Getting Started with Shadow PC Gaming

Requirements and FAQs

Introduction with Shadow PC Gaming


Technical Assistance - General

Resolution & Image Quality

Software Setup

Connection & Network

Performance Issues


Known Issues for Shadow

Mice, Keyboards, and Other Peripherals

Error Messages

Sound & Microphones


Technical Assistance - Apps, Ghost, and Box

Getting Started with Shadow PC Enterprise

Getting Started with Shadow Drive

Account Management

Contact Support

Solve screen tearing or game stuttering on Shadow PC (V-Sync/G Sync/FreeSync)


Table of contents:

Some definitions...

What about Shadow?

What is screen tearing?

Screen tearing is an artifact*1 which occurs when several frames are overlapping on the screen, divided by some horizontal lines.

It happens when your GPU*2 is trying to display a number of FPS*3 desynchronized and/or non-multiple with your screen refresh rate: several fragments of images will then appear on the screen.

For example, let’s say you own a screen with a 60 Hz refresh rate, and you ask your GPU to display 75 FPS (which is not a multiple of your screen refresh rate, such as 30 or 60 FPS).
The screen will then ask 60 times per second a frame, and the GPU will send one 75 times per second.
This creates a delay between images requests and sendings and at a given moment, the screen will take a not finalized frame from the GPU, causing several images overlapping.

*1 Artifact: A visual irregularity on the screen.
*2 GPU: Graphic Processing Unit.
*3 FPS: Frames Per Second.

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is recognizable by the apparition of successive frozen images.
It also causes 
input lag*1, since the GPU isn’t sending the frame from your input*2 to your screen at the right time.
Like for tearing, it is caused by 
a desynchronization between the screen and the GPU.

Instead of showing two different frames successively, the screen will display twice frame A before moving on to frame B, or will not display one of them at all.

*1 Input lag: The lapse of time between the moment the GPU renders one’s input and the moment it actually appears on the screen.
*2 Input: An action (clicking on a mouse, pressing a key) translated into data to one device.

What are V-Sync / G-Sync / FreeSync technologies?

V-Sync, G-Sync and FreeSync are three technologies of synchronization between the screen and the GPU which were created in order to deal with screen tears and stuttering issues.

V-Sync, also called Vertical Sync, is the oldest of the three, and is especially found in video games settings. Triple buffering is sometimes available with V-sync to enhance the rendering.

G-Sync and FreeSync later arrived as alternatives and are owned respectively by Nvidia and AMD, two GPU manufacturers. The first one requires a software and an AMD GPU, and the second one a screen certified “G-Sync” or “G-Sync Compatible” and a Nvidia GPU.

For more information:

V-Sync is capping the number of frames produced by a GPU by the number of frames a screen can display.
It can reduce screen tearing when there is an increase of FPS, but it won’t deal with game stuttering and input lag in case of a decrease of FPS.
Indeed, V-Sync will then try to limit even more the frames rendered by the GPU by capping it on another multiple of the refresh rate of the screen by going from 60 FPS to 30 FPS for example.

The video memory*1 has a base of one back buffer and one front buffer. The GPU needs one back buffer to produce one frame. This one will be then forwarded to the front buffer to empty the back buffer and forward the frame to the screen.

With double buffering, there is a little delay between the moment a frame is forwarded from the back buffer to the front buffer, at each vertical retrace*2, and in the meantime the GPU cannot start to render a new frame.

With triple buffering, which adds a back buffer, the GPU can start decoding a new frame on the second back buffer while waiting for the screen to display the frame of the first back buffer.

This option available with V-Sync helps to limit game stuttering and input lag.

*1 Video memory : Stores the data that will be displayed, and is also called VRAM.

*2 Vertical retrace : When the image is refreshed.

After trying to enhance V-Sync with Adaptive-V-Sync and FastSync technologies, Nvidia eventually met success with their G-Sync technology.

Contrary to V-Sync, the refresh rate of the screen is aligned to the FPS generated by the GPU. The screen is then waiting for the frame to be ready instead of repeating or skipping one. As for the GPU, they still receive the FPS limit to display on the screen.

Thanks to this, G-Sync is not only dealing with screen tearing issues but game stuttering and input lag as well.

AMD also tried to enhance V-Sync, first with Enhanced Sync, then with FreeSync.

FreeSync is the commercial name from AMD to the VESA*1 standard, Adaptive-Sync.

Just like G-Sync, it synchronizes in real time the refresh rate of the screen to the FPS of the GPU. The frequency range where FreeSync is active is also limited.

Unlike G-Sync however, FreeSync also depends on the video converter chosen by the screen manufacturers, which can lead to a more uncertain result.

*1 VESA : Video Electronics Standards Association.

Can we use V-Sync / G-Sync / FreeSync technologies on Shadow?

Shadow possesses their own technology of synchronization between the screen and the GPU, directly in their software architecture.

It is integrated in every application, including the Virtual Reality application.

Consequently, we suggest you don’t use one of these technologies on Shadow, whether it is on your screen or via in-game settings.

Indeed, having simultaneously two different technologies could generate a conflict between them and produce a rendering of lesser good quality.

How to solve screen tearing or stuttering on Shadow?

If you come across screen tears or stuttering on Shadow, we recommend checking:

Then, make sure to use the refresh rate automatically suggested by Shadow. To do so:

Access the quick menu:

The Quick Menu is only available on the following applications:

Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, Android TV, iOS, and Apple TV.

To open the Quick Menu, log into the Shadow launcher, then Start Shadow.

Once Shadow starts, click the Shadow logo located at the top of the screen, or press the Quick Menu shortcut:

  • Windows: ALT + WIN + O

  • macOS: ALT + CMD + O

  • Linux: ALT + Super + O

Then, click on the “Display” category on the left, and enable the "Always match Shadow resolution with local display" setting.

On the Shadow Box and Ghost, Shadow will choose the correct refresh rate automatically.

Go in the Settings

Then click on “Refresh Rate” and choose one of the available options.

Right-click the Shadow desktop, then click on "NVIDIA Control Panel":

Click on “Restore Defaults” on the top right of the screen:

In games, let the game itself set the FPS displayed automatically.

Still have questions after reading this article?

Feel free to check out our other articles.

You can also contact Shadow support via our form.