AMD FreeSync enabled display monitors are now finally available and announced along with an announcement of the open source sync feature which hopes to prevent frame-tearing.
For those who don’t know, AMD and Nvidia have their own technology that is a significant 1up from the existing V-Sync feature. The difference is that Nvidia G-Sync is more of a proprietary technology, whereas AMD’s solution of the same problem is open source. AMD claims that it’s a cheaper/more affordable solution than G-Sync, however, the prices have its own way of frolicking around like a leprechaun especially in India.
But unlike Nvidia India, AMD India at least made an effort to give a proper announcement rather than making G-sync look like a footnote in a script hidden somewhere in one of its presentation slides. However, none of them showcased to show to give an initial impression of how effective it really is. Bummer!!
In any case, V-Sync has an issue where it causes an input lag and even stuttering when a GPU is not able to keep up with a panel’s refresh rate, depending on the game, in-game and driver settings & the resolution. V-Sync works by syncing the panel’s refresh rate and frame rates generated by the graphic card to solve frame tearing and input lag issues.
But unlike Nvidia G-Sync, this will be implemented as a native feature for upcoming DisplayPort standard 1.2a. As of now, AMD Radeon enables FreeSync, but Intel Broadwell will also have FreeSync enabled.
The “cheaper than G-Sync” panel argument is in a way justified by stating that it does not require any proprietary hardware, and there’s no licensing fees. While AMD isn’t charging anything from the manufacturers, there is no guarantee that panel makers won’t charge a premium for an added function from end-users.
But the best part is that it includes anything with a DP 1.2a as long as the video chip maker takes advantage of it. Assuming FreeSync is an adequate solution to effectively solve tearing issues without or less input lag compared to V-Sync, it doesn’t really look good for Nvidia since they have a proprietary hardware and manufacturers who pay a certain premium which is then reflects on the pricing.
FreeSync is currently supported by the currently available AMD Radeon R9 290, 290X and 295×2, followed by R9 28, R7 260X, R7 260 and AMD Kaveri APUs. AMD will be releasing Catalyst 15.3 drivers soon. As said before, Intel Broadwell will also be taking advantage of it.
There are few panels that will have FreeSync at the time of launch, and they’re from Acer, BenQ, ViewSonic, Samsung and LG. While most are showing off ultra wide 2K monitors, Samsung has announced a 4K 60Hz FreeSync enabled panel UE590 and UE850 series.
AMD was showing off that there’s lesser performance degrade compared to Nvidia G-Sync. While It all looks good in slides and in the press release, we didn’t see or get our hands on an AMD FreeSync enabled panel, and other than few slides and presentation. Therefore, it’s just not known how effective FreeSync really is, especially in comparison with Nvidia G-Sync in real time. However, AMD has an advantage with the open-source feature that works via DisplayPort 1.2a, and Intel adopting it starting from Broadwell series doesn’t exactly help Nvidia to justify their close ended sync solution. Note that AMD’s “Performance Inconsistency” is tested with 144Hz refresh rate. The system setup, operating system and the panels of both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync are not mentioned anywhere.
In any case, eventually at some point both have to play along and enable monitor manufacturers to have both rather than having separate models for both type of syncing technology, or if Nvidia swallows the red open source pill and ditches G-Sync hardware add-on for good. Same happened with desktop motherboard chipset manufacturers by enabling both SLI and Crossfire. This is just one of those things which should be discussed and adopted from Day 1 for everybody’s benefits.