While at BlizzCon, we took the time to check out the latest offerings from video card giant NVIDIA. And while a high-end graphics card can certainly improve the look and the framerate of WoW and other games, we were intrigued by a couple of new features NVIDIA was showing off: G-Sync and ShadowPlay.
G-Sync is a new way for your monitor and your video card to talk to one another -- and though they aren't on store shelves just yet, you can expect monitors from brands like Asus and Phillips to have G-Sync built-in by early 2014. What's so important that it would be worth buying a new monitor for? G-Sync addresses framrerate differences between your monitor -- which refreshes at a fixed rate -- and your video card -- which doesn't. When your video card tries to send data to your monitor more quickly -- or more slowly -- than your monitor wants, you'll see graphical stuttering or tearing. Monitors with G-Sync work with your graphics card to keep things in, well, sync for a perfect graphical experience -- whether you're running at ideal 60FPS or dropping down to 20FPS in a crowded auction house.
If you don't think your game needs a graphical boost, you may still be interested by ShadowPlay, a video capture tool that works alongside your video card to give you a lag-free recording experience. ShadowPlay is built into the latest version of NVIDIA's GeForce Experience software which helps optimize your game's settings to work as well as possible with your video card. ShadowPlay has two modes: a shadow mode that is constantly recording what you do (into a temporary file) so you can decide you want to save your exploits in video at any time and a manual mode that's more like traditional video recording. And, though it doesn't yet, ShadowPlay will support streaming via Twitch in a future release. Super easy and super fast? We like it.
Both G-Sync and ShadowPlay are already available on GeForce GTX 650 Ti cards or better -- so these may be features you're only waiting to take advantage of. We admit, these features may not make or break your purchasing decision -- but they're awfully nice extras on top of NVIDIA's already solid line of cards.