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23-03-2015


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AMD FreeSync is a reasonable response of NVIDIA G-SYNC 

At the end of 2013 for the conference NVIDIA Editor's Day the NVIDIA has told about the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC, designed to make a real revolution in the world of dynamic synchronization of the image between the graphics card and monitor. Up to this point the struggle for the purity of the frame without any noticeable discontinuities and other artifacts was conducted exclusively on the side of the graphics card. NVIDIA offered to synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with a frequency GPU frame rendering, to remove not only the gap frame, but slowdown, as well as delays. The technology NVIDIA G-SYNC in more detail is described in this review, so let's move on to the goal of this review - familiarity with the main competitor in the form of AMD FreeSync.

AMD FreeSync

Surely the AMD management immediately realized the full extent of the potential impact of NVIDIA G-SYNC to compete for the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide. Furthermore, this technology requires a license, ie, AMD would have to pay a pretty penny for its adaptation to graphics cards. Given the precarious financial position of AMD, the question of such a scenario may not even raised in the leadership.

However, it was necessary intelligently to create an alternative: if consider the market of only video cards (not taking into account the integrated graphics core processor), the NVIDIA company occupies a dominant position. This means that the analog of NVIDIA G-SYNC with additional module is unlikely to appeal to many monitor manufacturers. Therefore, AMD has chosen a different path - an open standard, which does not require for additional fees and integration of special module.

So in May 2014 such review appeared «Adaptive-Sync» to the VESA-standard DisplayPort 1.2a, which realizes the technology AMD FreeSync. This means that all members of the organization VESA (which includes AMD and key players in the market monitors) may free use a new standard in the production of their monitors and to choose: to enable or disable support for this technology. Furthermore, AMD FreeSync was interested for company Intel, so the graphics core of processors Intel Broadwell will support it.

Open and free access of standard DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive-Sync provides another competitive advantage: to reduce the final cost of the monitor that can serve for many key factor.

AMD FreeSync

Now let's look at the technical details of AMD FreeSync in more details. As many already know, conventional monitors has constant refresh rate (usually 60 or 75 Hz, although there is a version with an index of 120 and 144 Hz). But the graphics card renders frames at different rates. First of all it is important in games where we want to get the maximum quality of image, that is, with the best graphics settings and acceptable speed of playback (up to 24 fps). The comfortable readings are above 30 - 40 fps. Since many of today's games are very demanding on system resources, and the scenes are very difficult to handle even high-performance adapters, the speed of rendering frames is dynamically changed. Due to this, there are gaps frames (Tearing), when one part of the monitor shows the current frame, and the other the next.

AMD FreeSync

To remove this effect a VSYNC technology was developed: if the new frame is not ready at the time of refresh, the system duplicates the old one. This approach is effective in dealing with gaps, but creates new problems: Stuttering and Lag. In turn, this reduces the responsiveness of the mouse, so players later react to real changes in the virtual world, where one moment may divide winners from the losers.

AMD FreeSync

Technology AMD FreeSync allows you to synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with the speed of rendering images, eliminating the effects of gap frame and lagging. In fact, the same thing performs NVIDIA G-SYNC. But AMD FreeSync has a number of additional advantages.

AMD FreeSync

We have already mentioned that it does not require the integration of additional modules and license fees, as well as based on open standards. It also supports a wide range of monitor refresh rate: 9 - 240 Hz vs. 30 - 144 Hz at a competitive counterpart. Of course, the implementation of a specific frequency range depends solely on the monitor manufacturer, but in a way they always have the opportunity to go beyond the standard framework or create a product in the frequency range where fit in terms of its price positioning.

AMD FreeSync

Another important advantage of AMD FreeSync is the support for the standard features of the monitor and the lack of impact on performance of gameplay. Firstly, it means that compatible displays can use more color profiles (for example, "Video", "Read", "Theatre", "Night view" and others), DisplayPort port can transmit audio along with the video, and the manufacturer can integrate additional video interfaces (though technology AMD FreeSync work will be supported only when using the DisplayPort 1.2a). Monitors with support for NVIDIA G-SYNC use only one color profile and one video interface DisplayPort 1.2a.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

As for the impact to performance, AMD has even provided a comparative test, the results of which are displayed in the following table:

Game

AMD FreeSync Off (FPS average number)

AMD FreeSync On (FPS average number)

Difference

NVIDIA G-SYNC Off (FPS average number)

NVIDIA G-SYNC On (FPS average number)

Difference

Alien Isolation

87,68

87,89

0,24

73,21

72,16

-1,43

BioShock Infinite

92,53

92,63

0,11

83,13

81,15

-2,38

Tomb Raider

87,1

87,5

0,46

74,5

73,5

-1,34

Sniper Elite 3

68,3

68,4

0,15

52,7

52,2

-0,95

Thief

71,4

71,7

0,42

61,9

61,2

-1,13

As you can see, NVIDIA G-SYNC reduces the average number of FPS in the specified game only by 1-2%, which will not be seen in reality. At the same time, the use of technology AMD FreeSync does not allow increase playback speed even at 1%. That is the point of comparison is purely symbolic.

AMD FreeSync

We are talking about the behavior of technologies outside the designated frequency band. NVIDIA G-SYNC behaves if VSYNC is permanently activated when output for the specified range: if the frame rate is lower than 30 Hz, you can notice stuttering and lagging. Above 144 Hz frame rate does not rise simply because the GPU limits it at this point. That is, the priority is the picture without breaks.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

AMD FreeSync allows the user to decide on their own how the system should behave outside the supported range: activate VSYNC, reducing the responsiveness of the mouse and their own actions, or not to use VSYNC, faced with a possible rupture of the image. In the second case, the upper limit is removed and the level of FPS can go beyond it.

AMD FreeSync

Take advantage of the new technology will not only owners of the top-end graphics cards, but the owners middle range graphics cards, as well as a series of APU AMD Kaveri. Do add also the above-mentioned series of processors Intel Broadwell. Many have a question: "Why the list includes the processor with features not enough for comfortable play of modern games?" The answer lies in the use of technology AMD FreeSync and other content. For example, you can synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with a fixed video frequency without re-encoding of the file.

AMD FreeSync

Moreover, this opens the way to further reduce the energy consumption, which is particularly important in mobile systems. The fact that the standard DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive-Sync is already compatible with the Embedded DisplayPort interface and supports «Static Screen State»: if the picture is static (no new content, for example, while reading a document), the frequency of updating is reduced to the minimum level. In conventional displays it is 60 Hz, and compatible with AMD FreeSync it is theoretically 9 Hz.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

And finally, let's look at the issue of price. In the past, AMD has repeatedly stated that the above indicated benefits of AMD FreeSync will provide accessible compatibility of monitors. Is that true?

AMD FreeSync

The NVIDIA site has a list of currently available monitors with support for NVIDIA G-SYNC. As you can see, the cheapest is 24-inch AOC G2460PG with a suggested price of $ 399, TN-panel resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080) and refresh rate to 144 Hz. The most accessible in the published list is AMD model LG 29UM67 at an estimated price of $ 449. Stated dynamic range is 48 - 75 Hz, but it has a 29-inch IPS-panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels. If you need the display with 144 Hz dynamic refresh rate, while Acer XG270HU with a 27-inch TN-panel and resolution of 2560 x 1440 looks good alternative for $ 499.

AMD FreeSync

In general, manufacturers very warmly received the technology AMD FreeSync. AMD has reported at least about 11 models of top vendors with different diagonals (from 23.6 to 34 inches), resolution (from 1920 x 1080 to 3840 x 2160) and a range of frequencies (from 60 to 144 Hz), which have already been announced or will soon appear on the market. It is possible that many other players just wait; analyzing consumer demands, and soon they join one of two groups.

AMD FreeSync


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