You probably remember that our first experience with FreeSync was, to say the least, disappointing. We would like to remind you that behind the name FreeSync lies AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s G-Sync, that is to say a technology for the handling of variable display refresh rates. The idea behind this concept is that it helps to improve the game-play experience by providing an increased sensation of fluidity. How is FreeSync doing these days you might ask? As long as the proper monitor is used, it actually works quite well and costs quite a bit less than G-Sync!
After much fanfare in January 2014, the arrival of the first FreeSync compatible monitor had to wait until March of 2015. And, unfortunately, their performance was far from impressive. On paper, the advantages offered by this technique of monitor management were many fold, starting with the fact that it relied on an open technology standard which is much less costly than that of Nvidia’s G-Sync. However, entry-level monitors which didn’t provide the required fluidity left us feeling disappointed with the whole concept.
Adaptive-Sync, FreeSync and G-Sync
Under the banner of these three terms, or brands if you prefer, lies the technology for the management of variable refresh rates (VRR). A classic fixed refresh rate of 60 Hz will offer an imperfect visual experience when playing video games. As each image is different, it follows that the time required for the calculation of each image also differs. This discrepancy results in synchronization problems. While a higher refresh rate, of 144 Hz for example, decreases the impact of the problem it does not eliminate it entirely. The graphics card might miss a display cycle, spend too much time waiting for the next cycle or disregard a cycle entirely, all of which will result in image breakup (tearing).