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AMD Answers FreeSync Questions in New FAQ

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

AMD is providing some answers to questions about FreeSync in a new FAQ.

AMD has posted a new FAQ section on its website. Normally, we would consider that completely unremarkable. However, this section is about Project FreeSync, so it might actually be the first FAQ about it you ever read.

AMD's Project FreeSync is the company's effort to use DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, which is now an industry standard, to deliver dynamic refresh rates. The idea behind it is to compete with G-Sync, except AMD intends for the standard to be present on all graphics cards, including Nvidia's. Whether that will happen remains unknown, but it is what AMD wants, and it is certainly what would be best for us as consumers.

One of the problems with Project FreeSync, though, is that it has been difficult to get exact answers on a number of questions. This makes the FAQ particularly interesting, and if you're not fully informed about Project FreeSync yet, it might be worth a read.

We also interviewed an AMD spokesman a few weeks back to get some answers about FreeSync.

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  • 6 Hide
    Yuka , August 5, 2014 8:02 PM
    Quote:
    None of those things are really important. 60Hz looks great how it is, 75Hz is just an extra and not something that should be a standard. Same for 4k resolutions.

    None of these questions have anything to do with what Freesync is or does. It is to fix one of the oldest problems, not to make changes to standards that 99% of the world would never have or use, at least not for many years to come.


    And no one will ever need more than 640KB of memory!

    Stupid young'uns and their unnecessary new tricks.

    Cheers! :p 
  • Display all 18 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    husker , August 5, 2014 9:21 PM
    The elephant in the room that isn't being talked about is the fact that monitor manufacturers will have to add special hardware in order to support fresync -- more than just an upgraded DisplayPort standard. From AMD's own FAQ:

    <i>"AMD plans to release a compatible graphics driver to coincide with the introduction of the first DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync monitors."</i>

    What manufacturers are planning such a monitor? That's the question that needs to be answered.
  • -1 Hide
    Bondfc11 , August 5, 2014 11:52 PM
    Husker no idea why you are downvoted - silly - since you are dead on the mark with your comments. FS is not free since it will require OEMs to program, prototype, test, certify, and produce new AD PCBs. This is not a simple update to existing AD PCBs as many people wrongly assume. It requires a whole new board and programming. Those costs will be passed on to consumers to be sure.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , August 6, 2014 1:11 AM
    Downvoted fixed! Now you're down to zero! :D . But seriously, I will hold on to what I have right now, until price drops, so I will not feel the pain of being robbed... ;) 
  • 9 Hide
    Vorador2 , August 6, 2014 1:35 AM
    Quote:
    Husker no idea why you are downvoted - silly - since you are dead on the mark with your comments. FS is not free since it will require OEMs to program, prototype, test, certify, and produce new AD PCBs. This is not a simple update to existing AD PCBs as many people wrongly assume. It requires a whole new board and programming. Those costs will be passed on to consumers to be sure.


    You're wrong. Freesync is "free" because it is integrated in the displayport standard and doesn't cost a dime to license, nor requires additional hardware outside of a modern displayport controller. Unlike nvidia's g-sync, which is proprietary, only works with nvidia's cards and requires an additional chip.

    nVidia's solution does requires a new board, but Freesync doesn't.

    So the point is that Freesync IS a simple update. It cannot be added retroactively, but if you're manufacturing a new monitor with DisplayPort, adding Freesync is free.
  • -5 Hide
    xyriin , August 6, 2014 4:37 AM
    Before people start making outlandish claims about how 'awesome' Freesync is we should look at the facts.

    First off the VESA standard doesn't hit the higher refresh rates like 120/144hz. As such Freesync only works up to 60hz. So if you're looking for a gaming technology Freesync is useless, you might as well just beef up your GPU and turn vsync on.

    Freesync will be able to go beyond 60hz but only when new chips are introduced. So yes, there will be new hardware required just like Gsync in order to support higher refresh rates. Also, your current monitor, will NEVER support Freesync beyond 60hz no matter what firmware you might apply meaning just like Gsync you'll need to buy a shiny new 'Sync' compatible monitor.

    Because of the new hardware requirement for sync tech above 60hz, Gsync is already to market while Freesync doesn't even have model confirmation yet.

    Keep in mind that Freesync is based off hacking a battery saving standard, it was never designed from the ground up as a gaming technology. Additionally, nVidia has done all the hardware work for Gsync so monitor companies only have to implement it. On the other hand with Freesync all the monitor manufacturers have to do hardware design on the new chips from the ground up on their own.

    Think about it this way. If you currently game at high refresh rates then you don't need Freesync, you simply turn vsync on and lock in at 60hz because your hardware can handle it. Freesync without new hardware fills a gap no one needs.
  • -1 Hide
    army_ant7 , August 6, 2014 7:47 AM
    I found a very important (and saddening for some) pair of statements in one of the FAQ pages.

    Quote:
    All AMD Radeon™ graphics cards in the AMD Radeon™ HD 7000, HD 8000, R7 or R9 Series will support Project FreeSync for video playback and power-saving purposes. The AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2, 290X, R9 290, R7 260X and R7 260 GPUs additionally feature updated display controllers that will support dynamic refresh rates during gaming.


    Sure, having dynamic refresh rates even in a limited state is still a bonus for "old" HD 7000 owners like myself especially since we didn't expect such a thing to come out back when we bought ours, but still I have to say that we really are missing out. :-(
  • -1 Hide
    army_ant7 , August 6, 2014 8:17 AM
    Quote:
    ... As such Freesync only works up to 60hz. So if you're looking for a gaming technology Freesync is useless, you might as well just beef up your GPU and turn vsync on.

    Freesync will be able to go beyond 60hz but only when new chips are introduced. ...


    I don't really agree with the other statements you made, especially since you didn't link any sources to support your claims, but I will tell you this. Please remember to clean up your posts of contradictory statements such as the ones I've selectively quoted above. :-)

    Here's one of the FAQ pages that answers what refresh rate ranges could be supported, for anyone interested.
    What is the supported range of refresh rates with FreeSync and DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync?
  • 3 Hide
    Zenuts , August 6, 2014 8:34 AM
    Quote:
    Before people start making outlandish claims about how 'awesome' Freesync is we should look at the facts.

    First off the VESA standard doesn't hit the higher refresh rates like 120/144hz. As such Freesync only works up to 60hz. So if you're looking for a gaming technology Freesync is useless, you might as well just beef up your GPU and turn vsync on.

    Freesync will be able to go beyond 60hz but only when new chips are introduced. So yes, there will be new hardware required just like Gsync in order to support higher refresh rates. Also, your current monitor, will NEVER support Freesync beyond 60hz no matter what firmware you might apply meaning just like Gsync you'll need to buy a shiny new 'Sync' compatible monitor.

    Because of the new hardware requirement for sync tech above 60hz, Gsync is already to market while Freesync doesn't even have model confirmation yet.

    Keep in mind that Freesync is based off hacking a battery saving standard, it was never designed from the ground up as a gaming technology. Additionally, nVidia has done all the hardware work for Gsync so monitor companies only have to implement it. On the other hand with Freesync all the monitor manufacturers have to do hardware design on the new chips from the ground up on their own.

    Think about it this way. If you currently game at high refresh rates then you don't need Freesync, you simply turn vsync on and lock in at 60hz because your hardware can handle it. Freesync without new hardware fills a gap no one needs.

    This page explains that FreeSync will work with whatever refresh rate the display can achieve: http://support.amd.com/en-us/search/faq/224

    This one explicits the frequency ranges that the display should have: http://support.amd.com/en-us/search/faq/222

    And you should read this as well, I think it would clear some concerns you might have: http://support.amd.com/en-us/search/faq/220



    Cheers!
  • 1 Hide
    Slatteew , August 6, 2014 8:40 AM
    Quote:
    Before people start making outlandish claims about how 'awesome' Freesync is we should look at the facts.

    First off the VESA standard doesn't hit the higher refresh rates like 120/144hz. As such Freesync only works up to 60hz. So if you're looking for a gaming technology Freesync is useless, you might as well just beef up your GPU and turn vsync on.

    Freesync will be able to go beyond 60hz but only when new chips are introduced. So yes, there will be new hardware required just like Gsync in order to support higher refresh rates. Also, your current monitor, will NEVER support Freesync beyond 60hz no matter what firmware you might apply meaning just like Gsync you'll need to buy a shiny new 'Sync' compatible monitor.

    Because of the new hardware requirement for sync tech above 60hz, Gsync is already to market while Freesync doesn't even have model confirmation yet.

    Keep in mind that Freesync is based off hacking a battery saving standard, it was never designed from the ground up as a gaming technology. Additionally, nVidia has done all the hardware work for Gsync so monitor companies only have to implement it. On the other hand with Freesync all the monitor manufacturers have to do hardware design on the new chips from the ground up on their own.

    Think about it this way. If you currently game at high refresh rates then you don't need Freesync, you simply turn vsync on and lock in at 60hz because your hardware can handle it. Freesync without new hardware fills a gap no one needs.


    Adaptive Sync and G-Sync smooth the hell out of gameplay compared to today's standards, so we may not even need higher refresh rates, other than those who wish to have higher refresh rates. 1.2a or 1.3 will be a standard board introduced to monitors when it is releases (for monitors that have DP) and will only require a driver from AMD or Nvidia (if they choose to adopt it eventually) for video cards that have the 1.2a or 1.3 DP out hardware.
  • 3 Hide
    coffeecoffee , August 6, 2014 9:01 AM
    @Xyriin. Based on what you said, you sir have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Please read up what Adaptive Sync actually does before you spew random nonsense on Toms. Thanks~
  • -1 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 6, 2014 1:21 PM
    it's clear that half the posters on this forum love how nvidia bends them over
  • -1 Hide
    Bondfc11 , August 6, 2014 6:35 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Husker no idea why you are downvoted - silly - since you are dead on the mark with your comments. FS is not free since it will require OEMs to program, prototype, test, certify, and produce new AD PCBs. This is not a simple update to existing AD PCBs as many people wrongly assume. It requires a whole new board and programming. Those costs will be passed on to consumers to be sure.


    You're wrong. Freesync is "free" because it is integrated in the displayport standard and doesn't cost a dime to license, nor requires additional hardware outside of a modern displayport controller. Unlike nvidia's g-sync, which is proprietary, only works with nvidia's cards and requires an additional chip.

    nVidia's solution does requires a new board, but Freesync doesn't.

    So the point is that Freesync IS a simple update. It cannot be added retroactively, but if you're manufacturing a new monitor with DisplayPort, adding Freesync is free.


    Completely incorrect and I will leave it at that. Design a few AD PCBs for OEMs and then report back. This is not a simple add on from the designers' point of view.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , August 7, 2014 12:53 AM
    AMD's FAQ page is very, very deceptive.

    They actually imply that FreeSync is superior in performance when they state "...FreeSync does not need to poll or wait on the display in order to determine when it’s safe to send the next frame to the monitor."

    The NVidia handshaking process time is incredibly small to the point of being essentially irrelevent, and they use techno babble to sidestep the very basic fast that this technology doesn't work as well as G-Sync.

    So, for example, they say that AMD's technology does no negotiation after things start up which MAY be true, but do they say their technology is better? Do they discuss the reason for the fast NVidia buffer? Nope.

    There's really no point in hashing it out here especially since AMD hasn't given us much to go with that can be compared too but the Pepsi vs Coke test should be resolved with a double-blind test don't you think?

    At the very least we've got some competition going which is awesome, and I will admit I don't know how noticeable the benefits are, but make no mistake G-Sync is better.
  • 0 Hide
    xyriin , August 7, 2014 4:03 AM
    All my information was sourced from Blur Busters.

    But let's use some AMD answers instead from a recent article on Tom's Hardware...

    "this can be done with any monitor that supports Adaptive-Sync (in other words, the monitor uses a supporting scalar)"
    For those who don't know the scalar is the hardware in the monitor that allows it to handle different resolutions and input sources. So yes, Freesync will need specific hardware. There is a reason AMD ran their initial demo on laptop panels and not normal monitors.

    "AMD is actively working with these scaler vendors to bring Adaptive-Sync support into their higher-end scalers, and the company expects the mainstream scalers to gain support for the features very soon as well."
    Again proof that special hardware is needed, otherwise AMD wouldn't have to work with these vendors.

    The latest Freesync demo was run at Computex. AMD's response to how they got it working on the first non-laptop panel: "through some hacking"

    So no, Freesync will never work on the monitor you have now. You'll need a Freesync specific panel with the correct scalar hardware in order to support the functionality.


    The AMD FAQ also states the following...

    "no expensive or proprietary hardware modules"
    This is nothing new, as Freesync is open source its not proprietary, this doesn't mean you don't need new hardware however. It just won't be proprietary.

    "Potential ranges include 36-240Hz, 21-144Hz, 17-120Hz and 9-60Hz."
    These are the ranges in which Freesync MIGHT work. There is no proof of concept or demo yet beyond the 9-60hz range. Above 60hz is nothing more than a talking point.

    "AMD is working closely with these vendors to bring products to market, and we expect compatible monitors in the 4Q14-1Q15 timeframe."
    Further proof that a hardware solution is required to accomplish Freesync. As of right now there is only one platform where Freesync works 'out of the box' and that is on laptop panels because the way they handle the video signal.


    Personally I'd like Freesync to end up an open source version of Gsync. However, don't let the PR BS blind you. AMD is behind and they're trying to slow Gsync adoption by making promises they haven't even been able to proof yet. This is no different then at one time motherboards only being able to run Crossfire or SLI. Once Freesync catches up to Gsync the technologies will merge and you'll have monitors that support both standards.
  • -2 Hide
    Ninjawithagun , August 8, 2014 5:48 AM
    More smoke and mirrors BS from the AMD losers. The plain fact of the matter is that AMD hyped up Free Sync knowing in actuality, the technology was already outlined as part of DisplayPort 1.2a standard. AMD didn't invent or create anything and only used it as a ploy to discredit Nvidia's outstanding work on G-Sync technology. AMD fanboys are gonna hate, even when the truth smacks them right in the mouth. The facts are finally out, and AMD lied to their loyal fanboys as well as to the general public. If you really want to enjoy dynamic sync technology in games, go buy yourself an Nvidia 600 or 700 series card and a G-Sync enabled monitor - NUFF SAID!!