Nvidia has quietly downgraded HDR requirements for its top G-Sync Ultimate specification. Twitter user PCMonitors spotted a subtle recent change in the text on Nvidia’s website which effectively downgrades the requirements for the top G-Sync Ultimate definition from VESA DisplayHDR 1000 to merely ‘lifelike HDR’.
It’s the latest tweak to a broader G-Sync platform that has become a little messy, complicated and possibly a bit broken, at least in terms of how it is marketed.
Previously, the most advanced G-Sync Ultimate specification required VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification with ‘over’ 1000 nits of brightness performance. That can be confirmed using the Wayback Machine website, which logs historical versions of many web pages.
However, the current definition of G-Sync Ultimate on Nvidia’s website mentions only an entirely unspecific requirement for ‘lifelike HDR’. The question then follows – what really separates a top-tier G-Sync Ultimate monitor for the middle tier plain-old G-Sync monitor?
Look at the difference between this page (https://t.co/xbQ0rQDuQn) now vs. all the way back in… November 2020. Subtle removal of reference to ‘Best HDR 1000 nits’ and changed to ‘Lifelife HDR’ – without telling anybody. pic.twitter.com/mayHvebhfQJanuary 17, 2021
Unfortunately, Nvidia’s own marketing material is thoroughly ambiguous. It stipulates that the Ultimate tier requires the ‘top NVIDIA G-SYNC processors’ referring to the G-Sync modules or boards that used to be required for all G-Sync monitors. Meanwhile, the bottom G-Sync Compatible tier is denoted as not using Nvidia processors. But there’s no mention of modules one way or the other for the middle ‘G-Sync’ tier.
We’re hoping for clarification from Nvidia on the subject, but for now our hunch is that only the top Ultimate tier has a hard requirement for the G-Sync module. Consequently, the earlier HDR 1000 requirement meant an otherwise expensive and highly-specified monitor including the module but not supporting HDR 1000 wouldn’t qualify for the G-Sync Ultimate tag, leaving such a screen struggling to differentiate itself from other middle-tier G-Sync panels that lack the module.
One such monitor is the Alienware 38 Curved AW3821DW gaming monitor, which is rated to 600 nits and comes with the G-Sync Ultimate tag—something not previously possible with the initial Ultimate specification.
Whatever, the G-Sync definitions are certainly both in flux and lacking in clarity. Arguably, rolling HDR into G-Sync is proving to be something of a misstep.
Nvidia may have decided to wind back on the HDR requirement, enabling G-Sync Ultimate the creation of monitors with the module but not HDR 1000, the latter being a pretty onerous requirement if what you mainly want to do is offer the best refresh and frame syncing performance.
We’ve reached out to Nvidia for clarification, so watch this space.