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How does V-Sync affect refresh rate and frame rate?

Last Updated: Jul 01, 2015 08:21AM CDT
Vertical Sync
Vertical sync tethers the frame rate to the refresh rate of the monitor.  

Now for how they interact!
In normal operation, without Vertical Sync, the video card will produce as many frames as possible as quick as it can, and the monitor will run at its refresh rate.  What happens, though, is that there isn't always one frame per rendering on the screen.  If the computer is at 90 FPS while the monitor is at 60Hz, you are rendering 1.5 frames per monitor refresh.  This is what causes screen tearing, which is not a pleasant thing to look at.  To solve this, computers use Vertical Sync to match the FPS that the computer is outputting to the refresh rate of the screen.  So instead of 90 FPS, the computer is forced to run at 60 FPS to avoid screen tearing.

This is what makes high refresh rate monitors so good.  They allow you to run at high frame rates while also doing away with screen tearing.  This gives you the best quality and the best speed, which makes for the most fluid user experience.
 
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