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  • David Phillips
    Editor And Chief
    David Phillips is a long-time contributor to print and electronic publications in the U.S. and abroad, including Racer, Autosport, AutoWeek, Motor Sport and SPEEDtv.com, oversees the daily updating of news stories and assigns, edits and contributes feature material for inRacingNews.com.
  • David Judson
    Contributor

    29 years old, Dave Judson lives in Mentor, Ohio. Dave has grown up with racing, watching his father win races and championships at the local go-kart track as a youngster and continuing his love of racing while watching NASCAR, Indycar, Formula 1 and sports cars.
    Judson has enjoyed a successful sim-racing career of his own in the IZOD Indycar iRacing Open and Fixed Setup Series. He has race wins to his credits as well as the Division 1 Championship of the Open Series in Season 1 of 2013 and the Overall Championship of the Fixed Series in Season 3 of 2013.
    Dave has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University and is looking to expand his horizons by writing for inRacingNews.

  • Matt A Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Kingsbury lives in Fairfield, Connecticut where he currently attends Sacred Heart University. He is a fan of any form of racing, from NASCAR to IndyCar, Formula 1, and especially endurance racing. The summer of 2013 saw Kingsbury attend IndyCar's return to Pocono Raceway as well as the ARCA race at Pocono which Corey Lajoie won and got some pictures (including the accompanying mug shot) in Victory Lane thanks to his aunt!

  • Raymond Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Ray Kingsbury is a motorsport enthusiast and full-time university student, born and raised in Connecticut. He started his own racing career in BMX, riding bicycles competitively on the state level. In eight years he claimed the state championship and was ranked nationally before moving away from the sport. This void of activities led him to rediscover sim-racing in the form of NASCAR Heat. After a championship in the game's most competitive league Kingsbury started focusing full-time on his involvement in Live for Speed. There he founded Last Lap Motorsports which today has more than 20 members worldwide.

    When a few Last Lap Motorsports members decided to give iRacing.com a chance to feed their desire for more oval racing, Ray teamed with his brother Matt, Nathan Lamothe and newcomer Jimmie Jones to enter the ETV! Live Team Series and claimed the title after a dominating performance at Watkins Glen. To this day the team continues in both Live for Speed and iRacing.com and Ray still takes much delight in his own sim-racing career. A reporter for his high school newspaper before moving to university, Kingsbury keeps-up his writing activities by contributing to iRacing News.

  • Jeff Jacobs
    Contributor

    Jeff Jacobs started autocrossing with the SCCA in 1990 while a student at the University of Florida. He has competed in the SCCA's National Tour and ProSolo series since 1995, winning a ProSolo National Championship in H-Stock in 2011 driving a 2010 MINI Cooper. Jeff completed his SCCA Club Racing drivers' school in 2012 at Roebling Road in a Spec Miata. He currently writes a column for the SCCA's Northeast Division in SportsCar Magazine and is the Region Executive of the Philadelphia Region SCCA.

    Jeff joined iRacing in October 2012. After starting with the MX-5 and SRF cars, he has been concentrating on the Ford Mustang FR500S, competing in the iRacing.com Mustang Cup series and the Continental Endurance Sports Car Series.

  • Jordan Hightower
    Contributor

    Jordan began sim-racing in 2005 with the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season sim and then joined the iRacing community in June of 2008. He hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas where he is currently enrolled at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, after which he plans to attend the University of Arkansas to earn his MBA. Although he enjoys watching and playing basketball, most of Jordan's focus is on motorsports, particularly NASCAR: "Anything that burns gas and goes fast, I like."

  • Scott Kelly
    Contributor

    Born and raised in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, Scott Kelly has had a love for motorsports ever since his father did the right thing by introducing auto racing into his life. No longer able to quench his need for speed by spectating NASCAR races on TV and watching dirt track stars slide around local tracks, Kelly eventually picked-up sim racing in his teens, wheeling cars found in Ratbag Games' "Dirt Track Racing" and "World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars" while also becoming introduced into multiple Papyrus sim-racing series. Joining the iRacing ranks in late 2011, Kelly set his sights on the short track racing he was familiar with, focusing on the sprint car, while also driving the Legends and street stock in multiple iRacing.com leagues.

    Kelly brings not just his enthusiasm for racing to the highest-rated motorsports simulation, but also his B.A. degree in English; he covers the action seen in the iRacing.com Sprint Car Series, while also placing the spotlight on various leagues within the service. Enjoying his start to a career in motorsports journalism, Kelly also doesn't mind visiting victory lane from time-to-time.

  • George Wood
    Contributing Writer
    After beginning his racing career with go-karts at age seven, George then turned wrenches on street stocks until he could finally turn the wheel. Following the successes of his friends and family, George has since retired from real-world racing, where he is now a science and mathematics faculty member for several local community colleges. When George isn't grading laboratory reports or iRacing, he is performing at bluegrass festivals in the Northeast, making fishing lures, playing golf, and rooting for his beloved Baltimore Orioles.
  • Chris Hall
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Chris Hall has been writing since the nineties and moved into motorsports reporting in 2005, covering series such as ALMS, British GT, FIA GT, Le Mans and 2CV racing for Full Throttle magazine, Motorsport.com, The-Paddock.net, GTGateway.com, L' Endurance and, of course, inRacingNews. During 2008 and 2009, he worked with the RSS Performance Porsche Carrera Cup Team (and former British GT(C) champions) as a data engineer for a variety of drivers and models of 997s.
  • Jason Lofing
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Jason is 21 years old and was born and raised in Elk Grove. California. A big time NASCAR fan, he hasn’t missed a race on Sunday in years. Lofing is also a huge San Fransisco Giants fan and tries to take in at least a couple games a year. Other than sim racing, his biggest (and far more expensive!) hobby is photography. Although he is rather new to sim racing, Lofing has already accomplished some pretty impressive results, qualifying for the 2011 iRacing Oval Pro Series in Season 1, 2011, winning the inaugural Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge and finishing runner-up in the second one.
  • Dylan Sharman
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in Adelaide and we moved-out for Angle Vale for a few years until I was about 7 years old, when we moved to the Barossa Valley where I live now. I'm 19 years old and currently traveling back and forth weekly as I'm studying for a Diploma of Furniture Design and Technology.

    I've always had a love for racing as my close family did some racing and we were always out at the local dirt track. I joined iRacing back in 2010 and slowly but surely got the hang of it as this is my first experience with sim racing and am loving it each time I race. I've won two SK Modified titles (almost had three in a row but finished P2 in 2011 S4), an iRacingNews Challenge championship (2012 S1 Mazda) and was also an AustralAsian Intel GT Series Finalist.
  • Katier Scott
    Contributing Writer
    I am a veteran sim racer who first started racing way back in 1993 on the SPRTSIMS section of Compuserve with a league who can trace themselves all the way to the present. Within that league I act as Chief Steward and try to bring the unique viewpoint that this experience gives me into my articles.
    I have a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Editorial design and have been writing for seven years and currently cover the Lotus 79 CTC and Radical series alongside my freelance work. Living in the UK, as well as motorsports I love Photography, Arts and Crafts and reading.
  • David Ifeguni
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 and moved to Midland, Michigan when I was two years old. I stayed there until third grade when I moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan and now I currently live in Naperville, IL where I'm attending Metea Valley High School as a 9th grader. In the past, I have participated in soccer and this year I plan on joining swimming or water polo. My family includes my 15 year old sister, a 7 year old sister and my mom and dad. I have been writing since 6th grade and have participated in many writing contests in my school and have received several awards for writing.
    My fascination for motorsports began when I was nine. The first NASCAR race I watched on TV was the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, won by Kasey Kahne. My favorite NASCAR drivers are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson. I have watched all the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series since 2010. I currently have three wins on iRacing, two of them in the Nationwide car at Daytona and one in the Street stocks at Charlotte. My favorite car and type of track on iRacing is the Nationwide Series (B Class) car and superspeedways.

V-Sunk

by Ray Bryden on November 15th, 2009

In the past, when I configured my video each time I upgraded my system, I made sure to check-off the box for V-Sync under the graphics options because the resulting effect on the sim was quite smooth and produced the best moving image quality with little or no stutters or “artifacts”.

So I have been quite happy with this and what I would describe as intermediate settings (no shadows) on an intermediate quality video card and CPU/motherboard. But although the graphics quality is more than sufficient for my needs I have plateaued in my driving skills, which I always blame on lack of available time to devote to practice and improvement.

My kingdom for an apex.

My kingdom for an apex.

But after reading a couple of recent forum threads related to graphics settings (specifically V-sync) and input lag, I was curious if it would have any affect on my system and my limited control skills. The V-sync is a graphics setting which locks the graphics card into a pace which matches the refresh rate of the monitor, so the resulting stream of images progresses in a controlled pattern and the result is a quite smooth transition from frame to frame, which is pleasing to the eye. When the graphics are not V-sync’ed you can allow the graphics card to run unlimited, allowing it to generate as many frames as it can (but which are only displayed at the rate of the monitor refresh, so several frames are drawn by the card but not displayed), or you can cap the graphics card at a certain frames per second (fps) rate, defaulted at 83. Often, the result of capped or unlimited settings is a variable number of dropped frames, leaving the rate of change of the view to vary from frame to frame apparent to the viewer. As a result the scene flows in a much less smooth sequence and is generally less pleasing to the eye. Some even report eyestrain problems when running with V-sync off.

I decided to run a quick test to determine if V-sync settings played any role in my driving performance. When V-sync was on I noticed a barely perceptible lag between the time of my inputs (turning the wheel or applying pedals) and the resulting change in the inputs displayed on the screen. I figured the latency time was observable but not significant enough to play a role in my driving experience. So I took out the new Corvette C6.R – a car I am pretty unfamiliar with – to a test at Watkins Glen (Boot) – a track I am pretty unfamiliar with – and could only manage to set a time just under the 107% of the world record after about 12 laps with quite a few spins. Then I turned off the V-sync and limited the card to 83 fps, and noticed the lack of smoothness of the flow, but was able to mostly ignore it.  I also noticed that the wheel appeared to have no noticeable lag between my inputs and the on-screen wheel response. I also found that my control was much better and though I was in hot-lap mode I made much fewer mistakes and got my personal best time down my almost a two and a half seconds (104.5% off the world record) on my eleventh lap. I repeated the test with V-sync on and spun quite a bit more and struggled to get within a second and a half of the V-sync off time after 12 laps. Scott Husted reported an almost identical experience in his tests with and without V-sync, and many others have confirmed the same thing.

I'm sensing a lack of grip.

I'm sensing a lack of grip.

This was quite an eye-opener for me.  I didn’t think the lag was that bad to begin with, but once it was reduced I noticed that I had much better control over the car and was able to catch potential spins with much more ease and confidence compared to when V-sync was enabled. I am going to follow-up with a more fair and extensive test to try to better characterize the latency and attempt to quantify how my graphics settings affect it and whether it plays a role in the validity of my past performance excuses.

But in the end it comes down to driver preference and some cannot bear to shut off the V-sync setting due to the loss of smoothness. Some will not have any change in the input latency with changes of this nature as it is very system-specific. However, at this point I highly recommend trying to drive without it enabled to see if it improves your sense of control, whether or not you can notice the input lag.

My only trouble is I have to find some new excuses for being so far off the pace, because it surely can’t be due to my skills. Ahem.

33 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Fabrizio Cuttin
    November 18th, 2009 at 2:28 am

    I’m really more comfortable with vsync tuned on, but I will try more extensively turning it off: I’m curious about it.

  2. peeH
    November 21st, 2009 at 1:24 am

    They shouldn’t stop pooling the inputs and stop ticking the physics while the graphics engine wait for the v-sync. They need to better parallelise their game engine.

  3. W
    November 21st, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I think you made the wrong approach to this, you should have tested on a track you are VERY familiar with and a car you are VERY familiar with. Off-course you are likely to pickup time when you continue to make laps on a track as you become more and more familiar with it.

  4. mofle
    December 22nd, 2009 at 10:45 am

    So much of this i psychological – do a double-blind test if you actually want to do a relevant test :)

    That being said, iRacing does feel a lot different at 150fps vs. 60fps, vsynced or not – and racing games don’t really suffer from tearing in the way that e.g. shooters do.

  5. Alison Hine
    December 30th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I ran with Vsync on ever since getting into the beta in June 08 because with it turned off I was getting a bizarre texture squirming that made me dizzy. The top part of the screen would be from one frame, the bottom from an earlier frame, so the whole sense motion was distorted in a very unsettling way.

    Vsync cured this. I also set Frames Rendered Ahead in the nVidia Control Panel to 0 to eliminate display and controller lag.

    That was with an nVidia 8800GT. Over the winter I got a 9800GTX+ OC, but I kept Vsync on and just cranked up my graphics details. Ah, full shadows! Wonderful!

    But I wasn’t racing very much and when I was, I felt frustrated. In retrospect, I think this was because I never felt connected to the car; I was always reacting to things that had already happened instead of what was going on right now, and my inputs took a little time to get to the car’s physics.

    Then Todd Bettenhausen convinced me to turn off Vsync. Suddenly my experience with iRacing was transformed! I felt totally connected to the car. Its responses to my inputs were instant, precise. On road courses I immediately gained a couple of seconds in lap times.

    At first I was running with frame rate uncapped. Frame rate was mostly between 150 and 250 FPS. I read that this overworks the video card, so I capped the frame rate at the default 82 FPS. The immediacy went away; I felt disconnected again. So I removed the frame rate cap.

    At a few corners on some tracks (Road America, for example) the frame flow got choppy and/or the screen squirming came back, so I turned off shadows. It seems that as long as the frame rate is running above 150 or so, everything is quite smooth and there’s no squirming.

    I tried the steering wheel test: I turned on the on-screen wheel and got in the car. I turned my G25′s wheel back and forth rapidly. With Vsyc off, the wheel on the screen moves in perfect synchronization with the actual wheel.

    Then I turned on Vsync and restarted the sim. With Vsync on, there is a very, very noticeable delay. The on-screen wheel’s motion lags the real wheel by a significant amount.

    I suspect that the video card and driver have an impact on this. Perhaps some (ATI?) cards don’t exhibit the same behavior. Perhaps there are other settings in iRacing or in the video card control panel that will minimize the delay with Vsync turned on. (Todd tells me that now he is running with Vsync on, but he’s turned off AA and AF in iRacing and instead turned them on in the CP – and that this gives him very minimal lag.)

    But as far as I’m concerned, based on my own experience, zero lag trumps everything else. I need that instant response to my control inputs, and I need that instant feedback through the wheel and on the screen. I don’t care if I’m overworking my video card. If it cooks itself I’ll get a new one.

    No more V-sunk for me!

    Alison

  6. Ray Bryden
    December 30th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Alison,

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, that was exactly my experience too. I didn’t believe I had a lag problem until it was eliminated by turning off V-sync and I think that could have saved me from a lot of spins.

    I have a new 5850 card now, but before I install it I am going to tinker with settings and see if I can learn a little more about what has the greatest effect on lag.

  7. Szymon
    February 13th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I’ve discovered that although there is no possibility to set limit above 84 fps in game menu, you can actually set it manually in .\My Documents\iRacing\renderer.ini file:
    LimitFrameRate=1
    DesiredFPSLimit=169
    Those two lines should practically eliminate lag and make constant fps which is I believe better solution than just vsync off with variable framerate.
    169 fps is the max limit fps you can set, everything above will be cut down to 169, but you can set any frame rate below, maybe 150FPS which is 2,5x of standard LCD refresh rate would be better for you so I will be thankful for your feedback.

  8. Justin Weisel
    March 8th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve never used v-sync. Not for iRacing, and not for any games or other sims I play. For this exact reason. I just feel like I have more control over the situation and my response time is better.

  9. Luis Babboni
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Even with FPSs limited at 60, the “under water” sight I ahve cause the VSync in off is simply not tolerable to me :-(

    I have an AMD Athlon X2 with 2.9 each core and an ATI 4850 of 512MB

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    This post appears to recieve a large ammount of visitors. How do you advertise it? It offers a nice unique spin on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to give info on is the most important factor.

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    • Remco Hitman
      May 14th, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      The trick is to limit the framerate to a multiple of your monitor’s refreshrate.
      V-sync serverely increases input polling interval, which is what causes the lag. Running iRacing uncapped is the best way to combat input lag, but can introduce off-putting image faults when refreshrate and framerate are running very out of sync.
      I’m running a 200cm projector image myself and image tearing is a huge problem on such a large image. I used v-sync for years until a freind showed me just how much input lag is introduced! Intolerable!
      Make sure you install a framerate limit which is a multiple of the refreshrate, and verify that your system is able to maintain this rate most of the time.
      Most screens use 60Hz nowadays, so 120fps is a good place to start.
      Using 60fps would be about as bad as using v-sync! More is better in this case and, if you can, use 180fps. There is less of a chance that refresh and framerate are out of sync because at 180fps the frames last a lot shorter. I am using 180fps myself. It produces virtually no noticable tearing while, like Alison and Ray, I feel much more connected to the car.

      The best of both worlds!

      GLA, easy T1, antiwise rules etc etc…

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