instead of “FreeSync Premium”.


A.  For enabling G-Sync Compatible, please refer to the following steps:

(1)   Open the “NVIDIA Control Panel” in your operating system.

(2)   Select “Display” > “Set up G-SYNC” on the left list.

(3)   Check the option “Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible” & “Enable settings for the selected display model” to enable VRR.

(4)  If your monitor is not certified by NVIDIA, it will prompt the following message “Selected Display is not validated as G-SYNC Compatible.” You can still enable G-SYNC Compatible function inside the control panel.

B.   For enabling FreeSync Premium, please refer to the following steps:

(1)   Open AMD Radeon Software in your operating system.

(2)   Select “Setting” icon on the upper right > “Display” on the top tag.

(3)   Toggle the “AMD FreeSync Premium” option to “Enabled”.

(4)   If your monitor is not certified by AMD, you will see “Adaptive Sync Compatible” as the option instead. You can still toggle it to enable VRR function.