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VESA Adds Adaptive-Sync to DisplayPort 1.2a Standard

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

Hooray! The open G-Sync alternative has made its way to DisplayPort standards.

A few months back, Nvidia had revealed its proprietary G-Sync technology, a technology that will synchronize the refresh rate of your monitor to the actual frame output of your graphics card. This would be useful to avoid tearing, as that is likely to occur when the refresh rate of the monitor is not perfectly synchronized with the framerate of the game you're playing, even if you have V-Sync enabled.

A while after G-Sync slowly made its way onto the marketplace, AMD showed off a demo of its own technology, Freesync. This was not proprietary though, and simply based on an existing technology already implemented in the embedded DisplayPort standard, though not in the standard DisplayPort protocol. AMD reportedly made a pitch to VESA to implement this, and it appears now that VESA has accepted the suggestion.

"DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync enables a new approach in display refresh technology," said Syed Athar Hussain, display domain architect, AMD and VESA board vice chairman. "Instead of updating a monitor at a constant rate, Adaptive-Sync enables technologies that match the display update rate to the user's content, enabling power efficient transport over the display link and a fluid, low-latency visual experience."

VESA, which stands for Video Electronics Standards Association, has announced that it has taken the Adaptive-Sync protocol and added it to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification. This means that soon there will likely be monitors with the feature built in coming out all over the place. Manufacturers still need to implement the feature, but as long as they pass the compliance testing, they'll be allowed to brand the packaging with the DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync logo, which definitely adds value to the product lineup. AMD has also indicated that Project FreeSync will work with AMD Radeon R7 260, R7 260X, R9 290 and R9 290X graphics cards, as well as with Kabini, Temash, Beema and Mullins APUs in the future. Using the technology will require a supporting graphics card with a DisplayPort output, a supporting monitor, and of course the appropriate drivers.

"Project FreeSync is an AMD effort to leverage industry standards, like DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, to deliver dynamic refresh rates." said AMD's Robert Hallock, "Dynamic refresh rates synchronize the refresh rate of a compatible monitor to the framerate of a user’s AMD Radeon graphics to reduce or eliminate stuttering, juddering and/or tearing during gaming and video playback."

Whether Nvidia will implement the technology in the future remains uncertain, though given that this is a free standard, making it much cheaper than Nvidia's proprietary G-Sync, it'll probably just be a matter of time before Nvidia will have to adopt it simply because monitors with VESA Adaptive-Sync will likely be a lot more widely available than G-Sync capable monitors. Speaking of which, according to AMD, Adaptive-Sync capable monitors are expected to hit the market between six and twelve months from now, meaning that hopefully we'll still see some this year!

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  • 11 Hide
    shogunofharlom , May 14, 2014 6:49 PM
    AMD is kicking nVidia's arse this year. Console win, bitcoin win, 290x win, 295x win, Freesync win, 7850k win, API/Mantle win, AMD killed Crossifre bridges too. What has nVidia done? They dropped the price on their POS handheld, released a gimped 28nm version of their MIA new architecture, got embarrassed with G-sync, and debuted a card so hideously overpriced they are ashamed of releasing it. The irony is that they remain more profitable than AMD. Is there any justice in the world?
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Dschwin , May 14, 2014 2:46 PM
    Will Adaptive-Sync be the same as G-Sync where it only works with games if the game is played in full screen mode? I was going to get a do it yourself kit for G-Sync for my monitor until I read it doesn't work on windowed mode games.
  • -5 Hide
    DarkSable , May 14, 2014 3:13 PM
    Wait, it requires driver support from AMD? We'll see how that goes...
  • -3 Hide
    pezonator , May 14, 2014 3:16 PM
    A big win! I can picture AMD holding Nvidia around the neck, lifting them off the ground and punching them in the face.
  • 1 Hide
    brisa117 , May 14, 2014 3:21 PM
    Quote:
    Will Adaptive-Sync be the same as G-Sync where it only works with games if the game is played in full screen mode? I was going to get a do it yourself kit for G-Sync for my monitor until I read it doesn't work on windowed mode games.


    That's a good question. I imagine it probably would only work in full screen (for now). The same is true for 3D. You have to be in full screen mode for it to work. But that's more likely a resolution problem. I'm sure we'll hear more about it soon when monitors start to come out!
  • 1 Hide
    caqde , May 14, 2014 4:49 PM
    It doesn't work in windowed mode (like 3D) because you would need an adaptive refresh rate that effects only part of the monitor. I'm sure that might be possible in the future but I'm not sure when or if that would be implemented I could see it being done easily with OLED displays but the question is if they would make a chip for the displays and drivers for the GPU's capable of allowing handling such a feature.
  • 11 Hide
    shogunofharlom , May 14, 2014 6:49 PM
    AMD is kicking nVidia's arse this year. Console win, bitcoin win, 290x win, 295x win, Freesync win, 7850k win, API/Mantle win, AMD killed Crossifre bridges too. What has nVidia done? They dropped the price on their POS handheld, released a gimped 28nm version of their MIA new architecture, got embarrassed with G-sync, and debuted a card so hideously overpriced they are ashamed of releasing it. The irony is that they remain more profitable than AMD. Is there any justice in the world?
  • 1 Hide
    Johan Kryger Haglert , May 14, 2014 10:22 PM
    Quote:
    AMD is kicking nVidia's arse this year. Console win, bitcoin win, 290x win, 295x win, Freesync win, 7850k win, API/Mantle win, AMD killed Crossifre bridges too. What has nVidia done? They dropped the price on their POS handheld, released a gimped 28nm version of their MIA new architecture, got embarrassed with G-sync, and debuted a card so hideously overpriced they are ashamed of releasing it. The irony is that they remain more profitable than AMD. Is there any justice in the world?
    Do the AMD cards still require more power? Nvidia still have PhysX acceleration in their graphics cards but that may not be worth all that much. Also their Linux drivers likely still perform better and only they have (afaik) proprietary drivers for FreeBSD and Solaris.

    AMD free drivers are improving though but it's not like they are up to closed nvidia standard in speed.
  • -2 Hide
    CBHorn , May 14, 2014 10:34 PM
    No R9 280/280X support?
  • 5 Hide
    eldragon0 , May 15, 2014 12:09 AM
    Quote:
    Wait, it requires driver support from AMD? We'll see how that goes...


    Man... some fanbois just can't let it go.
  • -4 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 15, 2014 12:19 AM
    NV already here, this will take at least a year and only if people update scalers (AMD will face same as NV here). Also Gsync is a hardware solution that fixes all problems unlike freesync which is a solution by a company that can't afford R&D for the real deal (how will latency be and will AMD's drivers be good?). At $100 on debut, gsync will be much cheaper when integrated rather than an add-on. Also I don't think monitor makers will pass up a chance to label something a "NEW" feature and charge you to get it. Why would they bother changing out stuff immediately without a financial benefit. No different than we saw with the ridiculous fees for installing gsync at some places.

    "which definitely adds value to the product lineup"
    I agree...And they will charge you for this. Probably a $100...LOL.

    Biggest thing to note here, you depend on AMD drivers and they can't afford to fix the last model's drivers. Also it will cost you a new card and monitor just like NV so why not buy the real thing with an end to end fix? Already have an AMD card that works with displayport? The same can be said on NV's side and a much bigger share of the market supports gsync on the card already as NV owns 65% share vs. AMD 35%.

    If NV is smart they'll support it in a driver they won't release until forced to (this is just plain good business). I'd fire any manager that didn't push that idea. You spent R&D on gsync so ride it until forced out of it and attempt to kill the crap way to solve this (freesync is "FREE" for a reason, it's second rate). Proprietary is good when it's better as long as it's pretty affordable. I'd easily hand over $100 today to get out of tearing, jutter, lag/stutter...Don't forget new monitors with gsync built in will be removing a chip by default not being replaced after so you're already taking some of the $100 off just by not replacing the chip. Also don't forget SCALER tech has to be updated to support freesync (which is why it's not in any desktop monitor, they have been slow to update scalers), so raise your hand if you think that R&D is free...Nobody. :) 

    Why did NV create the FPGA? Because the one in the monitors right now can't get the job done. We had problems that couldn't be fixed currently so NV solved it with a card. That isn't nefarious it's called DOING YOUR JOB. Your experience is better with GSYNC than without. If you created something (anything) today, would you give it away free? Are you evil for charging?...LOL. Don't start a business, you've already failed before starting as business is in business to make money, period.

    What this article should say is Gsync monitors will be popping up all over shortly, NOT freesync. They'd be here already if NV hadn't ran into silicon problems or maybe tough to do anyway, so how well do you think AMD will handle an "issue" that pops up? 2yrs and phase 3 again? You can downrate me for saying it but this is a fact we've seen play out over the last 2yrs. No denying this.

    Considering after you remove the chip it's probably $50 including it in a monitor, I'll take the real solution and count on NV vs AMD drivers. Love AMD or not, you're not paying attention if you think AMD's drivers are not an issue. Phase 3. Nuff said.

    And for people who rant on NV proprietary stuff. It's the reason freesync was checked into for desktops, and a software solution isn't the WHOLE answer to the problem. How free is it if you have to buy the same crap as anyone on Gsync side? Actually no cables on NV side, you already have them and need new everything on AMD side. Open stuff is great unless it's worse. I'm guessing integrated gsync will be under $50, but I'm being cautious here.

    AMD=new card or cpu+monitor (as no desktop monitors have the tech)+AMD drivers (?)
    NV=new card+monitor+nv drivers.

    Difference about $50 on integrated stuff (or less) and we all know the driver story...I'll gladly pay a premium today for something I live with for 5+ years. Don't forget if AMD is pushing something that doesn't make them a dime...Well, it doesn't make them a dime. You can't do R&D without making some dimes ;)  Which is why drivers are going into phase 3 for 2yr old tech (no dimes), why retail 290/290x had issues (had to crank the fans on 290 and 290x ref had throttle issues), enduro has issues, gave up cpu race, etc etc... It shouldn't take you two years to support your product properly. We'll probably be on DX12 before AMD fixes their dx9/10 driver support, or maybe they'll never get it fixed.

    You all should be crying for AMD to CHARGE for any product they have or are involved in (and I mean a GOOD price so they can PROFIT). Anyone not crying for AMD to make money hasn't looked at their 10yr summary of finances. You can't win any war losing ~7Billion over 10yrs and ~2Bil debt. They have to earn ~225mil just to pay interest on the debt before they make a dime. I can't understand people who chant "amd is awesome giving us free crap"...Yeah all the way to bankruptcy. Your free products, cheap product chants etc are killing AMD. You should want BOTH sides making money so the war can go on forever.
  • 4 Hide
    cypeq , May 15, 2014 2:58 AM
    Quote:
    NV already here, this will take at least a year and only if people update scalers (AMD will face same as NV here). Also Gsync is a hardware solution that fixes all problems unlike freesync which is a solution by a company that can't afford R&D for the real deal (how will latency be and will AMD's drivers be good?). At $100 on debut, gsync will be much cheaper when.............


    Sir Stop... fundamental improvements should be a industry standards. AMD seems to understand this. They were working on this feature for battery devices with VESA since before g-sync as a power saving feature (less refreshing less power).

    I do hope it wont have latency problems because of sheer amount NVIDIA fanboys with rageboners.
    If there was a battle Nvidia has already lost it... Display Port adaptation is cheap for screen manufacturers in 5 years this will be in every display port monitor, because it's a standard now we just need to wait for industry to release their new screen lineups. That's they key for widespread, not specialised monitor versions at premium price.
  • 4 Hide
    Mysteoa , May 15, 2014 3:09 AM
    Quote:
    Biggest thing to note here, you depend on AMD drivers and they can't afford to fix the last model's drivers. Also it will cost you a new card and monitor just like NV so why not buy the real thing with an end to end fix? Already have an AMD card that works with displayport? The same can be said on NV's side and a much bigger share of the market supports gsync on the card already as NV owns 65% share vs. AMD 35%.


    Not true. R 2xx series will support it. So you only need a Monitor and AMD to update the driver.

    Quote:

    If NV is smart they'll support it in a driver they won't release until forced to (this is just plain good business). I'd fire any manager that didn't push that idea. You spent R&D on gsync so ride it until forced out of it and attempt to kill the crap way to solve this (freesync is "FREE" for a reason, it's second rate). Proprietary is good when it's better as long as it's pretty affordable. I'd easily hand over $100 today to get out of tearing, jutter, lag/stutter...Don't forget new monitors with gsync built in will be removing a chip by default not being replaced after so you're already taking some of the $100 off just by not replacing the chip. Also don't forget SCALER tech has to be updated to support freesync (which is why it's not in any desktop monitor, they have been slow to update scalers), so raise your hand if you think that R&D is free...Nobody. :) 
    There is monitors already on the market, but needs firmware update. Which is unlikely to happen and to pass Vesa A-sync test.

    Quote:

    And for people who rant on NV proprietary stuff. It's the reason freesync was checked into for desktops, and a software solution isn't the WHOLE answer to the problem. How free is it if you have to buy the same crap as anyone on Gsync side? Actually no cables on NV side, you already have them and need new everything on AMD side. Open stuff is great unless it's worse. I'm guessing integrated gsync will be under $50, but I'm being cautious here.


    It is not soft solution the GPU will drive the V-blank in the monitor incited of add-in bord of NV.
    Quote:

    AMD=new card or cpu+monitor (as no desktop monitors have the tech)+AMD drivers (?)
    NV=new card+monitor+nv drivers.

    It is the same for NV and AMD. If you don't have last gen card. You will need one. NV still has only one G-sync monitor at the moment.

    Quote:

    Difference about $50 on integrated stuff (or less) and we all know the driver story...I'll gladly pay a premium today for something I live with for 5+ years. Don't forget if AMD is pushing something that doesn't make them a dime...Well, it doesn't make them a dime. You can't do R&D without making some dimes ;)  Which is why drivers are going into phase 3 for 2yr old tech (no dimes), why retail 290/290x had issues (had to crank the fans on 290 and 290x ref had throttle issues), enduro has issues, gave up cpu race, etc etc... It shouldn't take you two years to support your product properly. We'll probably be on DX12 before AMD fixes their dx9/10 driver support, or maybe they'll never get it fixed.


    You keep bashing AMD drivers they are not what they used to be, same as NV. They to have problems.
  • 6 Hide
    deksman , May 15, 2014 4:24 AM
    Quote:
    this is a year off, where as nvidia's "hardware" solution is already on the market.


    Incorrect.
    AMD's solution was already available for some time, it was simply never used.
    AMD uses existing hardware and only has to provide driver support to include the function... Nvidia's solution requires new hardware chip that does the same thing and is proprietary (which monitor manufacturers have to agree to use - and that seems unlikely since AMD's solution does the same thing with far less cost).
  • 2 Hide
    ubercake , May 15, 2014 5:37 AM
    There are supposed to be 2560x1440 120Hz+ G-sync monitors available in 2Q (this quarter... so before the end of June?) this year.

    Where my G-sync at!??

    I like the idea of G-sync, but I would rather support some open standard such as Adaptive-sync. Adaptive-sync makes sense just as G-sync makes sense, but if Nvidia doesn't embrace the adaptive sync, we may as well call AMD's implementation proprietary as well, since there are no other players in the GPU market.

    See what I'm saying here? If AMD can't sell Adaptive-sync to Nvidia, AMD is the only player using Adaptive-sync (at least from the PC standpoint). Gahhhh!

    We really need a 3rd player in this market to keep things (prices and tech) honest.
  • 1 Hide
    cypeq , May 15, 2014 7:42 AM
    Quote:
    There are supposed to be 2560x1440 120Hz+ G-sync monitors available in 2Q (this quarter... so before the end of June?) this year.

    Where my G-sync at!??

    I like the idea of G-sync, but I would rather support some open standard such as Adaptive-sync. Adaptive-sync makes sense just as G-sync makes sense, but if Nvidia doesn't embrace the adaptive sync, we may as well call AMD's implementation proprietary as well, since there are no other players in the GPU market.

    See what I'm saying here? If AMD can't sell Adaptive-sync to Nvidia, AMD is the only player using Adaptive-sync (at least from the PC standpoint). Gahhhh!

    We really need a 3rd player in this market to keep things (prices and tech) honest.


    This will be VESA standard for display port. Adaptation will be very wide while gsync will be very expensive and requiring agreement each time between manufacturer and nvidia.

  • -1 Hide
    josejones , May 15, 2014 7:50 AM
    But why even mess around with DisplayPort 1.2 when it's already almost an old standard?

    DisplayPort 1.3 is due out any time now.

    http://www.displayport.org
  • 0 Hide
    Jaroslav Jandek , May 15, 2014 8:37 AM
    People don't seem to realize that Adaptive-Sync displays still need a VRR ASIC (very much like the G-Sync board) - the manufacturing costs may actually be similar. Also, you can bet there will be different implementations of those boards with different qualities (unless they all use a single OEM).
    Quote:
    Will Adaptive-Sync be the same as G-Sync where it only works with games if the game is played in full screen mode? I was going to get a do it yourself kit for G-Sync for my monitor until I read it doesn't work on windowed mode games.
    Of course it will be the same. Windowed games do not and cannot control the refresh rate - such a feature needs OS support (or sneaky drivers).
    To be precise, there are features to control refresh rate, but aren't very adaptive - eg. power saving via DxgkDdiSetVidPnSourceAddress (WDDM 1.3+).
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , May 15, 2014 10:12 AM
    Quote:
    Man... some fanbois just can't let it go.


    I have a pair of AMD cards sitting around. I love AMD for their price/performance, but since I've gone small form factor, their heat production has become an issue... and since I've switched over to nvidia cards, I have to admit, the drivers haven't given me hell on a regular basis.

    (And if you're calling me a fanboy, just look at pezonator and shogunofharlom...)
  • 1 Hide
    ubercake , May 15, 2014 11:33 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Man... some fanbois just can't let it go.


    I have a pair of AMD cards sitting around. I love AMD for their price/performance, but since I've gone small form factor, their heat production has become an issue... and since I've switched over to nvidia cards, I have to admit, the drivers haven't given me hell on a regular basis.

    (And if you're calling me a fanboy, just look at pezonator and shogunofharlom...)


    Same here. I haven't had but one driver issue since I went to Nvidia cards and that one time was only with the installation through the Geforce Experience. I still have nightmares about my Radeon 5850s and the drivers. It was nothing but issues back then.

    I have become AMD-curious again with the release of the R9 290 and 290x, though.

    Personally, I hate to have a choice between only two GPU chip producers. With only two, they can't help but collude over prices on us. Not throwing out accusations but its not a coincidence they both jumped up flagship GPU prices by $200-$300 at the same darn time. It's like gas stations across the street from each other staring at each other's price signs, but we're not talking commodities here.
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