The answer of AMD to NVIDIA G-SYNC becomes reality with the release of new Catalyst drivers to coincide with the availability of compatible FreeSync monitors.
After the stage, “project”, AMD announced the availability of the FreeSync technology thanks to the combination of the new Catalyst 15.3.1 and the first to be compatible with displays available in the today’s market.
AMD Officially pushed out Freesync along with new Drivers
About a year after the debut of NVIDIA G-SYNC, then AMD also offers a solution for the reduction of the phenomena of tearing and stuttering for modern 3D titles, but not only. The approach of NVIDIA was to create a proprietary technology, complete with a dedicated hardware on both the PC and monitor side, what AMD has focused on the use of open solutions that do not require special hardware.
Of course, the GPU must support certain features, but for the monitor simply a firmware ad hoc and compliance with certain specifications of the standard DisplayPort already drawn up back in 2009.
We are talking of the Adaptive-Sync, a standard established by the consortium for the VESA DisplayPort interface and Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) which provides for the possibility to change, through specific commands, the refresh rate of the monitor based on the parameters of the displayed image.
This technology was primarily designed for mobile devices, where the panels do not require a high refresh rate, which is, however disadvantageous in that it increases the power consumption and thus reduces the autonomy.
On the desktop there are obviously issues of autonomy, but the fact that the display can change your refresh rate so as to be always in sync with the frame rate of the displayed content to cancel the phenomena of tearing and stuttering, especially for GPU intensive applications such as video games.
In the field of gaming the frame rate, dependent both on the power of the GPU, both by the complexity of the scene to be rendered is highly variable and before G-SYNC and FreeSync the only possible way to limit or eliminate tearing was to enable or disable the VSync. With this option, the display buffer is updated only when there is a vertical interval (vertical blank) between two frames, which always displays a frame at a time and so there are phenomena of tearing.
This option is great if the frame rate of your video card is always higher than the refresh rate of the monitor, but if not, then the new frame will not be available in time to be displayed and the display will show again the previous frame.
As can be seen from the above image with VSync enabled, if the frame rate drops below the interval of refresh of the display the FRAME 1 must be repeated twice as the FRAME 2 is not ready to be displayed at the interval of REFRESH 2, introducing a phenomenon of stuttering and a delay of the response of the mouse perceptible by the user.
The alternative, i.e disable VSync, eliminates these scenarios, but can introduce the tearing (cutting effect), especially in scenes with fast movements.
The AMD FreeSync AMD and NVIDIA G-SYNC, aims to eliminate both of these problems by varying dynamically and in a totally transparent manner for the user, the refresh rate of the display according to the rendering speed of the card.
As can be seen from the picture, the FRAME 1 is maintained until it is ready the FRAME 2 which, in turn, is retained until it is ready the FRAME 3 by varying the refresh rate of the display.
From the above picture you can appreciate the direct comparison between the VSync and FreeSync.
But how does it work? In practice FreeSync alters, frame by frame, the length of the vertical (vertical blank) between two frames in such a way as to alter the range and therefore change the refresh rate of the display.
At the top we have the option for enabling FreeSync in the new Catalyst 15.3.1.
Everything is simple and according to AMD also more efficient and less expensive than the NVIDIA G-SYNC as it is not a proprietary solution.
We’ll see how the situation will evolve: at the time, since the new monitors have been announced and that the technology is “free”, we have to leave the tables of the video cards and monitors that support FreeSync, waiting to test it on the field with the tests.
APU and GPU compatible with FreeSync
|BenQ XL2730Z||27 “||2560×1440 (QHD)||144 Hz|
|LG 29UM67||29 “||2560×1080||75 Hz|
|LG 34UM67||34 “||2560×1080||75 Hz|
|Nixeus NX-VUE24||24 “||1920×1080||144 Hz|
|Samsung Series UE590||23.6 “/ 28″||3840×2160 (Ultra HD)||60 Hz|
|Samsung Series UE850||23.6 ‘/ 28′ / 31.5 ‘||3840×2160 (Ultra HD)||60 Hz|
|ViewSonic VX2701mh||27 “||1920×1080||144 Hz|
And here is a list of monitors announced CES 2015 to coincide with the availability of official support FreeSync.
Finally, something on which there is competition, a benefit for the industry and for consumers in general.