As an response to Nvidia`s G-Sync, AMD released a new standard in terms of adaptive sync technology. In the spirit of the company, they made the standard free to use and royalty-free.
Adaptive sync is a technology that prevents Screen Tearing without the lag caused by V-Sync. This achieved by sending a signal from the GPU through the DisplayPort cable to the monitor. This signal contains some information that basically tells the Monitor when to refresh the image.
One of the features of this technology is a better gaming experience. This is caused by the monitor having the same refresh rate that your output rate is. This makes all the animation much more fluid and makes the Tearing practically non-existing.
Screen tearing is a visual artifact in a display device that shows more than one frame in a single screen draw. This happens every timewhen the output feed is not in sync with the display`s refresh rate. In most cases, tearing occurs when there are more then one frame rendered at each screen draw.
FreeSync, unlike G-Sync, is free to use as it works on the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) Protocol that DisplayPort 1.2a has. That means that it does not require any special hardware inside the monitor to run this protocol. What it really need is a firmware from the vendor you acquire your monitor, that enables FreeSync functionality.
Interesting enough, the whole Variable Refresh Rate thing isn`t a new one. FreeSync was first demonstrated at CES 2014, then AMD proposed VESA to standardize variable refresh rate features to DisplayPort standard.
To sum up everything, here are the benefits FreeSync brings over normal devices:
- Offers no performance penalty, unlike G-Sync (although small)
- Helps improve battery life by reducing the refresh rate of the panel when the screen is static (meaning, the previous frame was the same as the current one).
- Ensures that the transition between refresh rate is seamless and undetectable to the user.
- Can be enabled by plug and play, making it transparent to the operating system and end user.
- Reduces implementation complexity of the Timing Controller (TCON) and panel by keeping the GPU’s pixel clock rate constant and varying blank parameters.
- Dynamically adapts the display refresh rate to fixed video content frame rate for a power efficient and stutter-free video playback with anything over 30FPS.
- Dynamically adapts the display refresh rate to variable gaming content render for low latency and a smooth, virtually stutter-free gaming experience.