A small tidbit of information that was revealed yesterday, as part of AMD's launch of the Radeon R9 285, concerns the company's Project FreeSync initiative. As it turns out, not every GPU in AMD's current line of Radeons will support the adaptive sync technology, with most of the older rebranded parts getting left out.
AMD has so far revealed that only GCN 1.1 parts and above - namely the Hawaii-powered Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X, and the new Tonga-powered R9 285 - will support FreeSync. There's also a possibility that the Bonaire GPU found in the R7 260X and HD 7790 will be FreeSync compatible, as the chip also has some GCN 1.1 features like TrueAudio.
On the flip side, every other GPU in AMD's current line-up will not support FreeSync. Most of these cards, including the Radeon R9 280, 280X and 270X, are re-brands of older cards from AMD's HD 7000 series that include GCN 1.0 chips and don't support the necessary DisplayPort standard. This means that, disappointingly, some cards available to purchase today won't support FreeSync.
FreeSync is an AMD-led non-proprietary initiative, backed by VESA, that will bring variable refresh rates to a selection of monitors early next year. The adaptive sync technology allows a monitor to refresh at a rate lower than 60 Hz, which reduces stuttering and tearing in games that your GPU can't quite render at 60 frames per second.
The technology is an alternative to Nvidia's G-Sync, which provides similar functionality through a proprietary chip that is integrated into the display. G-Sync monitors are already available and supported on all Kepler products from the GTX 600 series onwards.