Entertainment, Graphics, Hardware, Software Programs

Nvidia G-Sync Update: Pricing, Retrofits and Other Bits

We recently attended Nvidia’s The Way It’s Meant to Be Played Editor’s Day in Montreal, Canada. There they made a few announcements, including the GTX 780 Ti, a pretty stellar game bundle, and G-Sync. For those you unfamiliar with G-Sync, we covered it last week in-depth and explained the reasoning behind it and the solution that is supposed to fix it. Even though Nvidia proposed this solution as a hardware and software solution, the truth of the matter is that it will still require new monitors, or so we thought.

Upon further conversation and more developments, we were actually able to find out that some current monitors will have DIY kits and will be available soon. This means that some people with 120 Hz and 144 Hz monitors will most likely be able to buy an adapter from Nvidia to make it G-Sync capable. Nvidia’s demo was using ASUS 144 Hz monitors retrofitted to work with G-Sync, so we weren’t surprised to find out that ASUS was the first of Nvidia’s already announced partners (BenQ, Viewsonic and Philips). We also asked around why Samsung wasn’t on the list of partners and the general consensus was that Samsung simply isn’t ready to commit yet, but they’re still quite interested and the likelihood that they’ll have one is almost certain.

GSync hardware (left) and a GeForce GTX 780 Ti (right)

One of our biggest points of contention with the G-Sync technology was that it would most likely put some BOM pressure on the monitor manufacturers since by simply looking at the G-Sync hardware you can tell it isn’t cheap. As such, we were hoping that Nvidia would put a price premium of no more than $100 on G-Sync in order to keep it within reach and within reason. Considering that the ASUS VG248 monitor that Nvidia was using was retrofitted with the G-Sync modules, and that monitor goes for $299 MSRP without G-Sync, we weren’t surprised to receive a PR from ASUS stating that their MSRP for the same monitor with G-Sync is $399. The ASUS VG248QE will be virtually the same exact monitor as it’s predecessor, however, it will have Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. Interestingly enough, it will probably be one of the few monitors that can honestly claim to be a real gaming monitor. Not a gimmicky one.

Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang asked Tim Sweeney, Johan Andersson and John Carmack what they thought of G-Sync

I also had some musings about G-Sync after I had some more time to think about the technology and it’s influence on the industry. First and Foremost, it will be interesting to see if Nvidia will also get this technology driven into professional graphics displays and solutions, theoretically increasing the premium that Nvidia and display manufacturers can charge for displays. Ultimately, it would be the best thing if all of the monitors in the world simply used this technology and that AMD licensed it from Nvidia so that their gamers could experience the same quality of gaming. However, I suspect that Nvidia plans to use this as a differentiating exclusive feature that will make their GPUs more attractive to gamers and professionals, even if they aren’t always the fastest solution available.

I suspect that Nvidia will try to make this technology a big money maker with hardware in the short term, but ultimately, the company would do best if they licensed it to all of the monitor manufacturers and their competitors. Because, if you think about the amount of displays and graphics cards that are made every year, if Nvidia simply charged $1 per use that would be a huge success for the company and would probably pay off all of the R&D that went into developing G-Sync. That is if it wasn’t already paid off by selling G-Sync as a hardware Nvidia-only solution.