Problem With Screen Tearing

Feb 9, 2019
I use a laptop with a GT720M and an i5-4200M running Windows 10. It's a slow setup but im encountering a problem i didn't have before. I experience extreme screen tearing. I have to use V-Sync with every single game I play. I have no idea why it started and I'm sure the problem is not my monitor or gaming performance. For example, when I play Battlefield 3, 720p, low preset, it looks like it only displays 18 or 22 frames but when I turn on v sync, it's completely playable around 30 to 40. The obvious solution would be use V-Sync 24/7 but I have no idea why my potato got even worse. I would appreciate help. My driver is 391.24. That's the latest driver I can find that supports my fermi mobile gpu so driver update probably isn't a viable solution.
Laptops with hybrid Intel + Nvidia graphics (Optimus) typically run with the Intel GPU driving the screen all the time. The Nvidia GPU acts as a co-processor. When a game finishes drawing a frame, it's transferred from the Nvidia GPU to the Intel GPU, which displays it on the screen. Generally this arrangement only works when you use Optimus-specific drivers. It won't work if you install Nvidia-only or Intel-only drivers.

Yours is old enough that it might not be set up this way. So it's hard to guess how its hardware is set up. Normally an Optimus setup acts as if v-sync is on all the time. But I'd try downloading and installing the Intel and Nvidia drivers from your laptop's support site. They probably won't be the latest. But they should resolve the problem.

If I had to guess, I'd say you're actually running the game off the Intel GPU with v-sync off. And for some reason turning v-sync on gets Optimus working so the game runs on the Nvidia GPU, which accounts for the higher framerate. But that's a complete guess since I don't know your laptop's hardware is set up.