Nvidia Vsync is a remarkable solution for screen tearing, especially when you are playing fast-paced video games. However, this feature has been reported to fail from time to time. In such a case, you will still encounter screen tearing, and input lag glitches even when the Nvidia Vsync feature is enabled. 

This often occurs following an update of the game or video drivers. It can also be a result of misconfigured games and Nvidia settings on your computer. Throughout this guide, you will learn how the Nvidia Vsync feature helps combat screen tearing, and whether or not you should turn it on. 

The guide also includes several solutions you can use to resolve the Nvidia Vsync not working issue on both Windows and Linux operating systems. 

Many gamers have complained of the Nvidia Vsync not working issue, especially after updating the NVIDIA graphics driver or the game. In Windows, the problem can be fixed by disabling the Frame Limit feature, configuring program settings in NVIDIA, or restoring NVIDIA 3D settings. 

In Linux distributions, the problem may be resolved by creating a new config file and then updating intramfs or configuring performance settings in Nvidia X. In some Linux distros, disabling the ‘Allow flipping & Sync to VBlank’ and ‘No-ubb’ settings can also fix the problem. 

Frame Rate (FPS) Vs. Refresh Rate 

To understand the working of Vsync technology, you first need to know how the frame rate on your computer relates to the refresh rate on the monitor. A frame is essentially a single still image—multiple of these are combined in a rapid slideshow to depict an illusion of natural motion. Frame rate is the number of these still images displayed per second. 

The more powerful the GPU and CPU are, the more frames they are capable of rendering (producing). The refresh rate, on the other hand, refers to the number of times a monitor can redraw the screen per second. A 60Hz refresh rate means that the display can redraw the entire screen 60 times per second. 

Screen tearing is a glitch that occurs when the rendering rate for the graphics card is out of sync with the refresh rate of the monitor. It occurs when the FPS of a computer is either higher or lower than the display’s refresh rate. 

How NVIDIA Solves Screen Tearing  

The Vsync graphics technology by NVIDIA is designed to synchronize in-game frame rate with the refresh rate on the monitor. The technology was first developed by GPU manufacturers to address the screen tearing issue—a glitch in which the monitor only displays portions of different frames at the same time. 

To avoid this, Vsync limits the output frame rate by the graphics card to a range the monitor can handle. In its functioning, NVIDIA Vsync prevents the GPU from altering the display memory until the display is done with the current refresh cycle. 

This way, the GPU will not feed anything to the monitor until the monitor is ready to receive more information. This is often achieved through page flipping and double buffering. Being one of the best solutions available today, you are not supposed to see tears on your display with the NVIDIA Vsync feature enabled. 

When Should You Turn Vsync On/Off? 

Despite being a beneficial feature, enabling the Vsync feature on your computer is bound to affect the performance in several ways. As such, there are times when you need the feature and other times when you are better off without the Vsync feature. 

For instance, it is advisable to disable the NVIDIA Vsync feature when the frame rate for the game you are playing is lower than the maximum refresh rate on the monitor. If a game is at a graphically-intense point, the FPS may drop below your monitor’s refresh rate. 

When this happens, Vsync will automatically try to limit the FPS to avoid screen tearing. However, this may impact the visuals on your game and introduce an input lag. To enhance your gaming experience, turn the NVIDIA Vsync feature Off when you do not need it. 

How to Fix the NVIDIA Vsync Not Working Issue On Windows 10

To accommodate the visual properties of such fast-paced games like Assassin’s Creed and Red Dead Redemption, you often need to enable Vsync. However, this feature may malfunction from time to time. If enabling NVIDIA Vsync does not seem to resolve the screen tearing problem, the feature is probably not working.

In most cases, this is caused by improper NVIDIA or in-game settings. Discussed below are some of the methods you can use to troubleshoot and fix the Nvidia Vsync not working issue in Windows 10:

Method 1: Ensure that Vsync is Enabled 

Before trying anything else, you should check whether the NVIDIA Vsync feature is actually enabled. The following steps will help you enable or disable the Nvidia Vsync feature:

Step 1: Press the Windows key on the keyboard to display the Start menu. Next, type Nvidia control panel into the search box and then press the Enter key. Select the first item on the search results to open the NVIDIA control panel. 

Alternatively, you can just right-click on the space in your Desktop and then selecting ‘NVIDIA Control Panel’ from the context menu. 

Step 2: Now select ‘Manage 3D Settings’ and navigate to the ‘Global settings’ tab. Scroll down the list of features and select the  ‘Vertical Sync’ option.

Step 3: Expand the drop-down menu to the right side of the window and ensure that the ‘Force On’ option is enabled. This will turn NVIDIA Vsync on. If you wish to turn it off, just select the ‘Force Off’ option on this drop-down menu. 

To help improve benchmark and application performance on the less demanding games like the Quadro-based cards, it is advisable to disable Vsync. In either case, be sure to complete the NVIDIA Control Panel window once you are done. Leaving this window open is likely to affect the benchmark and application performance.

Method 2: Disable Frame Limit Settings 

A considerable number of video games today feature Frame Limit settings. This setting allows you to limit the number of frames the GPU can render to the monitor. Such a feature will come in handy when you are using low-spec hardware to play fast-paced games like Valorant. 

Though rare, this feature is also known to cause screen tearing even with the Vsync feature enabled. If the screen is tearing, despite having NVIDIA Vsync enabled, you need to disable the Frame Limit setting. The procedure may vary from one application to another. 

The following procedure will help you solve the Nvidia Vsync not working in Valorant: 

 Step 1: Disable Vsync using the steps described in method 1 above. You should then launch the problematic game or application on your Desktop (Valorant in this case).

Step 2: With Valorant open, press the Esc key, and then click on Settings. Next, navigate to the Video option on the Settings menu.

Step 3: Under the Video settings, ensure that the ‘Display Mode’ is set to Fullscreen. Turning the display mode to Fullscreen should display several FPS limit options. You need to toggle all these FPS limit options off. 

Step 4: Navigate back to the Settings menu, as described in Step 2, and then select the ‘Graphics quality’ option. Check whether Vsync is turned on. If Vsync is off, you need to turn it on. If it is already on, you should turn it off, close the window and then repeat the above-discussed steps to turn it back on. 

Once you are done, close the window, restart the computer, and then launch the game to check whether Vsync is working. 

Method 3: Restore NVIDIA 3D Settings

The 3D settings on NVIDIA Control Panel are known to conflict with the Vsync feature for gamers using NVIDIA Graphics Cards. In most cases, this happens after you have altered the Vsync global settings or program settings. Restoring Nvidia 3D settings instructs NVIDIA to apply 3D application settings for Vsync. 

To do this, right-click on the desktop and select ‘NVIDIA Control Panel’ from the context menu. If the NVIDIA Control Panel option is missing, you need to install and enable NVIDIA on your computer. Having launched the NVIDIA Control Panel, select ‘Manage 3D Settings’ from the left pane. This will display the Global settings menu. 

Disable/Turn off the Max Frame Rate and Low Latency Mode options on this menu. At this point, you can either click on the Restore option or Select the ‘Use the 3D application setting’ option under Vertical Sync. Finally, click on the Apply button to save the changes. 

Method 4: Configure Program Settings Properly 

The objective here is to re-configure program settings for the problematic program or game. If the screen tearing problem starts when you are playing the Valorant game, then you need to configure the in-game 3D settings for Valorant.

Here is how you should go about it:

Step 1: Open the NVIDIA 3D settings menu, and then click ‘Program Settings’ on this window. 

Step 2: Next, click on the Add button and select the problematic program—Valorant in this case. Click on the ‘Add select program’ option. If you cannot find the problematic app on this list, click on ‘Sort by’ and then select the A to Z option. 

Step 3: Ensure that the ‘Max-Frame rate’ option on this window is disabled/turned off.

Step 4: Navigate to the Vertical Sync section and select the ‘Use global setting’ or ‘Use the 3D application setting’ option.

Alternatively, you could just restore these settings to default by clicking on the Restore button and then select Yes on the confirmation prompt that comes up. Having ensured that Vsync is turned on, launch the game to check whether the Vsync not working in Valorant problem has been fixed.

How to Fix NVIDIA Vsync Not Working in Linux 

Screen testing is a rather common issue on Linux operating systems. This is particularly the case for desktop environments that are not running a compositor, including LXDE, XFCE, and MATE environments. 

Regardless of the Linux distribution, you are running, screen tearing can occur because the game is not applying Vsync or does not have the Vsync option. Other games, such as the ones built with Unity3d, may detect when a compositing window manager is running and force Vsync Off. 

You can encounter this problem while running games on Linux or through Steam. Discussed below are some of the methods you can use to configure Linux Mint, or a similar distro to have a special session for running games through Steam—hence forcing the game to use NVIDIA Vsync: 

Method 1: Update NVIDIA Driver

First, check to ensure that you are running the latest Nvidia proprietary drivers on your computer. This method will help you install NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu Linux, and then switch to the proprietary Nvidia driver. 

As you are maybe aware, most Linux distros feature a pre-installed xserver-xorg-video-nouveau package. Shifting from this option to the proprietary Nvidia driver will improve the performance of the NVIDIA graphics card significantly. 

The following steps will help you install the Nvidia driver in Ubuntu Linux:

For the purpose of this guide, we will be installing the driver using the GUI method, which is the simplest. 

Step 1: Press the Super Key—Windows key—on your keyboard, type update-manager into the search box, and press the Enter key to search. Next, click on the Software updater icon that pops up just below the search box.

Step 2: Click on the Settings button on the Software Updater window and navigate to the ‘Additional drivers’ tab. 

Step 3: Select the Nvidia-driver-460 (proprietary, tested) option before clicking on the ‘Apply Changes’ button. Authenticate yourself, when promoted to do so. You should then allow the system enough time to download and install the driver.

Step 4: Once the system is done installing the NVIDIA driver, close the window and reboot the computer. To reboot the Linux computer, run the $ sudo shutdown -r now or $ sudo reboot command on the Terminal. 

Method 2: Install OpenBox and Compton

OpenBox is a minimalistic, and lightweight desktop environment while Compton is a composter. Installing these two has been proven to fix NVIDIA issues that may be causing screen tearing in Linux. The following procedure will help you achieve just that:

Step 1: Download and Install OpenBox and Compton 

To install these, open your preferred Terminal and run the following command: 

sudo apt-get install Openbox obconf obmenu Compton

Enter your account password when prompted to do so, and then proceed to download Openbox and Compton. Once the system is done installing, you need to create an autostart file. By so doing, OpenBox will be running Compton and Steam for you every time you log in. 

To do this, enter the following command into the Terminal Window (without sudo): 

gedit ~/.config/openbox/autostart

Running this command should open a text editor. Enter the following into the new text editor window:

# Start up Compton for compositing compton -b –backend xrender –vsync opengl # Start Steam steam

If these compton parameters happen to give you mixed results, you can invoke compton by running the following instead: 

compton -b –backend glx –vsync opengl-swc

Step 2:Ensure that the ‘Sync to VBlank’ and ‘Allow Flipping’ options are unchecked on Nvidia-settings. Once you are done, save the file and close the text editor before restarting the computer. 

Step 3: After rebooting to the login screen, click o the ‘Session’ button or link on your screen, and select OpenBox on the list  of environments that comes up. This should automatically launch Steam. You may now open your game and enjoy a tear-free gaming experience. 

Method 4: Enable ‘Force Full Composition Pipeline’ in Nvidia-Settings

In this method, the objective is to activate the launch Nvidia-settings and activate the Force Full Composition Pipeline option without root permissions. This method has been proven to work, regardless of the compositor you are using. 

The following procedure will help you accomplish this: 

Step One: Load Nvidia-Settings 

Navigate to your ‘X Server Display Configuration’ screen, select your monitor, and then click on the Advanced button. Next tick the checkboxes adjacent to the ‘Force Composition Pipeline’ and ‘Force Full Composition Pipeline’ options. Once done, click on the Apply button. 

You may also enforce this using the command line by running the following command on your Terminal: 

nvidia-settings –assign CurrentMetaMode=”nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceFullCompositionPipeline = On }

Step Two:  Make this Change Permanent 

To make the changes you just made permanent, you need to add it to the Screen section of your Xorg configuration file. While at it, ensure that you enable the ‘TripleBuffering’ option and disable the ‘AllowIndirectGLXProtocol’ option your driver configuration settings. 


How to Create a New Xorg Configuration File in Linux 

If you do not have an Xorg configuration file on your computer, you can just create one for the current hardware. In this regard, you should use the  Nvidia-xconfig automatic configuration tool. To create a new Xorg sever configuration file, you need to run the following command on the Terminal:

# nvidia-xconfig

Executing this command will auto-detect and create or edit the Xorg configuration file, if one is already present. It will automatically save the file to /etc/X11/xorg.conf and configure it according to the current hardware. 

If you happen to run into DRI instances while creating the configuration file, you need to commend them it by running the following command in Terminal: 

# Load “dri”

Now double-check the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and ensure that the horizontal sync, default depth, resolution, and vertical refresh settings are configured accordingly. If you get an error while trying to save the configuration file, you need to execute Nvidia-settings as root by running:

sudo nvidia-settings

You can now click the button to save these changes. Finally, move the Xorg configuration file from /etc/X11/xorg.conf to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf.

Method 5: Disable the ‘Allow Flipping’, ‘Sync to VBlank’, and UBB Options

If your screen is tearing on Linux, despite having the NVIDIA Vsync feature enabled, you should consider disabling the ‘Allow Flipping’ as ‘Sync to VBlank’ options on OpenGL Settings. The NVIDIA Accelerated Linux Graphics Driver is known to support both OpenGL Flipping and Unified Back Buffer (UBB).

The UBB is enabled by default, if your computer has sufficient video memory available. When enabled, UBB ensures that all windows share the same stencil, back, and depth buffers. In most cases, this means that the video memory will be used inefficiently, which may lead to screen tearing. 

You can disable this option using the UBB X config option. To disable UBB as root, you should run the following command: 

sudo nvidia-xconfig –no-ubb

Executing this command will automatically edit the  /etc/X11/xorg.conf file without the UBB option. To disable the OpenGL flipping and Sync to VBlank options using the command line, you should run the following command on the Terminal: 

/usr/bin/nvidia-settings -a ‘SyncToVBlank=0’ /usr/bin/nvidia-settings -a ‘AllowFlipping=0

Final Verdict 

Screen tearing, and input lag are some of the glitches that will definitely impact on your gaming experience. The Nvidia Vsync desire has been specifically designed to combat such problems, especially for the fast-paced video games. It works by synchronizing the output FPS rate from the graphics card to the refresh rate on the monitor  

However, there are times when this feature fails to work as expected. Often a times, this has to do with the Nvidia Control Panel, and graphics card settings. In windows, you can fix the issue by disabling Frame Limit settings, configuring 3D program settings, or restoring Nvidia 3D settings. 

In Linux, the Nvidia Vsync not working issue may be resolved by installing the proprietary Nvidia driver, installing OpenBox and Compton or disabling the ‘Allow Flipping’, ‘Sync to VBlank’, and UBB Options. With this guide, you can restore the Nvidia Vsync feature to its working condition, regardless of the operating system you are running.