Subject: Displays | July 31, 2017 - 03:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gsync, freesync
At recent AMD events, attendees were invited to try a blind sight test (an oxymoron if there ever was one) in which they had a chance to play on a AMD system with the new Vega GPU and Freesync as well as a machine powered by a GTX 1080 and G-Sync. The two machines and monitors were concealed so you could not tell which was which.
Seeing as how many of us did not have a chance to attend these conferences nor see the difference between the two, [H]ard|OCP decided to replicate the experiment, albeit with a GTX 1080 Ti in the G-Sync system. The two Windows 10 64-bit systems were powered by a AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU with 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz; the only difference was the GPU and display. The two displays were capable of up to a 100Hz refresh rate and the display settings were matched as well as humanly possible. The two monitors were a $720 ASUS MX34V with FreeSync and a $1300 ASUS PG348 G-Sync display, something worth noting for those with a shopping list.
Check out the video of the subjective experiences of the participants here, remembering that this is not exactly a rigid scientific experiment.
"Totally unscientific and subjective testing is scorned by many, so if that gets your panties in a bunch, I suggest you stop reading. We had the opportunity to preview AMD's RX Vega this weekend, and we put it up against NVIDIA's GTX 1080 Ti, both using 100Hz FreeSync and G-Sync panels, with our testers representing 223 combined years of gaming experience."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 144-165 Hz @ techPowerUp
- Philips BDM4350UC 43in 4k IPS @ Kitguru
- The Frame TV by Samsung Revealed! @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2017 - 10:38 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: xps, video, Samsung, Project Scorpio, powerplay, podcast, logitech, G433, g-sync, freesync, destiny 2, dell, cryptocurrency, corsair, Area-51, alienware
PC Perspective Podcast #454 - 06/15/17
Join us for talk about Cryptocurreny mining resurgence, XBox One X, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Subject: Displays | June 9, 2017 - 11:24 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Samsung, hdr, freesync 2, freesync, CHG90, CHG70, amd
Samsung made a surprise announcement this morning, taking the wraps off of the first FreeSync 2 monitors to grace our pages, officially. These gaming displays come in three difference sizes, one of them incredibly unique, and all with HDR support and Quantum Dot Technology to go along with the variable refresh rate technology of FreeSync.
All three displays utilize the QLED Quantum Dot tech first showcased in the QLED TV lineup launched just this past January at CES. It uses a new metal core and has some impressive color quality capabilities, going to 125% of the sRGB color space and 95% of the DCI-PE color space! I don't yet know what the peak luminance is, or how many backlight zones there might be for HDR support, but I have asked Samsung for clarification and will update here when I get feedback. All three displays use VA panels.
All three displays also become the first to pass certification with AMD for FreeSync 2, which we initially detailed WAY BACK in January of this year. FreeSync 2 should tell us that this display meets some minimum standards for latency, color quality, and low frame rate compensation. These are all great on paper, though I am still looking for details from AMD on what exactly the minimum standards have been set to. At the time, AMD would only tell me that FreeSync 2 displays "will require a doubling of the perceivable brightness and doubling of the viewable color volume based on the sRGB standards."
The bad boy of the group, the Samsung CHG90 (part number C49HG90), is easily the most interesting. It comes in with a staggering screen size of 49-inches and a brand new 32:9 aspect ratio with an 1800R curvature. With a 3840x1080 resolution, I am eager to see this display in person and judge how the ultra-wide design impacts our gaming and our productivity capability. (They call this resolution DFHD, for double full HD.) The refresh rate peaks at 144 Hz and a four-channel scanner is in place to minimize any motion blur or ghosting. A 1ms rated response time also makes this monitor incredibly impressive, on paper. Price for the C49HG90 is set at $1499 with preorders starting today on Amazon.com. (Amazon lists a June 30th release date, but I am looking to clarify.)
Also on the docket is the CHG70, available in two sizes, a 32-in (C32HG70) and a 27-in (C27HG70) model. Both are 2560x1440 resolution screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, 1ms response times and FreeSync 2 integrations. That means the same 125% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3 color space support along with the Samsung Quantum Dot technology. Both will sport a 144 Hz refresh rate and an 1800R curvature. The specifications are essentially identical between all three models, making the selection process an easier choice based on price segment and screen real estate. The C27HG70 will be on preorder from Samsung.com exclusively for $599 while the C32HG70 will be on preorder at Newegg.com for $699, just $100 more.
All three displays will feature a Game Mode to optimize image settings for...gaming.
Samsung’s CHG90 extends the playing field for virtual competitors, with its 49-inch design representing the widest gaming monitor available. The monitor delivers a dramatic 1,800R curvature and an ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angle, ensuring that content is clearly visible from nearly any location within a given space. As a result, gamers no longer need to worry about the logistics, expenses, and bezel interference that occur when combining multiple smaller monitors together for an expanded view.
The new CHG90 monitor includes a height adjustable stand (HAS), allowing flexible height adjustment for improved viewing comfort. Designed for the most demanding games, the CHG70 monitor goes a step further with a dual-hinge stand that provides users more precise control over how the display panel is positioned.
In addition to Game Mode, a feature that optimizes image setting for playing games when connected to a PC or a game console, each of the new monitors include a game OSD dashboard, designed to blend seamlessly into game interfaces.
A full table of specifications is below and trust me on this one guys, I am already up in Samsung's and AMD's face to get these monitors in here for review!
Now all we are missing is the power of a Radeon RX Vega card to push this high resolution, high refresh rate HDR goodness!!
Subject: Displays | April 26, 2017 - 06:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, quantum dots, freesync, CF791
Over the past several years we have discussed the technology behind quantum dots, the new display technology which will provide greatly improved colour representation and gamuts on the next generation of displays. Samsung are one of the first to deliver to market with their CF791 and Kitguru were given the opportunity to review the display. The display is ultrawide, allowing a resolution of 3440x1440 on its 34" screen which has a 1500R curvature. The monitors response time may be unremarkable at 4ms however the refresh rate can reach 100Hz and it is FreeSync compatible. Their testing showed the monitor capable of 100% of sRGB and 84% of AdobeRGB, so this monitor could be effective for either gaming or content creation. Drop by to see the full story.
"Quantum is one of those technology words that seems to generally be associated with good things in computing – like “fuzzy logic” used to be with washing machines. But where the Samsung CF791 is concerned, quantum means something. This is the first screen we have seen with “quantum dot” technology, which is an improvement on regular LCD technology that promises better colour."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- AOC AGON AG251FZ 240Hz FreeSync @ Kitguru
- Acer Predator X34 34-Inch G-Sync Ultrawide 21:9 Gaming Monitor @ eTeknix
- Philips Brilliance 328P 32″ 4K @ Kitguru
- ASUS Designo Curve MX34VQ 34in Curved Monitor @ Kitguru
Subject: Displays | February 2, 2017 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultra-widescreen, freesync, adaptive sync
Yes, this is the product Ryan mentioned, a curved 37.5" IPS adaptive sync display from Acer. As opposed to yesterday, today Quad HD refers to a 3840x1600 2300R curve ultra wide screen resolution, making shopping for a monitor even easier, before you even try to type in the model number. It supports Adaptive Sync, with a refresh rate that tops out at 75Hz; sorry G-SYNC fans.
As with yesterdays model it has as slimmed down bezel, called ZeroFrame in this case. It supports HDMI 1.3 10-bit colour, or at least states it offers 1.07 billion colours as well as a 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 300 nit brightness. The monitor also includes DTS Sound speakers and has a USB 3.0 Type-C port. You can read a bit more about it here.
Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 04:22 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vrr, variable refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, hdmi, g-sync, freesync, adaptive sync, 48G
The HDMI Forum has introduced an update to the HDMI specification, bringing the video standard to version 2.1. The updated specification, along with its accompanying new "48G" (48 Gbps) HDMI cable, brings support for higher resolutions refresh rates, and color spaces along with new features such as dynamic HDR, a variable refresh rate "Game Mode VRR", and eARC for audio device detection and object oriented audio (e.g. Dolby Atmos).
Specifically, HDMI 2.1 adds support for 8K resolutions at up to 60 Hz and 4K at up to 120 Hz along with HDR (high dynamic range). The specification is even a bit future looking in that it allegedly supports 10K50/60/100/120 modes! The 8K@60 and 4K@120 (and higher) profiles do require the new 48 Gbps cable though lower resolutions can still get by with the older High Speed cable. The specification also supports BT2020 color spaces with 10, 12, and 16 bits per color component which I expect Ken and Allyn will appreciate.
Perhaps the most interesting new feature though is the Game Mode VRR which appears to be HDMI's take on DisplayPort's Adaptive Sync (which AMD uses for FreeSync). At last year's CES AMD was showing off FreeSync over HDMI (video) with AMD doing FreeSync over HDMI as an extension of the specification. It now appears that HDMI is rolling some manner of that variable refresh technology into the base HDMI 2.1 specification. Variable refresh rates being supported with HDMI is a good thing as it means that future game consoles may see their own FreeSync/G-Sync like variable display output options as I do not see game consoles and living room devices (TVs, receivers, et al) adopting DisplayPort any time soon if only because of the huge install base and foothold HDMI has on that market.
Notably, HDMI 2.1 remains backwards compatible with earlier specifications, cables, and devices based on older HDMI standards including the Ethernet channel and inter-device communication. Existing devices will be able to use HDMI 2.1's 48 Gbps cables but will not be forwards compatible with all of the new features (though partial new feature support might be possible with firmware updates though in no way guaranteed).
The new specification is expected to officially drop in early Q2 2017 at which point it will be available to all HDMI Adopters for testing.
I estimate that, following the compliance testing and device QA, products using the new specification should start shipping as soon as next year (at CES 2018 perhaps!). It is harder to say when graphics cards or game consoles will start supporting the new output though. I would hope that AMD and NVIDIA would be able to sneak it in before Vega and Volta based cards launch respectively but the timing may not have lined up like that. And on the game console side of things, Microsoft and Sony have already launched their revised consoles this year save Scorpio so it might be awhile before they sport variable refresh. Perhaps JoshTekk and the crew will have some thoughts on the podcast next week!
What are your thoughts on HDMI 2.1? Will it lay the groundwork for interesting displays and better living room gaming?
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 3, 2017 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: srgb, lfc, hdr10, hdr, freesync 2, freesync, dolby vision, color space, amd
Since the initial FreeSync launch in March of 2015, AMD has quickly expanded the role and impact that the display technology has had on the market. Technologically, AMD added low frame rate compensation (LFC) to mimic the experience of G-Sync displays, effectively removing the bottom limit to the variable refresh rate. LFC is an optional feature that requires a large enough gap between the displays minimum and maximum refresh rates to be enabled, but the monitors that do integrate it work well. Last year AMD brought FreeSync to HDMI connections too by overlaying the standard as an extension. This helped to expand the quantity and lower the price of available FreeSync options. Most recently, AMD announced that borderless windowed mode was being added as well, another feature-match to what NVIDIA can do with G-Sync.
The biggest feather in the cap for AMD FreeSync is the sheer quantity of displays that exist on the market that support it. As of our briefing in early December, AMD claimed 121 design wins for FreeSync to just 18 for NVIDIA G-Sync. I am not often in the camp of quantity over quality, but the numbers are impressive. The pervasiveness of FreeSync monitors means that at least some of them are going to be very high quality integrations and that prices are going to be lower compared to the green team’s selection.
Today AMD is announcing FreeSync 2, a new, concurrently running program that adds some new qualifications to displays for latency, color space and LFC. This new program will be much more hands-on from AMD, requiring per-product validation and certification and this will likely come at a cost. (To be clear, AMD hasn’t confirmed if that is the case to me yet.)
Let’s start with the easy stuff first: latency and LFC. FreeSync 2 will require monitors to support LFC and thus to have no effective bottom limit to their variable refresh rate. AMD will also instill a maximum latency allowable for FS2, on the order of “a few milliseconds” from frame buffer flip to photon. This can be easily measured with some high-speed camera work by both AMD and external parties (like us).
These are fantastic additions to the FreeSync 2 standard and should drastically increase the quality of panels and product.
The bigger change to FreeSync 2 is on the color space. FS2 will require a doubling of the perceivable brightness and doubling of the viewable color volume based on the sRGB standards. This means that any monitor that has the FreeSync 2 brand will have a significantly larger color space and ~400 nits brightness. Current HDR standards exceed these FreeSync 2 requirements, but there is nothing preventing monitor vendors from exceeding these levels; they simply set a baseline that users should expect going forward.
In addition to just requiring the panel to support a wider color gamut, FS2 will also enable user experience improvements as well. First, each FS2 monitor must communicate its color space and brightness ranges to the AMD driver through a similar communication path used today for variable refresh rate information. By having access to this data, AMD can enable automatic mode switches from SDR to HDR/wide color gamut based on the application. Windows can remain in a basic SDR color space but games or video applications that support HDR modes can enter that mode without user intervention.
Color space mapping can take time in low power consumption monitors, adding potential latency. For movies that might not be an issue, but for enthusiast gamers it definitely is. The solution is to do all the tone mapping BEFORE the image data is sent to the monitor itself. But with varying monitors, varying color space limits and varying integrations of HDR standards, and no operating system level integration for tone mapping, it’s a difficult task.
The solution is for games to map directly to the color space of the display. AMD will foster this through FreeSync 2 – a game that integrates support for FS2 will be able to get data from the AMD driver stack about the maximum color space of the attached display. The engine can then do its tone mapping to that color space directly, rather than some intermediate state, saving on latency and improving the gaming experience. AMD can then automatically switch the monitor to its largest color space, as well as its maximum brightness. This does require the game engine or game developer to directly integrate support for this feature though – it will not be a catch-all solution for AMD Radeon users.
This combination of latency, LFC and color space additions to FreeSync 2 make it an incredibly interesting standard. Pushing specific standards and requirements on hardware vendors is not something AMD has had the gall to do the past, and honestly the company has publicly been very against it. But to guarantee the experience for Radeon gamers, AMD and the Radeon Technologies Group appear to be willing to make some changes.
NVIDIA has yet to make any noise about HDR or color space requirements for future monitors and while the FreeSync 2 standards shown here don’t quite guarantee HDR10/Dolby Vision quality displays, they do force vendors to pay more attention to what they are building and create higher quality products for the gaming market.
All GPUs that support FreeSync will support FreeSync 2 and both programs will co-exist. FS2 is currently going to be built on DisplayPort and could find its way into another standard extension (as Adaptive Sync was). Displays are set to be available in the first half of this year.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | November 25, 2016 - 08:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: AOC, 240Hz, freesync
This is just getting silly. While TN, 1080p monitors have been fading into the background, they are fast switching, and AOC is pushing that advantage. The AOC AGON AG251FZ is a 25-inch FreeSync display that can support up to 240 Hz refresh rates. They’re not the first monitor to reach this milestone, as Acer made a similar announcement back in August, but this display should be bright and smooth, especially for our readers with AMD GPUs.
If you like to smoothly scroll documents, then you may also appreciate that its stand can pivot into portrait mode. I doubt it will have the best color representation, though, so those who want to photo edit, especially outside of sRGB, may want to look elsewhere. In fact, they don’t even list their sRGB (web and video) or AdobeRGB (video and print) coverage. I’d hope it would at least have 100% sRGB, but I can’t say for sure.
Subject: Displays | August 4, 2016 - 09:20 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: vrr, variable refresh rate, SE2717H, monitor, ips, freesync, display, dell, 27-inch
Dell's newest monitor is the SE2717H, a 27-inch display with AMD's FreeSync technology and an IPS panel - all for just $249.
The matte-finish display offers 1920x1080 resolution, with a variable refresh-rate range from 48 Hz - 75 Hz, with a 6 ms response time. The 6-bit panel achieves 16.7 million colors via FRC (frame rate control, A.K.A. dithering), so it perhaps wouldn't be appropriate for color-accurate work, but just fine for gaming.
Dell SE2717H Specifications:
- Display Size: 27 Inches
- Aspect Ratio: (16:9)
- Backlight Technology: LED
- Display Screen Coating: Antiglare with 3H hardness
- Panel Type: In-Plane switching Technology
- Panel Bits: 6-bits + FRC panel
- Maximum Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Viewing Angle: 178° vertical / 178° horizontal
- Contrast Ratio: 1000: 1 (typical), 8 Million: 1 (Dynamic)
- Pixel Pitch: 0.3114 mm
- Pixel Per Inch (PPI): 82
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (typical)
- Response Time: 6ms (gray to gray)
- Free Sync support frame frequency: Yes, 48-75Hz
- Color Support:
- Color Gamut (typical): 84% (CIE 1976), 72% (CIE 1931)
- Color Depth: 16.7 Million colors
- Narrow Bezel (Edge of Monitor to Edge of viewable screen) 11mm
- Tilt (-5° to 21°)
- Built in cable-management
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2016 - 12:11 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: windows 10, windows, vrr, variable refresh rate, uwp, microsoft, g-sync, freesync
Back in March, Microsoft's Phil Spencer addressed some of the concerns over the Unified Windows Platform and PC gaming during his keynote address at the Build Conference. He noted that MS would "plan to open up VSync off, FreeSync, and G-Sync in May" and the company would "allow modding and overlays in UWP applications" sometime further into the future. Well it appears that Microsoft is on point with the May UWP update.
According to the MS DirectX Developer Blog, a Windows 10 update being pushed out today will enable UWP to support unlocked frame rates and variable refresh rate monitors in both G-Sync and FreeSync varieties.
As a direct response to your feedback, we’re excited to announce the release today of new updates to Windows 10 that make gaming even better for game developers and gamers.
Later today, Windows 10 will be updated with two key new features:
Support for AMD’s FreesyncTM and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC™ in Universal Windows Platform games and apps
Unlocked frame rate for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games and apps
Once applications take advantage of these new features, you will be able to play your UWP games with unlocked frame rates. We expect Gears of War: UE and Forza Motorsport 6: Apex to lead the way by adding this support in the very near future.
This OS update will be gradually rolled out to all machines, but you can download it directly here.
These updates to UWP join the already great support for unlocked frame rate and AMD and NVIDIA’s technologies in Windows 10 for classic Windows (Win32) apps.
Please keep the feedback coming!
Today's update won't automatically enable these features in UWP games like Gears of War or Quantum Break, they will still need to be updated individually by the developer. MS states that Gears of War and Forza will be the first to see these changes, but there is no mention of Quantum Break here, which is a game that could DEFINITELY benefit from the love of variable refresh rate monitors.
Microsoft describes an unlocked frame rate as thus:
Vsync refers to the ability of an application to synchronize game rendering frames with the refresh rate of the monitor. When you use a game menu to “Disable vsync”, you instruct applications to render frames out of sync with the monitor refresh. Being able to render out of sync with the monitor refresh allows the game to render as fast as the graphics card is capable (unlocked frame rate), but this also means that “tearing” will occur. Tearing occurs when part of two different frames are on the screen at the same time.
I should note that these changes do not indicate that Microsoft is going to allow UWP games to go into an exclusive full screen mode - it still believes the disadvantages of that configuration outweigh the advantages. MS wants its overlays and a user's ability to easily Alt-Tab around Windows 10 to remain. Even though MS mentions screen tearing, I don't think that non-exclusive full screen applications will exhibit tearing.
Gears of War on Windows 10 is a game that could definitely use an uncapped render rate and VRR support.
Instead, what is likely occurring, as we saw with the second iteration of the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, is that the game will have an uncapped render rate internally but that frames rendered OVER 60 FPS (or the refresh rate of the display) will not be shown. This will improve perceived latency as the game will be able to present the most up to date frame (with the most update to date input data) when the monitor is ready for a new refresh.
UPDATE 5/10/16 @ 4:31pm: Microsoft just got back to me and said that my above statement wasn't correct. Screen tearing will be able to occur in UWP games on Windows 10 after they integrate support for today's patch. Interesting!!
For G-Sync and FreeSync users, the ability to draw to the screen at any range of render rates will offer an even further advantage of uncapped frame rates, no tearing but also, no "dropped" frames caused by running at off-ratios of a standard monitor's refresh rate.
I'm glad to see Microsoft taking these steps at a brisk pace after the feedback from the PC community early in the year. As for UWP's continued evolution, the blog post does tease that we should "expect to see some exciting developments on multiple GPUs in DirectX 12 in the near future."