Nvidia has been talking up its G-Sync monitor technology since late last year and while it does look promising, it isn’t exactly cheap. Fortunately, Nvidia isn’t the only outfit in town working on a solution as AMD recently demonstrated during the Consumer Electronics Show.
Known as FreeSync (that’s right, AMD doesn’t plan to charge for the technology), AMD demonstrated their variable refresh rate technology for the guys over at AnandTech. It’s all a bit technical but it boils down to having the GPU’s display engine, the panel and the display hardware all allowing for control of VBLANK intervals. If all of the above components support controlling VBLANK, then you ultimately get what AMD calls the equivalent of G-Sync without any additional hardware.
To demonstrate it, AMD selected two Toshiba Satellite Click notebooks purchased at retail as the panels already support VBLANK. What’s more, AMD’s display engines have supported it for a couple of generations now. The team simply needed to create driver support for controlling VBLANK timing which is present in the latest Catalyst Driver (although controls aren’t yet available to end users).
Next, AMD created a demo to help show off the fact that the technology was working. The publication said it obviously wasn’t as impressive as the Nvidia demo but it worked nevertheless.
Unfortunately, AMD isn’t yet at a point to productize the technology nor do they have a go to market strategy just yet. With any luck, however, more panel vendors will support variable VBLANK in the coming months and maybe we’ll eventually get an AMD driver that allows end-user control.