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!