What is AMD Freesync and FreeSync 2 HDR?

What is FreeSync? Is it Better than G-Sync? PC gamers often deal with screen tearing. In the quest for quick response rate in demanding games, it continues to be a huge annoyance.

AMD and Nvidia both have solutions for screen tearing. AMD calls it FreeSync while Nvidia calls it G-Sync. In short, the two technologies aim to achieve the same thing but are different and not compatible with each other. In today’s post, we’ll look at AMD’s FreeSync technology.

How FreeSync Works

FreeSync is an adaptive sync technology used with PC monitors, gaming laptops, and TVs that support dynamic refresh rate. They aim at reducing stutter and tearing when the frame rates of the content are misaligned.

Modern graphics cards have higher capabilities of pushing images to your monitor at superfast speeds. But with monitors set at a 60Hz refresh rate, your monitor cannot keep up with the graphics card. It results in a situation where the monitor shows parts of the frames as they are delivered. Thus, screen tearing.

This situation is more apparent when playing fast-paced FPS and RTS titles. You will be looking at images that want to walk off the screen because of too much tearing. This can render some games unplayable. That is where adaptive refresh technology comes into play.

FreeSync synchronizes the frame rate of the GPU with that of the monitor’s refresh rate. This feature helps your AMD graphics card’s frame rate, match to that of your display’s refresh rate. It allows you to enjoy high refresh rates up to 240Hz as it’s the maximum supported by AMD graphics cards.

AMD FreeSync is based on VESA’s Adaptive Sync Protocol. It is a traditional solution to screen tearing but it introduces input lag. This is because it works by holding the next frame that would cause screen tearing. The delay introduces input lag. But with FreeSync, adaptive refresh eliminates the delay such that frames are delivered smoothly one after the other.

When will FreeSync Work

You have to be absolutely careful when buying a FreeSync monitor. This is because FreeSync requires that displays should be within the dynamic refresh rate range of AMD FreeSync. If not, you will experience input lag and screen tearing. That is; if your graphics card cannot deliver consistent refresh rates you will have performance issues.

For monitors with a max 75Hz refresh rate, the dynamic refresh rate range should be within 40-75Hz or 48-75Hz. Monitors support their different refresh rate range. You have to know the range of the monitor you are buying by looking them up on AMD’s compatibility website.

Because of these standards, you have to keep an eye on features like Low Framerate Compensation. This feature, also by AMD, improves performance of FreeSync monitors when refresh rates drop below the minimum threshold.

For example, if FPS drops to 30FPS an LFC monitor can duplicate the display’s refresh rate to 60Hz. It is not something you have to give too much thought because monitors with a 2:1 variable refresh rate range automatically support LFC.

FreeSync Requirements and Advantages 

FreeSync requires an AMD Radeon graphics card with a DisplayPort Connection. It also needs a FreeSync compatible software graphics driver.

Some of the compatible monitors include Asus VG245H, ROG Strix XG27VQ, and ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C. All these monitors have between 100-144Hz refresh rates.

FreeSync is also compatible with gaming consoles including Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X. Not to mentions some TVs like LG OLED55B8 and TCL 55R617 which are great for gaming.

An advantage of investing in a FreeSync monitor is affordability. You can find compatible monitors for as low as $150. Gamers on a tight budget can enjoy gaming on a stutter-free monitor thanks to AMD FreeSync.

Connectivity is another advantage with FreeSync. It does not only support a DisplayPort connection but also an HDMI connection on some monitors. You still need to look at your monitor’s display connectivity when buying a FreeSync monitor for HDMI connectivity.

What is FreeSync 2 HDR?


The second generation of FreeSync is known as FreeSync 2 HDR. While both FreeSync and FreeSync 2 reduce stuttering, the latter allows you to use the technology with HDR content. FreeSync 2 works only with an HDR monitor. It will also automatically enable LFC to fight stuttering and low input lag.

Briefly: FreeSync vs. G-Sync

 G-Sync is Nvidia’s adaptive refresh technology. A chip has to be included in the construction of an Nvidia G-Sync monitor. It is unlike FreeSync which uses the video card to allow adaptive refresh functionality. Another difference is that G-Sync only supports adaptive refresh over DisplayPort Only. 

FreeSync has flexible requirements. It is based on the VESA Adaptive Sync Standard. This standard is part of DisplayPort 1.2a. Monitor makers can easily use off-the-shelf display scalers since AMD does not require licensing costs or royalties.

On the other hand, G-Sync requires that monitor makers should use proprietary Nvidia hardware. Nvidia is so strict about this module that they have put in place quality control standards. It is no wonder why G-Sync monitors are more expensive than FreeSync monitors.

Finally, with a G-Sync monitor, you can use variable refresh rate and response time overdrive simultaneously. Variable overdrive is limited to default response time with FreeSync.

Conclusion

FreeSync is a dependable adaptive refresh technology. In real-world situations, you will notice it is of impeccable quality though it is cheaper than Nvidia G-Sync. You will need a FreeSync compatible monitor to enjoy the technology. Since gaming monitors offer either FreeSync or G-sync you have to choose between the two from the very start. This is because the two are not compatible.

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