New certification for Adaptive-Sync monitors with dual-mode support arrives just in time...

Alfonso Maruccia

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In context: The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) is a non-profit entity of more than 325 corporate members worldwide. The organization defines standards and certification programs for video and media interfaces used by PC, television, and consumer electronics industries, promoting and supporting open standard development in the display market.

The AdaptiveSync certification program introduced in 2022 just got an update for 2024. The original VESA certification covered displays with variable refresh rate (VRR) support. The update now includes "dual-mode" monitors. The new Adaptive-Sync Display v1.1a certification will help consumers identify monitors capable of running at two different refresh rates depending on the vertical pixel resolution.

According to VESA, displays that can operate at different maximum refresh rates when resolution is reduced are already emerging. Until recently, most displays didn't have dual-mode refresh rates. Users seemingly had to choose between monitors suited for high-performance gaming or products with higher resolutions for content creation.

The Adaptive-Sync Display v1.1a certification includes new testing criteria for dual-mode monitors and a new Adaptive-Sync logo to reflect the new capability. VESA provides an example indicating that the tested monitor can work at a 4K/2160P resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate or FullHD/1080P resolution at 280Hz.

Monitors certified for dual-mode support still need to pass all the tests included in the basic Adaptive-Sync Display program. Standard requirements include high refresh rate levels, a flicker-free experience, fast gray-to-gray response times, and more.

Dual-mode monitors must meet these same quality levels at both resolutions, including a minimum 144Hz refresh at the maximum pixel resolution. The minimum vertical resolution in maximum refresh rate mode is 1080p.

Display maker LG will introduce its first version 1.1a monitor at CES. The LG 32GS95UE OLED gaming monitor offers dual-mode support. The "VESA certified" logo can tell gamers that the new display can show "story-driven" games in UHD@240Hz or present fast-paced experiences (FPS, MOBA, racing) in FHD@480Hz. Meanwhile, Asus will introduce its ROG Swift PG32UCDP display, which uses the same panel as LG's dual-mode model. It provides the same 4K@240Hz and 1080p@480Hz modes.

In addition to the new dual-refresh rate feature, the Adaptive-Sync Display 1.1a specification will also support testing for "overclocked" displays. Monitors capable of offering a faster user-defined refresh rate will undergo certification testing to achieve a higher Adaptive-Sync Display level.

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I don't get it, haven't monitors supported different refresh rates based on resolution for decades? I had a 14" CRT monitor that could do 800x600 at 60 Hz but 640x480 at 75 Hz back in the 90's. And with adaptive sync, aren't monitors already certified to run at a wide range of refresh rates? So what is the point of 'certifying' it to run different refresh rates based on resolution?

It just seems a cynical attempt of marketing a monitors HDMI bandwidth/image processing limitations as somehow a positive thing people should be spending more for, rather than the negative than they are.
 
I don't get it, haven't monitors supported different refresh rates based on resolution for decades? I had a 14" CRT monitor that could do 800x600 at 60 Hz but 640x480 at 75 Hz back in the 90's. And with adaptive sync, aren't monitors already certified to run at a wide range of refresh rates? So what is the point of 'certifying' it to run different refresh rates based on resolution?

It just seems a cynical attempt of marketing a monitors HDMI bandwidth/image processing limitations as somehow a positive thing people should be spending more for, rather than the negative than they are.

CRT and LCD monitors handle resolution differently. LCD monitors have a set pixel density. The number of pixels is fixed and cannot be altered. Changing the display resolution on an LCD doesn't actually change the number of pixels being display. The monitor is attempting to get as close a possible. CRTs are able to render the resolution specified (within the monitor's ratings) by firing an electron beam.

The point of this is new spec is that the monitor can refresh faster if some are the pixel are scaled. In this case, four 4K pixels are combined for one 1080p pixel.
 
I don't get it, haven't monitors supported different refresh rates based on resolution for decades? I had a 14" CRT monitor that could do 800x600 at 60 Hz but 640x480 at 75 Hz back in the 90's. And with adaptive sync, aren't monitors already certified to run at a wide range of refresh rates? So what is the point of 'certifying' it to run different refresh rates based on resolution?

It just seems a cynical attempt of marketing a monitors HDMI bandwidth/image processing limitations as somehow a positive thing people should be spending more for, rather than the negative than they are.
Well it's typical that the maximum refresh rate of the monitor is governed by the refresh rate at the native resolution. Having a higher refreshrate at non native resolutions is relatively new feature. The 4k/1080p thing is also not a coincidence. The panel controller needs both hardware and software modifications to treat a group of 4 pixels as a single pixel at higher refresh rates. There is a lot more than just upscaling going on here, the control is cutting the resolution of the panel in a specific way.
 
I feel it’s a feature to make people pay more money, and does not cater to the demand of most. How many people will buy a 4K monitor, and toggle it to 1080p for whatever they are doing or gaming? If a GPU can’t handle 4K smoothly such that you have to drop resolution, most will employ some upscaling anyway. If I had to drop resolution, I won’t drop from 4K to 1080p for sure. For watching movies at 4K, there is no need for 144Hz refresh rate.
 
I feel it’s a feature to make people pay more money, and does not cater to the demand of most. How many people will buy a 4K monitor, and toggle it to 1080p for whatever they are doing or gaming? If a GPU can’t handle 4K smoothly such that you have to drop resolution, most will employ some upscaling anyway. If I had to drop resolution, I won’t drop from 4K to 1080p for sure. For watching movies at 4K, there is no need for 144Hz refresh rate.
There is also going to be a 1440p 480Hz monitor this year. Easier to drive and no need to switch between the two.
 
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