AMD’s frame synchronization technique, FreeSync, has slowly taken shape over the last year. Though slow to roll out compared to Nvidia’s G-Sync, the initiative has the benefit of being free for manufacturers to use, which in theory means a wide selection of monitors at low prices. Now, we know that theory to be true.
First, though, a reminder: what is FreeSync? It’s a method of frame synchronization designed to ensure a video card outputs frames in conjunction with the refresh rate of the display while playing a 3D game. Communication between the two keeps them in sync, preventing unsightly screen tearing without adding input lag.
Related: AMD and Samsung partner on FreeSync
To me more specific, FreeSync uses part of the DisplayPort standard called Adaptive Sync. This puts it in contrast to Nvidia’s G-Sync, which uses a proprietary chip. Because it uses part of the DisplayPort standard there’s no extra hardware for monitor makers to purchase and include.
We’ve know about the technology for awhile, but now for the first time we know the pricing of a range of monitors, including the following.
- Acer XG270HU – 27-inch – 2,560 x 1,440 – TN Panel – $499
- BenQ XL2730Z – 27-inch – 2,560 x 1,440 – TN Panel – $599
- LG 34UM67 – 34-inch – 2,560 x 1,080 – IPS Panel – $649
- LG 29UM67 – 29-inch – 2,560 x 1,080 – IPS Panel – $449
Other monitors that will support FreeSync include the Samsung UE590 and UE850 series, and the Viewsonic VX2701mh, but pricing for these has not been announced yet.
In addition to the retail price of the above displays, the latest announcement includes some new information about how FreeSync performs. AMD has announced a small performance boost compared to Nvidia’s alternative, which the company claims takes a performance hit of about 1.5 percent on average. In truth, that’s probably not worth worrying about, but a win is a win.
Finally, AMD stated that it will offer two modes for FreeSync, one of which is used with V-Sync and one which isn’t. In the former mode there’s absolutely no screen tearing, while the latter mode will allow screen tearing in the interest of absolute maximum responsiveness. The company thinks the latter mode could make Radeon video cards more popular with competitive gamers.