Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | July 29, 2014 - 09:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vesa, nvidia, g-sync, freesync, DisplayPort, amd
Dynamic refresh rates have two main purposes: save power by only forcing the monitor to refresh when a new frame is available, and increase animation smoothness by synchronizing to draw rates (rather than "catching the next bus" at 16.67ms, on the 16.67ms, for 60 Hz monitors). Mobile devices prefer the former, while PC gamers are interested in the latter.
Obviously, the video camera nullifies the effect.
NVIDIA was first to make this public with G-Sync. AMD responded with FreeSync, starting with a proposal that was later ratified by VESA as DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. AMD, then, took up "Project FreeSync" as an AMD "hardware/software solution" to make use of DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync in a way that benefits PC gamers.
Today's news is that AMD has just released an FAQ which explains the standard much more thoroughly than they have in the past. For instance, it clarifies the distinction between DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync and Project FreeSync. Prior to the FAQ, I thought that FreeSync became DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, and that was that. Now, it is sounding a bit more proprietary, just built upon an open, VESA standard.
If interested, check out the FAQ at AMD's website.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 4, 2014 - 12:40 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: gsync, g-sync, freesync, DisplayPort, computex 2014, computex, adaptive sync
AMD FreeSync is likely a technology or brand or term that is going to be used a lot between now and the end of 2014. When NVIDIA introduced variable refresh rate monitor technology to the world in October of last year, one of the immediate topics of conversation was the response that AMD was going to have. NVIDIA's G-Sync technology is limited to NVIDIA graphics cards and only a few (actually just one still as I write this) monitors actually have the specialized hardware to support it. In practice though, variable refresh rate monitors fundamentally change the gaming experience for the better.
At CES, AMD went on the offensive and started showing press a hacked up demo of what they called "FreeSync", a similar version of the variable refresh technology working on a laptop. At the time, the notebook was a requirement of the demo because of the way AMD's implementation worked. Mobile displays have previously included variable refresh technologies in order to save power and battery life. AMD found that it could repurpose that technology to emulate the effects that NVIDIA G-Sync creates - a significantly smoother gaming experience without the side effects of Vsync.
Our video preview of NVIDIA G-Sync Technology
Since that January preview, things have progressed for the "FreeSync" technology. Taking the idea to the VESA board responsible for the DisplayPort standard, in April we found out that VESA had adopted the technology and officially and called it Adaptive Sync.
So now what? AMD is at Computex and of course is taking the opportunity to demonstrate a "FreeSync" monitor with the DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive Sync feature at work. Though they aren't talking about what monitor it is or who the manufacturer is, the demo is up and running and functions with frame rates wavering between 40 FPS and 60 FPS - the most crucial range of frame rates that can adversely affect gaming experiences. AMD has a windmill demo running on the system, perfectly suited to showing Vsync enabled (stuttering) and Vsync disabled (tearing) issues with a constantly rotating object. It is very similar to the NVIDIA clock demo used to show off G-Sync.
The demo system is powered by an AMD FX-8350 processor and Radeon R9 290X graphics card. The monitor is running at 2560x1440 and is the very first working prototype of the new standard. Even more interesting, this is a pre-existing display that has had its firmware updated to support Adaptive Sync. That's potentially exciting news! Monitors COULD BE UPGRADED to support this feature, but AMD warns us: "...this does not guarantee that firmware alone can enable the feature, it does reveal that some scalar/LCD combinations are already sufficiently advanced that they can support some degree of DRR (dynamic refresh rate) and the full DPAS (DisplayPort Adaptive Sync) specification through software changes."
The time frame for retail available monitors using DP 1.2a is up in the air but AMD has told us that the end of 2014 is entirely reasonable. Based on the painfully slow release of G-Sync monitors into the market, AMD has less of a time hole to dig out of than we originally thought, which is good. What is not good news though is that this feature isn't going to be supported on the full range of AMD Radeon graphics cards. Only the Radeon R9 290/290X and R7 260/260X (and the R9 295X2 of course) will actually be able to support the "FreeSync" technology. Compare that to NVIDIA's G-Sync: it is supported by NVIDIA's entire GTX 700 and GTX 600 series of cards.
All that aside, seeing the first official prototype of "FreeSync" is awesome and is getting me pretty damn excited about the variable refresh rate technologies once again! Hopefully we'll get some more hands on time (eyes on, whatever) with a panel in the near future to really see how it compares to the experience that NVIDIA G-Sync provides. There is still the chance that the technologies are not directly comparable and some in-depth testing will be required to validate.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 03:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: XB280HK, g-sync, computex 2014, computex, acer, 4k
Speaking of G-Sync monitors, Acer has announced a 4K monitor ahead of Computex with NVIDIA's adaptive refresh rate technology. While they do not ever say that it is 60Hz, I believe that it is. It also seems to be based on a TN panel. It, being G-Sync, connects with DisplayPort 1.2 and also includes four USB 3.0 ports. It, however, does not seem to support the competing AMD's FreeSync, integrated into VESA's DisplayPort 1.2a standard.
We do not currently have an image of the monitor
4K could be where we really start seeing benefits for G-Sync. At that resolution, it is very difficult to get a system, regardless of how many GPUs are inside it, which can play the most modern of games without dipping below 60 FPS. Once you miss your 16.67 millisecond window, your game starts hitching between images living 33.33ms and 16.67ms, when each frame is supposed to be presented at a constant rate.
As for pricing and availability: Q2 (early May to end of July). That's all we know.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 02:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: g-sync, displays, display, computex 2014, computex, asus, 2560x1440, 144hz, 1440p
NVIDIA's G-Sync allows video cards to time the refresh rate of monitors. This is an advantage because the GPU knows when a frame is actually ready to be displayed to the user. The initial batch of announcements were each 1080p monitors, which are least likely to dip down into the 30-60Hz gap where G-Sync is noticeable.
Today at Computex, ASUS has announced a 27", 2560x1440, 144Hz G-Sync display. This higher resolution is starting to reach the point where faster graphics cards struggle to maintain 60 FPS. Not only that, but it is one of the first 1440p panels that you can get which supports high (over 100Hz) refresh rates, officially. Others exist, but "rare" is an understatement.
Its response rate is 1ms (GTG) which, unfortunately, suggests a TN panel. This might be a deal-breaker for some, but if you are looking for a G-Sync, 1440p, and high refresh rate panel, then it might be an acceptable compromise.
The ASUS PG278Q is available in Q2, which ASUS seems to define as the beginning of May to the end of July, for $799 USD. Unfortunately for AMD fans, the panel does not seem to support FreeSync, recently added to DisplayPort 1.2a. FreeSync, of course, is the competitor to G-Sync that AMD proposed to the VESA standards body.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: Displays | May 22, 2014 - 11:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: nvidia, monitor, g-sync, acer, 4k
We've been talking about the benefits 4K for a while, most recently with the Samsung U28D590D, which added single-stream 60Hz support to the mix, but there have certainly been some drawbacks with 4K monitors to date. Between usually low refresh rates and the general problem of getting smooth images on the screen (not to mention the high price of entry into 4K) there have been some legitimate questions about when to upgrade. Well, an interesting new product announcement from a surprising source might change things.
With a logo like that, who needs product photos?
Today, Acer is announcing an interesting alternative: the world’s first 4K monitor with integrated NVIDIA G-SYNC technology.
The XB280HK will be a 28" display, and (provided you have an NVIDIA graphics card and were looking to make the move to 4K) the benefits of G-SYNC - which include minimizing stutter and eliminating tearing - seem ideal for extremely high-res gaming.
We’ll be eagerly awaiting a look at the performance of this new monitor. (Or even a look at it, since Acer did not release a product photo!)
The details are scarce, but Acer says this will be a part of their “XB0” series of gaming monitors. Here are some specs for this 28” 3840x2160 display, which features three proprietary technologies from Acer:
- “Flicker-less” which Acer says is implemented at the power supply level to reduce screen flicker
- “Low-dimming” which sounds like an ambient light sensor to dim the monitor in low light
- “ComfyView” non-glare screen
Of interest, the Acer XB280HK is likely using a TN panel given the claimed "170/170 degree" viewing angle.
The hardware needed for good 4K frame rates are definitely up there, and with G-SYNC onboard the XB280HK will probably not be in the low-end of the 4K price range, but we shall see!
Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2014 - 02:36 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, z97, gigabyte, Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK, black edition, Samsung, u28d590d, asus, ROG, g-sync, freesync, titan z, 295x2
PC Perspective Podcast #300!!! - 05/15/2014
Join us this week for our 300th podcast as we discuss the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming Black Edition, a $599 Samsung 4K Monitor and much more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Morry Tietelman
What happened 100 Episodes ago…
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 12, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: g-sync, freesync, displayport 1.2a, adaptive sync
AMD might have originally thought that dynamic refresh rates were not worth adding to their machines but they did develop FreeSync quite a while ago and now that G-Sync is available they've changed their minds. Even better for the consumer is the way that they went about releasing it; not as proprietary hardware which is only compatible with certain monitors but as an update to the DisplayPort standard which does not require any extra hardware. We do still have a while to wait before these monitors hit the shelves, the display scaler and control chips manufactures will have to incorporate the new standard into their designs but once they do they should be functional on both NVIDIA and AMD as long as you are connecting with DisplayPort. Read more about the process on The Tech Report.
Also, you can read the official VESA press release.
"PC gaming animation may soon become more fluid than ever, thanks to a development just announced by the folks at the VESA display standards organization. VESA has officially added a feature called Adaptive Sync to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which means that a G-Sync-style adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every new desktop monitor in the coming months and years."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 154: AMD's K12, OCZ's future and the Z97 invasion begins
- Windows 8.1 Update Deadline Pushed Back @ [H]ard|OCP
- Choose Your Favorite Open Source SBC, Enter to Win Prizes @ Linux.com
- Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 could end up in microservers @ The Inquirer
- ARM lays the foundation for a data center invasion @ The Tech Report
- Don't fret over SOHO routers and Heartbleed. But yeah, there's LOADS to fear on home kit @ The Register
- HyperX Event at 2BY2 @ Madshrimps
- Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor @ eTeknix
Subject: Displays | January 17, 2014 - 06:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vg248qe, nvidia, gaming, g-sync, DIY, asus
NVIDIA's new G-Sync variable refresh rate technology is slowly being rolled out to consumers in the form of new monitors and DIY upgrade kits that can be used to add G-Sync functionality to existing displays. The first G-Sync capable monitor to support the DIY upgrade kit path is the ASUS VG248QE which is a 24" 1080p 144Hz TN panel. The monitor itself costs around $270 and the you can now purchase a G-Sync DIY upgrade kit from NVIDIA for $199.
The upgrade kit comes with a replacement controller board, power supply, HDMI cable, plastic spudger, IO shields, and installation instructions. Users will need to take apart the VG248QE monitor, remove the old PCBs and install the G-Sync board in its place. According to NVIDIA the entire process takes about 30 minutes though if this is your first time digging into monitor internals it will likely take closer to an hour to install.
The NVIDIA G-Sync DIY kit below the ASUS VG248QE monitor.
For help with installation, NVIDIA has posted a video of the installation process on YouTube. If you find text and photos easier, you can follow the installation guides written up for PC Perspective by Allyn Malventano and reader Levi Kendall. Both DIY kit reviews stated that the process, while a bit involved, was possible for most gamers to perform with a bit of guidance.
You can order the DIY upgrade kit yourself from this NVIDIA page.
Alternatively, ASUS is also releasing an updated version of the VG248QE monitor with the G-Sync board pre-installed in the first half of this year. This updated G-Sync monitor will have an MSRP of $399.
With the G-Sync kit at $199, will you be going the DIY path or waiting for a new monitor with the technology pre-installed?
Read more about NVIDIA's G-Sync display technology at PC Perspective including first impressions, installation, and more!
Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 07:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: monitor, g-sync, CES 2014, CES, benq, 3d vision
BenQ has announced two new monitors that will incorporate NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. The 24-inch XL2420G and 27-inch XL2720G will both be available in Q1 2014. Both monitors have 144 Hz refresh rates and will support three display modes: G-Sync, Low Motion Blur, and 3D Vision. In addition to G-Sync technology, the monitors support ResolutionEyes technology which is a set of features designed to make prolonged gaming sessions easier on the eyes.
BenQ's 27-inch G-Sync gaming monitor.
According to NVIDIA, the 24-inch and 27-inch BenQ monitors will sport a 1920x1080 resolution on an uspecificed panel time. Unfortunately, BenQ has not revealed whether it is using TN, IPS, or some other panel technology nor what the response time is beyond stating that it is "ultra fast" (which may imply a TN panel...). We do know that the monitors are hieght adjustable.
Both G-Sync capable monitors will be available in Q1 2014 at not-yet-released prices. It is promising to see other monitor manufacturers supporting G-Sync out of the box.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2014 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tom petersen, nvidia, g-sync, free sync, CES 2014, amd
AMD's free sync has been getting a lot of well deserved attention at this years CES, Ryan had a chance to see it in action if you haven't checked out his look at AMD's under reported and under utilized feature. AMD missed an opportunity with this technology which NVIDIA picked up on with their G-Sync. NVIDIA has responded to The Tech Report's comments from yesterday, Tom Petersen stated that while free sync may be an alternative on laptops, desktop displays are a different beast. They utilize different connections and there is generally a scaler chip between the GPU and the display. Read his full comments here.
"AMD demoed its "free sync" alternative to G-Sync on laptops. Desktop displays are different, Nvidia says, and they may not support the variable refresh rate tech behind AMD's solution—at least not yet."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Globalfoundries names ex-Motorola CEO as new chief @ DigiTimes
- Micron renews DRAM pricing at Inotera @ DigiTimes
- Intel ditches McAfee brand: 'THANK GOD' shouts McAfee the man @ The Register
- CES 2014 EVGA Visit @ Hardware Asylum
- Shows HyperX PCIe SSD, Fury Memory, microDuo Flash Drive and More @ Legit Reviews
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