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VESA Adds Adaptive-Sync to DisplayPort 1.2a Standard

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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Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.