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Turning On VSync and Triple Buffering If Your Game Tears

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/3/2009

It’s best to leave VSync and triple buffering off for the highest possible frame rate. But if that causes tearing, you can turn them on just for games where this happens. We show you how to do this for NVidia and ATI cards.

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    If you find you have a game that tears when you play, Lord of the Rings Online did like mad on my system, you should set VSync and triple buffering to be on when you run that game.

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    VSync Configuration with an Nvidia Card

    VSync On for Certain Games As explained in the previous article, open the Nvidia Control Panel. Select Manage 3D Settings on the left. Now, click the Program Settings tab above the window on the right. Now you have a drop box to select a game, and a window full of settings. You can use the ‘Show only programs found on this computer’ button, but I found that very few of my installed apps had gone to the trouble of telling the Control Panel they were there.

    Using either the reduced list or scrolling through the full one, find the game that has been tearing. If it doesn’t show up even in the full list, you can click the Add button. Then you can browse for a game’s executable file. It will be in Program Files -> devolperName (in LOTRO’s case, Turbine) -> gameName (Lord of the Rings).

    Now, you will need to poke around and find the main .exe file that runs the game. This can be tricky with MMOs and other online games, as there you often start these by running a launcher, which hooks up to the server and launches the game client. You want the client, not the launcher. Unless you find that the launcher is tearing, which would be surprising.

    Whether you found or had to add the game, choose it in the drop down list. In the window beneath it, scroll to the bottom. Choose Force On in Vertical Sync if you are running in XP or the game won’t let you choose this from in-game, choose ‘Use the 3D application setting’ and turn on triple buffering.

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    VSynch and ATI

    The Catalyst Control panel should be able to handle turning VSync and triple buffering on and off. The process is almost identical to the steps listed above for the Nvidia Control Panel. If you can’t find the necessary options, you can download Rivatuner.

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    D3D Overrider

    VSync with D3D Overrider The Rivatuner download includes the Direct3D Overrider. This tool is specifically designed to let you control your VSync and triple buffer settings on a per application basis, irrespective of your make of graphics card.

    Unzip the down load and run the setup file. The folder you install to and Start Menu will have a Rivatuner heading with several programs. Open D3D Overrider.

    Set Start with Windows to On. That starts Overrider, not VSync, at boot up. Look for the tearful game and click it. If you can’t find it in the list, click on the big plus sign (bottom left) and browse for the executable, same as we did above with the Nvidia Control Panel. Once you have chosen the correct game, turn on VSync and triple buffering with the buttons at right.

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    Look Mom! No More (Screen) Tears!

    Boot up the game. If you are using Overrider and left the sound notifications on, you should hear the normal Windows ‘something worked’ noise. And, with any luck, VSync will have solved the tearing, and triple buffering will keep your frame rate from getting cut in half.

    If you hear the ‘something didn’t work noise’ or find that your game is still tearing, the game may just not play nicely with VSync. If it doesn’t tear but your frame rate takes a huge hit, the game may not like triple buffering. You’ll have to look at the particular game’s support forums.

    In the large majority of cases, though, you should be ready to roll with the best of both worlds. VSynch and triple buffering when you need it to fix tearing, and no wasting memory on it for games that don’t. Automatically, in the background.

    Your probably keen to enjoy some tear free gaming, but when you get a minute later, you might want find out more about how computer graphics work.

VSync: On or Off? – Yes; Set It on a Per Game Basis

VSync can be good or bad, depending on your monitor’s refresh rate, the game you’re playing, and how fast your computer can run it. Luckily, it’s easy to set it up to run automatically when playing games where it helps.
  1. Terrible Performance Tips – Keep VSync Off
  2. So Turn VSync On or Off?
  3. Setup VSync and Triple Buffering for No Tearing and Best Frame Rate
  4. Turning On VSync and Triple Buffering If Your Game Tears