Nvidia Optimus vs G-Sync – Gaming Performance Compared!
Sync enabled and find out if we can boost performance by using an external monitor to bypass Optimus., Just as a refresher, Nvidia Optimus is present in most laptops these days.. Basically, it allows the Intel integrated graphics to do the work outside of graphically intensive tasks like gaming, allowing the battery to last longer as the Intel integrated graphics are less powerful.. When you open up a game, though its smart enough to start using the discrete Nvidia graphics. In order to do this, the Nvidia graphics renders the game. However, the result still needs to go via the Intel graphics, as thats whats, sending the signal out to the display and its this, which in turn creates an overhead and can reduce gaming performance. Its an extra step in the process. Nvidias G Sync is an adaptive sync technology, which essentially removes screen tearing resulting in a smoother gaming experience.. In order to do this, though, the laptops display needs to be connected directly to the Nvidia graphics.. This is why you lose the benefits of Optimus, with G Sync enabled with G Sync enabled the more powerful Nvidia graphics will be in use the whole time, even when youre, not gaming, resulting in worse battery life. Many laptops these days, like the ASUS Zephyrus GX701. I recently tested give you the option of swapping between the two.. Changing requires a system reboot though so it can be inconvenient to switch, but at least you have the option if you want it.
Just for reference heres. What were looking at in terms of battery life, with the GX701, with and without G Sync disabled. In gaming, theres no difference, however, outside of gaming and just watching YouTube, were getting much longer battery life in Optimus mode as its more power efficient. While testing the GX701. I was getting substantially better frame rates with G Sync enabled. Ill also note that some laptops dont have either Optimus or G Sync, but still have the display connected directly to the Nvidia graphics. In theory, these should perform better in games. Too. G Sync isnt a requirement. Its just that G Sync requires the direct connection between GPU and screen. Lets. Look at some resource usage examples to get an understanding of whats happening. Heres. What it looks like while playing Watch Dogs 2 with Optimus enabled we can see. The CPU is maxed out at 100 in this game, while the 2080 Max Q graphics are around 50.. The Intel integrated graphics are around 25 because the Nvidia graphics are passing the output through here to display on the screen, essentially adding extra overhead., Now heres the same test, but with G Sync enabled.. We can see that the utilization of the 2080 Max Q graphics is a fair bit higher now closer to the 80 range as its not being bottlenecked by the Intel. Graphics. Lets take a look at how much of a difference this makes to performance. Ive tested 15 games with the same Nvidia drivers, game and Windows updates.
Installed.. The only differences are that G Sync has been enabled or disabled. Lets start with Watch Dogs 2. Given its the game I was tested with. Earlier. Ive got the frame rates with G Sync enabled in the top bar with the Optimus results on the bottom.. We can see straight away. There is a fair improvement in this game, with G Sync enabled over 20 higher average FPS. Overwatch was tested in the practice range as it allows me to perform exactly the same test run each time. Again. There was clearly an improvement with G Sync enabled, which was averaging 15 higher average FPS when compared to Optimus.. Perhaps more importantly, is the massive 42 boost to 1 low with G Sync.. The Witcher 3 is our first example that shows some games. Dont really seem to change were getting basically the same results here, regardless of having G Sync enabled or using Optimus with just a small 1.1 boost to average FPS with G Sync enabled.. Metro Exodus is another such game and was tested with the built in benchmark were only seeing within one to two percent improvements to average FPS with G Sync enabled, regardless of whether or not we have ray tracing enabled., The RTX results are in red, while the purple Result shows the extreme setting preset. Battlefield 5 saw a small 1.3 improvement with RTX off in the purple bar with G Sync enabled, though the 1 low was actually a little lower.
With RTX on in the red bar. It was actually performing better with Optimus enabled so Im guessing. This may be something specifically related to RTX, as this was the only result to see worse performance with G Sync enabled. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark and G Sync was giving a 9.5 higher average frame rate in this test compared To using Optimus. Shadow of War was also tested with the built in benchmark and was another where the difference was much smaller, with just a 2 boost to average FPS with G Sync enabled. Assassins. Creed Odyssey was also tested with the built in benchmark, and this game saw one of the largest results out of all games. Tested.. There was a 25 improvement to average frame rate in this test. Once G Sync was enabled. Rainbow. Six Siege also saw a big boost with G Sync enabled averaging 23 higher average FPS in the built in benchmark at ultra settings.. I tested PUBG with the replay feature at ultra settings, so the exact same replay was used and there was a 17 boost to average FPS with G Sync enabled in this game. Ghost Recon was tested with the built in benchmark and there was still a fair improvement Of 7 to average FPS here with G Sync enabled and a larger 20 improvement to 1 low performance. CSGO was tested with the ulletical FPS benchmark, and this game saw an insane improvement with G Sync enabled with 85 higher average FPS.
Dota 2 was tested playing in The middle lane, with an average amount of action going on, and this test also saw a big improvement with G Sync enabled with ' higher average FPS when compared to the Optimus result., Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark, and there was a Nice 13 boost to average FPS with G Sync enabled. Far Cry 5 was also tested with the built in benchmark and a little smaller 7 improvement to average FPS in this test, with G Sync in use. In terms of overall improvement over all 17 game comparisons. With a 1080p resolution at max settings, on average, there was a 15.3 higher average frame rate with G Sync enabled compared to using Optimus., As we can see it very much so depends on the game. Csgo was seeing an insane boost with G Sync enabled, while I actually saw worse performance in Battlefield 5 with RTX off.. Despite these outliers, there was a clear performance improvement in most games with G Sync enabled. Thats great. But what can you do if your laptop doesnt have G Sync, As most laptops, also have display outputs such as HDMI or mini DisplayPort, wired to the Nvidia graphics, rather than the Intel graphics? You can also improve performance simply by plugging in an external monitor.. The laptops display will be going through the Intel graphics if its using Nvidia Optimus and will therefore, by subject to the additional overhead.
However, connecting an external monitor, bypasses this process, as the Nvidia graphics can now output the signal directly to the external screen.. Some laptops may have the outputs connected to the Intel graphics. It varies by machine. Ive tested an external monitor compared to the laptops screen with the Dell G5 in three games., Its got: RTX, 2060 graphics and no option of G Sync. So all games run with Nvidia Optimus by default, with the laptop screen so lets compare with and without an external monitor.. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ive tested again with the built in benchmark and with the external monitor at maximum settings, there was a fairly decent 11 improvement to average FPS. Assassins. Creed Odyssey was also tested with the built in benchmark at maximum settings where there was again an 11 boost to average FPS with the external monitor plugged in.. Finally, Ive just tested The Witcher 3 and if you recall from the G Sync test earlier, there was almost no difference, and that seems to be the case here, just confirming that it varies by game.. This shows that we can improve performance to any laptop, using Nvidia Optimus so long as it has external display outputs that are hooked up to the Nvidia graphics. Some may be connected to the Intel, graphics and would be useless for gaming. It depends on the laptop. Granted, most people probably wont be plugging in a monitor to the laptop. The whole point is portability, but if youre docked at the office or at home and have space for a larger monitor, youve got the option of boosting performance a little.
. The principle is the same as enabling G Sync in the GX701, using an external monitor, ensures that we dont get performance overhead from the Intel graphics in the same way that using G Sync does and both methods can be used to improve game performance at the expense Of less battery life. G Sync does, of course, also give us the benefit of variable refresh rate removing screen tearing so if youre, primarily using your laptop while plugged into the power anyway, leaving G Sync enabled will result in both smoother game play. But as weve seen here, also increased levels of performance as a side effect of G Sync is requiring that direct connection between the GPU and display. Im, also not too sure how much the performance difference varies based on different graphics cards, as I dont currently have any Other G Sync laptops available, but Im thinking it would differ based on the GPU power, so different results should be expected. So which sort of laptop should you get? There are basically three choices. The most common is a laptop with Optimus. You get the key benefits of more battery life outside of gaming, but also the ability to use the Nvidia graphics. When you open up a game., This is honestly, probably the best option for most people best of both worlds.. There are also some laptops that dont have G Sync, but have the display connected directly to the Nvidia graphics.. These dont use the Intel graphics at all so burn through battery power faster.
However, in theory, they should perform better in games when compared with an optimus solution.. These may have G Sync, it depends on the laptop, but you can have the direct connection without G Sync, its just that G Sync requires this to function.. The third option would be laptops that allow you to swap between G Sync and Optimus, with a reboot like the GX701 granted. A reboot is a bit of a pain if you swap regularly, but it does give you the choice which mode you run the machine in.. Let me know which option youd pick down in the comments and, if youre after more information on the details of Optimus, you can find a link to Nvidias white paper linked in the description and, as always, dont forget to subscribe for future tech.