AMD Demonstrates Prototype FreeSync Monitor with DisplayPort Adaptive Sync Feature

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 4, 2014 - 12:40 AM |
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

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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.

freesync2.jpg

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."

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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.

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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.

Computex 2014: Philips Announces Virtually Seamless Dual-Display IPS Monitor

Subject: Displays | June 3, 2014 - 10:50 PM |
Tagged: philips, ips, dual monitor, computex 2014, computex

Philips has announced what they are calling the worlds first "virtually seamless" two-in-one monitor.

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The Philips Two-in-One monitor proudly showing Computex gold (though not as prestigious as the PC Perspective gold award, of course...)

The 19DP6QJNS (love those model names, don't you?) is comprised of two separate 19" IPS displays on a single mount, and the ultra-thin 3.5mm bezels allow for the that "virtual" seamlessness.

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The announcement does not include screen resolution, and from the images the screens don't appear at least to be the usual 16:9 aspect ratio. Even without all of the details there is a clear advantage to a design with a reduced footprint. It's just a more, well, seemless (there's that word again) dual-monitor setup. Each display has its own video inputs, though they are different. The first display has a DisplayPort and VGA input, and the second has a VGA input and MHL-enabled HDMI input. The monitors can tilt up to 22 degrees, and each screen also has a pair of USB ports.

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So about the resolution... Philips states that this new product is "ideal for designers using 3D graphics or requiring extremely detailed information for CAD-CAM solutions," so one wouldn't be faulted for assuming a higher resolution panel here, but we will have to see. This is certainly a niche product, but anyone who has grown accustomed to a dual monitor setup will probably tell you they are more productive (and would never willingly go back). If this is reasonably priced, two IPS screens on a single stand would be a really attractive proposition.

The Philips 19DP6QJNS will be available fall 2014, and no pricing information yet.

Source: Philips

VESA Releases DockPort™ Standard

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | June 3, 2014 - 07:54 PM |
Tagged: vesa, dockport, DisplayPort, amd

Remember DockPort?  The three in one connection we have discussed in the past? The Thunderbolt-ish connection for devices with DisplayPort which allows transmission of —audio and video plus USB data and power all on one connector.  It's here!   (even if the devices aren't quite common yet)

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NEWARK, CA (3 June 2014) – The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced the release of the DockPort standard. Developed by several VESA member companies, DockPort is an optional extension of the DisplayPort standard that will allow USB 3.1 data and DC power for battery charging to be carried over a single DisplayPort connector and cable that also carries high-resolution audio/video (A/V) data.

This new extension of the DisplayPort standard is fully backward compatible with all existing DisplayPort devices. When a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort source —such as a computer or tablet— is connected with a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort sink— such as a display monitor or docking station —A/V plus USB data and power will be transferred over a common cable through a single connector. If either the source or sink device is not a DockPort-enabled, then source and sink will recognize only the DisplayPort A/V data stream.

“As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,” explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President - Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.”

DockPort is the first royalty-free industry standard that combines these three essential interface functions into a single connector. VESA first revealed its intention to develop this standard at the 2014 International Consumer Electrics Show. It anticipates that several vendors will demonstrate DockPort-enabled DisplayPort systems at Computex Taiwan, which begins today.

“Until today, most mobile computing platforms required three separate interfaces to support power charging, data transmission and external video,” said Chris Griffith, Business Development Manager for Consumer and Computing Interface at Texas Instruments, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has elegantly merged this ungainly tangle of wires into a single, sleek connector, combining power charging with the industry’s most popular data transport—USB—and the industry’s highest-speed A/V transport—DisplayPort. DockPort can reduce system implementation cost as designers can reduce external connectors and simplify docking implementations.”

VESA is developing a compliance test protocol to certify systems that meet the DockPort standard. Systems that satisfy this test protocol will be permitted to display VESA’s new DockPort logo on their packaging as a guide for consumers seeking this capability.

“The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard,” according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. “On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible A/V transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USB—it plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.”

Dockport VESA version.jpg

Source: VESA

Computex 2014: Acer XB280HK Is 28-inch 4K with G-Sync

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 03:27 PM |
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.

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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!

Source: Acer

Computex 2014: ASUS PG278Q Is G-Sync and 144Hz at 1440p

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 02:28 PM |
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.

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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!

Source: ASUS

Computex 2014: ASUS PA328Q 60Hz, Professional 4K Panel

Subject: General Tech, Displays | June 2, 2014 - 03:20 AM |
Tagged: pq321q, PA328Q, displays, display, computex 2014, computex, asus, 4k

You might remember the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor from last year that we loved. It was based on an IGZO panel and allowed for 60Hz via one DisplayPort 1.2 cable, running in Multi Stream Transport (MST). At Computex 2014, ASUS announced the PA328Q. This "ProArt" panel ships calibrated and offers 10-bit, 100% sRGB color representation. More interestingly, it supports HDMI 2.0 as well as DisplayPort 1.2, for 4K at 60Hz, apparently over a single cable.

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The monitor also has an extra mini DisplayPort connector and two HDMI 1.4 inputs. Also, four (4) USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack. I guess professionals like high-speed removable storage.

Some points that I would like to see clarified are:

  1. its Adobe RGB coverage (for printer color spaces)
  2. its panel type (I expect IGZO)
  3. and its pricing (and availability)...

I do not know how this fits in to the ASUS product stack, relative to the $3500 PQ321Q. It includes more modern connections and could hit the checkboxes for digital content creation at 4K. Its price might give us an idea about where it stands... or it might just blow our minds, one way or the other. For now, I don't know.

For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!

Source: ASUS
Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS

4K for $649

The growth and adoption of 4K resolution panels (most commonly 3840x2160) has really been the biggest story of the past year or so in the world of PC gaming. After a couple of TVs that ran at 3840x2160 over HDMI at 30 Hz found there way into our offices, the first real 60 Hz 4K monitor that I got some hands on time with was the ASUS PQ321Q. This monitor was definitely targeted at the profressional market with its IGZO display (near IPS quality) and somewhat high price tag of $3500. It has since dropped to $2400 or so but it remains somewhat complicated by the use of MST technology (multi-stream transport) that was required to hit 60 Hz.

Earlier this month I took a look at the Samsung U28D590D 28-in 4K panel that was capable of 60 Hz refresh rates for just $699. This display used a single-stream transport DisplayPort connection to keep setup simple but used a TN panel rather than IPS/IGZO. This meant viewing angles were not as strong (though better than most TN screens you have seen before) but...that price! 

Today we have our second low cost, SST 4K monitor to evaluate, the ASUS PB287Q. We saw it at CES back in January and with a launch date of June 10th and an MSRP $649, ASUS is setting itself up for an impressive release. 

So what can you expect if you purchase the ASUS PB287Q 4K monitor? In short you get an adequate screen that won't live up to IPS standards but is just good enough for the PC gamer and productivity user in all of us. You'll also get a form factor that well exceeds that of the Samsung U28D590D with fully moveable stand and VESA mounting. And a price of $649 for a 3840x2160 screen doesn't hurt either.

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Read on the next pages for more details on the user experience in Windows 8.1 as well as while gaming to see if this is the right monitor for you to buy this summer!

Continue reading our review of the ASUS PB287Q 4K 60 Hz 28-in Monitor!!

Acer Announces World's First 4K Display with NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology

Subject: Displays | May 22, 2014 - 11:30 PM |
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.

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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!

Source: Acer

Oculus VR Grabs Google Glass Electrical Engineer

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 18, 2014 - 03:19 AM |
Tagged: oculus vr, Oculus, facebook, google glass

Who would have thought that John Carmack would have opened the flood gates of talent to Facebook. Apparently, not only was he the first in a long list of people to join Oculus, a large chunk of his coworkers at id Software followed him over (if a Glassdoor review is to be trusted) in Februrary. Their latest grab is Adrian Wong, former senior hardware engineer for Google's Glass Explorer program.

Okay...

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Didn't see that one coming...

Clearly, something is happening at Oculus VR. This acquisition by Facebook is giving them a warchest to grab as much top talent as possible. Ironically, without Oculus, I doubt that most of these hires, if any, would happen. Without knowing the internal structure of Facebook and Oculus, it is hard to predict how much benefit the parent company can gather, but the acquisition could be paying for itself in raw talent.

The Oculus Rift DK2, announced at GDC, is currently a $350.00 pre-order and expected to ship in August.

Source: TechCrunch

Move over G-Sync! FreeSync arrives on DisplayPort 1.2a

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 12, 2014 - 03:29 PM |
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.

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"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."

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