AMD demos FreeSync on 'hacked' monitor at Computex

By on June 6, 2014, 8:00 AM
amd, display, computex, monitor, freesync, computex 2014

The big announcement for AMD at Computex 2014 was the launch of Kaveri mobile APUs, which we covered several days ago when the news broke. However I decided to drop by AMD's booth on the show floor, where they had set up the first public demonstration of FreeSync on an external monitor.

For those who aren't aware, FreeSync is AMD's non-proprietary alternative to Nvidia's G-Sync, whereby the refresh rate of a display can be synced to the render rate of the GPU. The adaptive refresh rate reduces stutter and tearing when gaming below the native refresh rate (usually 60 Hz), so gameplay at 40 frames per second can look nearly as good as traditional 60 frames per second gameplay.

FreeSync is AMD's name for Adaptive Sync, which was recently added to the VESA-standard DisplayPort 1.2a specification. Like G-Sync, monitors supporting FreeSync require changes to the hardware, although AMD claims their method of controlling VBLANK intervals is cheaper and easier to implement than Nvidia's proprietary G-Sync module.

The demo showed two monitors side by side displaying a rotating turbine at around 40 FPS, one with FreeSync enabled and the other with FreeSync disabled. The effect is exactly the same as G-Sync I previewed a few days ago, with rendering at 40 FPS looking incredibly smooth on the FreeSync monitor.

AMD told me that monitors supporting FreeSync are still 6-12 months away from public release, although they managed to get the particular monitor for the demo supporting Adaptive Sync "through some hacking". An executive didn't want to disclose what brand monitors they were using for the demo, or which hardware partners are working on FreeSync monitors, aside from saying that they're collaborating with many of the top brands.

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