What Is FreeSync For Monitors And Is It Worth It?

What is FreeSync

When you’re buying a product and you see that it supports FreeSync, what is this supposed to mean? Does it matter if your monitor supports FreeSync? To know that, you simply need to understand what AMD’s FreeSync is.

When you’re displaying content on your monitor, your GPU renders frames and transfers them to the display.

The display then refreshes those frames a certain number of times (144 times on a 144 Hz monitor and so on) to create the final picture. However, sometimes the GPU can send too many frames to the display before it’s done with the initial refresh cycle, which results in screen tearing.

VSYNC was created to fix this issue by forcing the GPU to wait until the display is done with the refresh cycle to send the next one, but this resulted in input lag and stuttering. So you either had to choose between the tearing or the input lag.

This is where AMD’s FreeSync comes into action. Radeon FreeSync is a technology developed by AMD to eliminate the stuttering and tearing that happens during transitions from one frame to another in a game. This is because it basically syncs the display’s refresh rate to the frame rate of the graphics card, so there is no gap between one and the other.

This is particularly noticeable and effective when it comes to fast-paced and action games, as these are the games that would put the function of AMD’s FreeSync in the best use, making the transitions more seamless, and the overall gameplay smoother and more fluid. This then results in a more immersive experience because it is more lifelike.

The good thing about AMD is that –with the help of VESA (Video Electronics Standard Association)-  it integrated the support for Adaptive Sync into the DisplayPort 1.2a standard (and later on HDMI), and then they used that to utilize their FreeSync technology.

This means that the costs of producing a monitor which is compatible with AMD’s FreeSync technology, some costs are cut, making it more affordable than monitors made to be compatible with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. It also doesn’t limit manufacturers to certain scalers. Whereas the G-Sync’s options are more limited as they only work with a Nvidia G-Sync scaler, and their monitors have more or less the same on-screen menus and options.

There’s a setback when it comes to FreeSync though, and that is that it works as long as you’re in a certain dynamic refresh rate, and if your FPS (Frames Per Second) falls below that, it stops working altogether. FreeSync monitors usually have narrower dynamic refresh rates (40 to 75 Hz instead of 30 to 75 Hz for example).

A good solution to this is the Low Frame Compensation (LFC) feature which is developed by Radeon and which extends the range of the refresh rates of many Radeon FreeSync displays. This makes the gameplay smooth down to 30 FPS (Frames Per Second) or even less!

Many of  Radeon’s Free-Sync ready monitors also use LFC automatically when you have the Radeon Software Crimson Edition (or later) installed on your device.

So a wise thing to do before you buy a FreeSync monitor would be to check its FreeSync range. And it’s also a great advantage if it supports the LFC feature.

There’s a further upgrade: Radeon FreeSync 2 technology. This is available to Radeon displays owners exclusively though. It’s worth getting a Radeon display to enjoy the enhanced pixel-perfect gaming, large dynamic refresh rate, low latency, and bigger sRGB color space for improved brightness and contrast.

This completely raises the bar for enjoying HDR games, series, and movies.

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Kevin John
 

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