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I'm always looking for ways to improve the smoothness of my games. When I read around the net I come across the term "vsynched" quite often. What does vsynched mean?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

It just means that the game matches the refresh rate of the monitor/screen. So if you have a 60Hz monitor (meaning the monitor image is refreshed 60 times a second), the game won't perform above 60 FPS.

If you have vertical synchronisation (vsync) turned off, then if the GPU and monitor go out of sync, then you get an artifact commonly known as "tearing" like so:

enter image description here

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Just to expand. When your application is 'vsync'd it means, your graphics card will not update/swap buffers while the current buffer is in the middle of being drawn. Your application's FPS will be limited to the refresh rate of the monitor because the application will wait until the end of the current frame before it will send the next frame. – JRT Feb 18 '11 at 23:48
+1 I thought I knew what vsync meant before I read your your explanation about it. Thanks for the great level of details and this visual representation that comes with the explanations. An image is worth a thousand words! =) – Will Marcouiller Feb 19 '11 at 2:32

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