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AMD Fires Back at G-Sync With Non-Proprietary Alternative

By - Source: TheTechReport | B 57 comments

AMD counters Nvidia's G-Sync with its own free FreeSync technology at CES 2014.

Not long ago, Nvidia announced its all-new G-Sync technology, which made quite an impact. Since that happened though, a lot of the enthusiast crowd has been awaiting AMD's response but has not received one. Now though, everything changes as AMD is demonstrating its supposed FreeSync technology, which requires no proprietary hardware – just a panel with VESA's variable VBLANK support and a GPU (or APU) with support for the technology.

To demonstrate the technology, AMD purchased two Toshiba Satellite Click notebooks, which have the appropriate hardware support. The reason for this, according to AMD, is that there has been increasing pressure from various parties to bring variable VBLANK support to mobile devices for power saving reasons.

Support for the variable VBLANK technology from a driver-side standpoint was all that was required; it is already featured in AMD's latest Catalyst graphics driver. However, none of the actual controls have been brought to the user configuration screen yet.

VBLANK is effectively keeping the same image-screen without refreshing it. Variable VBLANK would be equivalent to a variable refresh rate, effectively achieving the same purpose as Nvidia's G-Sync. According to The Tech Report, AMD's executives were puzzled as to why Nvidia chose to implement a solution that requires expensive external hardware. The explanation given is that Nvidia's GPUs might not have support for variable VBLANK built in,  thus needing external hardware. It's not certain though, since only GTX650 Ti BOOST cards or higher support G-Sync, indicating that there is some sort of hardware within the GPU that is required.

It seems that AMD isn't yet at a stage to publicly release FreeSync, but that will change as time goes by and more and more display panels incorporate VESA's standard for variable VBLANK technology. The technology is still in an early stage and requires more development before it can be fully deployed, so stay tuned for more!

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    spp85 , January 8, 2014 3:13 AM
    Wow....that's AMD. I'm eagerly waiting for this technology to surface for public use. nVidia is desperate to sell their hardware.
  • 14 Hide
    redeemer , January 8, 2014 2:51 AM
    Thanks AMD for not milking us like Nvidia does
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  • -2 Hide
    Amdlova , January 8, 2014 2:30 AM
    Thank you AMD. for made a free tecnology. this is the why nvidia will die... the world is going to free and nvidia only want make cash...
  • 14 Hide
    redeemer , January 8, 2014 2:51 AM
    Thanks AMD for not milking us like Nvidia does
  • 1 Hide
    Jeff Gilleese , January 8, 2014 2:53 AM
    I had a long argument with someone on the g-sync article. No mater what you are going to be keeping an image on the screen as a buffered frame unless you show a Blake screen inplace of a buffered frame witch would cause a screen flicker. G-sync is a gimick. Any monitor manufacturer could make a panel controller that does the same thing and not need some expensive add on chip to implement. Nvidia is seeming desperate to control a market, even if they have to fabricate one. As I said last time. Nvidia is starting to remind me of Sony 8 years ago. Arrogant and grasping at straws.
  • 9 Hide
    Deus Gladiorum , January 8, 2014 2:54 AM
    And here I am stuck with an Nvidia GPU and a non-compatible monitor, meaning I don't think I can have either technology.
  • 9 Hide
    ohim , January 8, 2014 3:10 AM
    AMD has always been an innovative company, yet they still struggle financially due to various reasons. Good for them for bringing this for free with no extra hardware in the monitor. I understand innovation and the right to patent things to protect your investment in R&D but sometimes some things should not be proprietary (aka rounded corner rectangles - apple ).
  • 18 Hide
    spp85 , January 8, 2014 3:13 AM
    Wow....that's AMD. I'm eagerly waiting for this technology to surface for public use. nVidia is desperate to sell their hardware.
  • 2 Hide
    silverblue , January 8, 2014 4:16 AM
    Except AMD hardware has supported this since 2006.
  • 4 Hide
    Coolant , January 8, 2014 4:16 AM
    Guy above why all the pain bro?
  • 6 Hide
    renz496 , January 8, 2014 4:43 AM
    so amd says that they don't know why nvidia need extra hardware to do the g-sync stuff since it can be done on software entirely. alright amd can you show us this freesync running real games? so far they only have that windmill demo. when can we expect amd showing something really work at the very least?
  • 8 Hide
    mauller07 , January 8, 2014 5:02 AM
    VBLANK and variable VBLANK need to be supported in the monitors Scaler unit.it has mostly started to take off and was originally designed as a power saving feature as part of the VESA specification since it reduces the number of times you have to send current to the panel to refresh the LCD pixels which will degrade in structure over a very short half life which is why panels still need to be refreshed and the hold period cant be too long which is why Gsync disables bellow 30fps since the frame times become longer than the period it takes for the colours to degrade as the liquid crystals in the panel approach their half life.AMD saw that Variable VBLANK can essentially do the same thing as nvidias Gsync hardware and have supported the VESA standard for a good couple of generations, nvidia tends to trail when it comes to adopting new standards but loves to make its own proprietary ones.but the monitor has to support variable VBLANK if aditional or different circuitry is required it is obviously cheap enough to do since it is being implimented as a standard and is implemented in cheap notenooks.
  • 1 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 8, 2014 5:09 AM
    As far as i Can tell, and understand Im not a tech expert, If you get better fluidity is at the cost of increased image latency/lag.
    This seems rather Logical and obvious, as in, if you want a good V-Sync, the aded input lag is not from you waiting for the entire image/frame to load, but for the system to notice that and decide to display the image.

    This might seem like little to most people, but Ive been an avid amateur Starcraft Broodwar player for a long time, and even thou i can bearly tell that my laptop monitor displays faster an image than my TV (and bare in mind this is when i have them next to each other and actually try to notice if there is a difference), When i play the game at many actions per second, the TV feels terribly slow.

    I know that in Single player games this does not happen often, but in fast paced games (for example in car racing) this can clearly be a deal breaker.

    Id rather AMD and nVidia work on better AA systems, cosidering that SweetFX is basicly better than any technology out there right now, and its produced by some dude (and I asumme not only him), while AMD and nVidia have a decent amount of tech profesionals that could improve it even further.

    I do like AMD more for making the technology free compared to nVidia, but in the end, performnace to price is my golden rule, unless a technology is actually worth the extra dollars/euros.
  • 1 Hide
    Kewlx25 , January 8, 2014 5:21 AM
    Quote:
    But if there is no changes to the screen, the refresh rate will still be fixed on it at 60, 120 or 144 hz. So how does this work? Whats the new tech here? If they are just fixed to the screens refresh, thats exactly the same as v-sync.. wtf?


    While the time it takes to display the frame is the same, the timing of when the frame starts is variable. Current monitors are synchronous. This means if your GPU does not have a new frame ready, it doesn't need to wait until the next frame starts, it just doesn't push a new frame and waits until the next is done. This only affects the monitor when the FPS drops below the refresh rate.

  • 1 Hide
    thegreatjombi , January 8, 2014 5:50 AM
    Does anyone know if this deals with input lag? From what I understand the extra Gsync hardware was dealing with the input lag portion of equation too. I was looking forward to Gsync because of the increase in video quality while not having to deal with the massive amount of input lag added when using V-sync.The AMD solution seems like a hardware V-sync with no consideration for input lag. is that true?
  • 0 Hide
    biohazrdfear , January 8, 2014 6:33 AM
    WELL, I'm all happy that my games look beautiful and play smooth...if that counts! :D 
  • 1 Hide
    Steveymoo , January 8, 2014 7:59 AM
    :D  Shots fired.I would be interested to find out exactly how this works though.
  • -4 Hide
    celpas , January 8, 2014 8:06 AM
    Oh Yeah.Go for it AMD.You are the best!!!!!!!!


























    -Proud AMD Owner of FX 8350 AND 7870 :D 
  • 4 Hide
    vmem , January 8, 2014 8:11 AM
    well, if this thing works half as well as G-Sync, we should start burying G-sync
  • 0 Hide
    houldendub , January 8, 2014 8:26 AM
    Quote:
    well, if this thing works half as well as G-Sync, we should start burying G-sync


    Well it'd be nice to hear something from AMD that wasn't a childish "lol ours is better trust us!" first.

    While Nvidia is crap with stuff like this locking it down to certain platforms, no doubt AMD's implementation will be just as bad.

    For instance, can anyone at all here name a monitor that supports VBLANK?
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