What is Screen Tearing and How do you Fix it?

Fix Screen Tearing

Not only gamers, but everyone who works with graphics is annoyed by screen tearing.  And if you are a professional, there is no chance you can compromise on the poor graphics, motion and the image quality on screen. Facing glitch on a monitor is a pretty common thing that is no surprise if you work professionally or use the PC at its peak performance.

But if you don’t know the core reason of why these glitches are finding a way to your screen, talking about its fix is pretty much a waste of time. However, if you are unaware of screen tearing at all, it is practically impossible that you can fix the error.

Most of the time, the solution lies in minor resolution changes or even the replacement of the monitor screen if it’s too old to compete with the standards. However, oftentimes, you need to find the core solution beyond such tricks. Luckily you have landed on this page and today we are exclusively talking about the total insight of screen tearing.  Let’s find everything about it!

What is Screen Tearing: Explained

If you have seen the distorted screen images with the split touch with the second images that are exactly what is known as screen tearing! It happens when there is motion. Screen tearing is a visual artifact to the display monitor when you get to see two frames malfunctioning while a video is playing such as a competitive-game.  The frames acting upon a singular image can be either two or multiple. It happens because the video feed of the device (monitor) i.e. the GPU is not in sync with the refresh rate of the display screen. It is more common in display screens and monitors that have high refresh rates starting from 60 Hz.

Screen Tearing In Games

screen-tearing-in-games

Usually, screen tearing is a concern for gamers due to fast paced media moving while making sure the GPU and frame rate are in accordance. If the game frame rate and the display refresh rates are either too much or too low, it causes screen tearing or games. For games, the screen tearing brings in the input issues.

For competitive and fast-paced games High frame per second (FPS) is a definitive requirement, but it is already set to a certain limit, your game will face the bad display with merged frames.

What causes screen tearing?

Certainly, before diving right into the solution of a problem, it always makes sense to find out the “cause” of it! Like mentioned about the unmatchable synchronization of GPU and monitor frame rate promotes screen tearing there is another thing that lets that happen. If your monitor has been set on an incorrect resolution setting it is likely to cause the screen to tear more often. As a rule of thumb, the graphics card has the efficiency to execute the images at a specific resolution configuration. Hence, if you mismatch this configuration while selecting the resolution, screen tearing is bound to happen.

When you realize what screen tearing is, it becomes easy to understand whether you are facing the problem from the display monitor or it’s some other issue that causes the screen to behave in such an odd manner.

The GPU of your computer system is responsible for rendering the frame rate for all the moving media such games, movies, videos and others. The disorder in the frame rate with GPU refresh rate results in screen tearing. In simpler words if the processing unit is generating more frames which are beyond the reach of your monitor, it will output as an overlap of two images within a single frame. As a result, you see a torn screen.

So why does it happen?

If the graphics processing unit is facing a heavy workload which is not what it’s meant for you know what happens, screen tearing. If you play AAA games or maybe working on a highly professional video editing tasks it demands a reasonable load from GPU and if it is not liable to deliver the smoothness in performance you will face sear tearing.

How Do I Fix Screen Tearing

The good news is no matter how intense screen tearing issues you are facing right now, it is something that you can readily fix. Besides, with the innovation in display screens and its performance now you have the privilege to receive the best visual quality that was practically impossible a few years back.

So with enough insights about what screen tearing is and why it happens, you might be wondering about its solution. If you are not a hardware expert, there is good news for you. Screen tearing apparently has nothing to do with the hardware as long as you have the right specification of GPU and display.

NVIDIA Adaptive V-Sync (Vertical Synchronization)

Adaptive Vsync technology is the one’s best solution that is innovative, latest and comes with a recommended approach. However it’s only helpful if you are using the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 graphics card or newer you have the option to use adaptive Vsync. With this technology, the Vsync is enabled till the FPS reaches to equal or higher than the refresh rate of your display. And if the FPS drops below refresh rate the Adaptive VSync will turn off!

NVIDIA G-SYNC & AMD FreeSync

Screen tearing and Nvidia G-SYNC/AMD FreeSync go side by side (for solution). If you have a NVIDIA card, you will need G-Sync whereas for FreeSync it is supported by both AMD and NVIDIA!

If your game FPS goes below 40, screen tearing will be there since G-Sync doesn’t support that fps. And if it goes beyond 144ps the same will happen. So keep V-Sync turned on if you have a G-Sync compatible monitor. Both NVIDIA’s G-SYNC and AMD’s FreeSync technologies have one agenda i.e. to change the refresh rate dynamically that matches the frame rate of the GPU.

Set the Screen Resolution and Refresh Rate

As mentioned above, resolution settings may affect screen tearing for obvious reasons. To make the resolution of your monitor synchronized with the GPU, right click on the desktop and go to the “display settings‘ ‘ option. For windows 10 you can find the “change resolution” setting from the search bar as well.

After you go to the display settings find the option that says “advanced display settings”. From here you can easily find the detailed information about the current primary display followed by the option to change the refresh rate. For playing games, keep the refresh rate at the maximum value that the LCD comes with.If you want to check the advanced settings of the display, clicking on the “display adapter properties would let you see that. A Window will pop open and you see the option stating as “list all modes”. So it gives you the option to check more refresh rate pairs, color modes, resolution that can be possibly achieved!

Toggle the NVIDIA G-Sync

Another thing that helps in keeping off the screen tearing, trailing, ghosting glitches is turning either on or off the G-sync feature. Not to mention what is this NVidia g-sync technology if you are a gamer and facing screen split issues in the first place. For turning on/off the G-sync feature:

  • Right click on the desktop and go to the “Nvidia control panel” for graphics driver setting management.
  • After that look for the feature “Set up G-sync” option, a Window will open and from here select the “Set up G-sync” option. a Window will open and from here select the “Set up G-sync” option.
  • Now “check” the box that says “Enable for full-screen mode”. This is only for if you play games in full-screen.
  • Apply the setting and save changes. Make sure to restart the PC so that the system configures it.

Initialize the graphics drivers

Graphics drivers, as the name says, are the ones who deal with graphics bracken running with smooth performance. These drives need to be updated to fight against screen tearing or ghosting. For its update:

  • Open the device manager and look for the option that says display adapters.
  • Now right click on the driver and select the uninstall option and follow the screen instructions. Wait for a while as it asks. Your display will turn on and off, but don’t worry it’s a part of the process.
  • Now restart the computer and download the drivers from official sources.

Disable Xbox Game Bar

Xbox-Game-Bar-1536x864

If you are still facing screen tearing, disable the Xbox game bar. In window 10 the game mode comes as a default feature. Since it puts too much load on the GPU you are likely to face screen tearing. For disabling the Xbox game mode:

  • Press Windows + I to open Windows settings. You can do that manually and opt for “Gaming”. Look for the Xbox feature if you have problems identifying the option!
  • Now click at the “Xbox game bar” located at the left-hand menu.
  • From here you can simply disable the Xbox game bar through the toggle option. Also uncheck the checkbox to keep off opening the game bar while you use the controller.

Reverse the Power Plan

This solution is especially dedicated for laptop users. For changing the power plan, the limited laptop power performance is an essential way to keep off the screen stuttering.

  • For changing power plan, open the run by pressing Window + R and type Powercfg.cpl and enter it.
  • Now look for the power settings, and click the “Show additional options”.
  • Select the “High performance” option and it will cut back all the power-related restrictions from CPU and GPU.
  • Now restart your computer and it will enable this power plan. Hopefully, now you won’t face screen tearing.

Disable smooth scrolling

Another quality parameter for keeping off screen tearing is to disable smooth scrolling features. It’s a performance-based feature in Windows 10 for fluid-like animation. It sets the output from graphics to produce more frames during scrolling. For smooth scrolling disabling:

  • Go to the adjust appearance window by typing it in the search bar of your window.
  • A window will pop open and feature visual performance-related options for your OS.
  • Uncheck the second last option “Smooth-scroll list boxes” pertain to smooth scrolling.
  • Restart the laptop/PC for smooth performance.

Note: Depending on your performance on pc, you can also try disabling various other features from the list. It will boost the operating system speed.

Conclusion

Hopefully, with this thorough guide about screen tearing you have got many common misconceptions cleared. Besides, with added solutions to tackle the screen tearing issues in games and otter playing media, you have now the option to expertly handle your concern without leaning onto the PC master. With little effort and know-how, things get understandable and this page tries to give you the insights!


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Jennifer Scott
By Jennifer Scott

I am a PC gamer and a geek. I have always been interested in computers and loved to take them apart and put them back together. I studied computer hardware engineering at MIT and now work as a computer engineer. I am the chief editor at PCGEARGUNT, where I unbox and review all the latest gadgets. My goal is to help people make informed decisions about the products they buy.



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