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AMD Clarifies FreeSync Labels With Two New Specifications

AMD FreeSync display
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD announced the new FreeSync Premium and FreeSync Premium Pro labels to go along with the existing “FreeSync” technology yesterday. The company also said that it expects over 1,000 displays to be FreeSync-certified in January 2020.

FreeSync Premium

The FreeSync Premium specification includes requirements such as the display having a refresh rate of at least 120Hz and a resolution of at least 1920x1080. It will also incorporate low-frame rate compensation (LFC), which will enable gameplay that is motion judder- and tearing-free when the game frame rate is below that of the screen’s refresh rate and V-SYNC is enabled. 

This feature has always come with Nvidia’s G-Sync, because G-Sync required additional hardware, while the basic FreeSync has been a software-only solution. FreeSync Premium aims to fix this shortcoming and make it a little easier for consumers to choose a FreeSync display that, at least in theory, works as well one of its G-Sync enabled counterparts at low frame rates.

FreeSyncFreeSync PremiumFreeSync Premium Pro
Tear-freeAt least 120Hz at minimum with Full HD resolutionHDR capabilities and game support
Low-flickerLow frame rate compensationAt least 120Hz at minimum with Full HD resolution
Low-latencyTear-freeLow frame rate compensation
Low-flickerTear-free
Low-latencyLow-flicker
Low-latency in SDR and HDR

FreeSync Premium Pro

FreeSync Premium Pro, previously known as FreeSync 2 HDR, includes all of the features mentioned above such as smooth motion and no tearing at both high and low frame rates with the additional support for HDR. Just like FreeSync Premium, it will also be seen only on displays that have a minimum resolution of Full HD and a minimum 120Hz refresh rate.

AMD noted in its announcement that regardless of the specification, all FreeSync monitors will be tested to enable low-flicker and low-latency gaming. However, if you want to experience smooth gaming on lower-end hardware or intend to use your gaming rig to play all the latest games years from now, you should go for FeeSync Premium monitors (or TVs). If you want HDR gaming, you’ll need to choose FreeSync Premium Pro.

  • jimmysmitty
    LFC is pretty big. Its one of the main advantages over FreeSYNC for GSYNC, that it includes it no matter what. So long as FreeSYNC can match GSYNC and keep the price down it can make for better competition.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Agreed - though, since it existed prior to this, well, my son's monitor has allowed him to take advantage of this for about 2 years now (got his monitor back in October 2017).
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Wanna bet AMD put licensing requirements on it that says the label but be prominently displayed on all units sold?
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    King_V said:
    Agreed - though, since it existed prior to this, well, my son's monitor has allowed him to take advantage of this for about 2 years now (got his monitor back in October 2017).

    My hope is that these standards will require it. The biggest difference between GSYNC and FreeSYNC was that GSYNC required certain features such as LFC. FreeSYNC had features but hardware manufactures could pick and choose. Thats why there were super cheap FreeSYNC monitors very soon after it came out, they typically had a very low refresh rate range and didn't support most any other features.

    However if the Premium and Premium Pro mean they have to support those features to have that labeling on them I think its a step in the right direction instead of just being a free for all.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Ah, I should've clarified and say "it existed previously" meaning LFC. But, yeah, I agree with the idea that something is specified, versus a monitor saying it has LFC, and another simply not mentioning it (it would've been nice that they specify "does not support LFC" but I guess that would mean a few lost sales)
    Reply
  • bit_user
    FreeSync 2 monitors have been virtually absent from the market, since its introduction. I hope the situation with Premium Pro is better.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    This is a good update to the terminology, and one that AMD should have probably done sooner. Most recent FreeSync gaming screens should support high refresh rates and LFC, and could classify as "FreeSync Premium" displays, but there are also a lot of standard-refresh displays that support FreeSync, and even a few high-refresh displays with limited refresh windows that prevent the use of LFC. It's fine that those screens exist, as they can still provide many of the benefits of a FreeSync display at lower price points, but it's good to have a way to easily clarify whether all these features are supported, since the supported refresh window and LFC are something that often isn't advertised.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    cryoburner said:
    the supported refresh window ... often isn't advertised.
    When I've shopped FreeSync monitors on Newegg, I've always been able to see the min & max refresh rates.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Do any FreeSync displays support backlight strobing? If so, how would one know? Or do you have to look for that being advertised as a distinct feature?
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    bit_user said:
    When I've shopped FreeSync monitors on Newegg, I've always been able to see the min & max refresh rates.
    The minimums are rarely ever listed. I just checked the "Gaming Monitors" section of Newegg to verify, and out of the first seven "featured" screens that came up (a variety of high to low-end models), I couldn't find the minimum refresh range or any mention of LFC on any of their product pages, whether on the overview or the specifications tab. Maybe it could be found for certain screens by searching in the user Q&A section, but the manufacturers typically are not advertising it.

    bit_user said:
    Do any FreeSync displays support backlight strobing? If so, how would one know? Or do you have to look for that being advertised as a distinct feature?
    Some do, but I think they advertise it under their own product names, such as "ELMB" on certain Asus screens. I'm not aware of any that allow both backlight strobing and FreeSync to be enabled at the same time though. In any case, unlike LFC, that's not really a feature directly related to adaptive sync, but rather something to improve perceived pixel response times.
    Reply