Microsoft updates Windows 10 UWP to support unlocked frame rates and G-Sync/FreeSync

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2016 - 12:11 PM |
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. 

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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.

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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."

Source: MSDN

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May 10, 2016 | 12:31 PM - Posted by zMeul (not verified)

I like how they pat themselves on the back for fixing shit that shouldn't be broken in the 1st place

May 10, 2016 | 01:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's all part of M$'s end game, for the entire third party independent(Not for long) PC/laptop OEM market! That UWP "Give" back to gaming what was taken away is just a nefarious ruse to cover up M$'s UWP end game, and M$'s cornering of the market on third party OEM produced PC/Laptop hardware/OS/Firmware, gaming or otherwise, third party software/API(UWP master end game plan) third party open application ecosystems! The gates will be closed slowly and insidiously, and enabled by that windows 10 EULA!

It's a classic Standard OIL TRUST style monopoly market tactic!

Watch that firmware on any new PCs/Laptops that come with windows 10 factory installed! There may be a missing M$ windows secure BOOT [OFF] switch in the PC's/Laptop's firmware/UEFI!

May 11, 2016 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what the hell are you complaining about? In 2 years all you'll need is a raspberry pi for desktop & work or a chromebook running linux. The only people that need powerful PC are 3d designers.

you wanna play games? Looks like xbox & playstation will have you covered

the OEM market has been dealing with it... that's why they sell chromebooks

Flagship phones are dealing with the same dilemma, that's why they are starting to focus on just phone optics and not worrying about cpu's/gpu's.

all that's left is the IOT and if you haven't noticed... Windows isn't running on those

May 11, 2016 | 03:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No closed ecosystems for me! I have got a flip-phone, used only for calling(it cost $20 new with some prepaid minutes already on it)! No fondle slabbing/phablet SKUs for me, laptops(No M$ OS after 2020 and 7's EOL) are good for me!

I'll be looking forward for a Zen/Polaris Linux OS OEM based Laptop SKU, with the option for a discrete mobile Polaris GPU to add to the ACE unit count on that laptop! Hopefully there will be some Linux OS based laptop OEMs offering AMD based laptops before 2020, because there will be no M$ in my future. I'll be happily Blender Cycles rendering on that Linux OS based laptop SKU!

Smart Phones are for fools and their not so much money that has been vacuumed up by the phone's closed ecosystem makers!

Now for some Ray Tracing hardware units on those discrete mobile Laptop GPU SKUs, so I'll never need a CPU for any graphics workloads at all! So I can say: CPU, do your janitor’s duty and leave the graphics workloads to the GPU, those ACE units on AMD's GPUs are getting more of the functionality the used to be only in the CPU's domain with each new GCN generation, and Nvidia will be doing the same. CPUs are such Mooks with graphics workloads!

May 10, 2016 | 02:35 PM - Posted by BillDStrong

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this different than what we had before? And dare I say it, somewhat better?

If this allows overlays, it means it doesn't require exclusive full screen mode, right? And if that is true, they are doing this at the DWM level, meaning you should be able to set these options in windowed mode. Which is not something we could do before, correct?

So this now becomes an advantage over Win32.

Of course we won't know for sure until games start using it.

May 17, 2016 | 08:55 AM - Posted by Erich (not verified)

Great. Another year or so and they'll be right where Steam was in 2010.

May 10, 2016 | 12:53 PM - Posted by remc86007

I'm happy to see them working on this stuff. I worry about the internal framerate being uncapped and displaying the most recently rendered frame is going to cause frame pacing issues, or will that not happen?

May 10, 2016 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Batismul (not verified)

Now that vulcan is becoming a reality and Doom launching and will have vulcan shortly after is more reason to leave Microsoft Windows and use a different OS (SteamOS).

May 10, 2016 | 09:45 PM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

LOL! Go right ahead. Nobody is stopping you. If you think Vulkan is going to defeat DX12 or improve upon it, you're delusional as all get out. But go ahead and move to Linux and OSX. Happy trails.

May 10, 2016 | 01:59 PM - Posted by funandjam

Too many interesting and good games on other platforms to even consider getting a game on UWP.

May 10, 2016 | 02:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Other than the advantages that UWP provides to developers i don't get why an end-user would choose a UWP, from an end-users perspective who only plays games on a PC UWP seems to offer nothing.

May 10, 2016 | 08:06 PM - Posted by remc86007

It doesn't offer much, but the continuing integration with Xbox (through overlays and such[eg. pressing the Xbox button on a XB1 controller brings up the overlay]) is really nice for people that play on Xbox and PC. I can imagine in a year or two it might be a competitive platform. Origin and Uplay used to suck too, but they've come a long way.

May 10, 2016 | 09:46 PM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

It offers plenty, especially to the 1.5 billion non-gaming Windows users around the world.

May 11, 2016 | 02:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Seeing as we're discussing games and specifically UWP games isn't what UWP offers to non-gamers a rather mute point.

May 11, 2016 | 02:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So what you're saying is that UWP is Microsoft trying to turn my PC into a console, if i wanted a console wouldn't i have bought one in the first place.

It seems a bit like saying Ferrari want to convert my 458 into a people carrier.

May 10, 2016 | 02:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why ever buy a game on UWP when the service will probably disappear in the next 5-10 years and your games will no longer work? That's not even mentioning all of the stupid shit like trying to force vsync and borderless fullscreen, etc. Fuck Microsoft.

May 14, 2016 | 08:57 AM - Posted by Robban (not verified)

It's not a service it's a new Windows API that will replace Win32, which was released 23 years ago and needs to go away and be replaced with something safer and more stable like UWP. It is also not tied to the Windows Store or meant to make your Windows programs change to tablet apps. Of course an API that's had 23 years and more to develop will have more features than a brand new one but given time UWP will be better in pretty much every conceivable way. Having tried one UWP game (Forza: Apex) so far, I can tell it is way faster to launch, the system remains responsive during game play and the game closes instantly when I press ALT+F4. Try it ffs, or at least check the facts before spewing nonsense like "UWP is a service" and making yourself sound like an ignorant fool. Given time to acquire some needed features, your games on Steam will be using UWP and you'll see how wrong you are about this.

May 10, 2016 | 03:08 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

I like Windows 10, but UWP just doesn't make sense for games beyond candy crush and minesweeper/solitaire/mahjong.

May 14, 2016 | 09:04 AM - Posted by Robban (not verified)

So a much safer and more stable and more capable API that will help protect your PC from malware and keep your software from interfering with the system is somehow just for candy crush? Spectacular ignorance. Maybe PC Perspective could do an article explaining for the "PC master race" what an API platform is, what UWP is and why it is way better than the relic that is Win32. Most things people complain about with Windows can be traced to Win32 and it is a good thing that it's being replaced.

May 10, 2016 | 05:17 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

At first I was like...
>UWP actually getting better? Hmm, maybe it's a redemption after all?
But then I
>NOP, no full screen
Well, into the trash it goes.

May 10, 2016 | 06:11 PM - Posted by Ramon (not verified)

M$ woulkd "allow" modding???

1-I don't need M$ to "allow" me doing stuff, on ***MY*** PC.
2-If they "allow it" now, they certainly can block it back in the future. I mean, M$ is not known to flip flop whenever it suit them, right?

Windows 7 and Vulkan is all I need. UWP is dead to me.

May 10, 2016 | 09:49 PM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

LOL! Microsoft is not allowing you to do anything. You can do whatever you want. Vulkan is not going to replace DX12 and is probably not as good. That is why Nvidia wouldn't compare the 1080 on Vulkan vs DX12.

As for UWP being dead to you, nobody of any consequence cares. Here's a tip. Nobody takes anyone who still uses the idiotic "M$" meme seriously. You think Valve, Nvidia, or any other corporation cares about anything other than your money. They don't. They're all in it for the money. So grow up.

May 11, 2016 | 01:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Did you read the article ? Microsoft just allowed those things by enabling them. It wasn't possible before. I hope that vulkan prevails because windows 10 is malware, it is spying on you whether you like it or not.

You got one thing right, they're all about the money. Locking you in their ecosystem and screwing the users "for their own good". This is just the start. They can force any update/install to your machine and you can't do anything but bend over.

May 11, 2016 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

To be fair Vulkan doesn't need to be as good it just needs to be good enough, i would prefer to spend $100 on a better GPU than an OS that's slowly becoming a walled garden.

As Tim Sweeney recently said “If you throw a frog in boiling water, he’ll just hop out,” Sweeney said. “But if you put him in warm water and slowly amp up the temperature, he won’t notice and end up boiled.”

May 11, 2016 | 12:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"LOL! Microsoft is not allowing you to do anything. You can do whatever you want"

And what does that Windows 10 EULA allow M$ to do at any time that the Lords of Redmond see fit to do, like lock things down so the other third party gaming market players have to play by M$'s rules! Rules that M$ can change at any time according to that very windows 10 EULA and its terms and conditions of eternal serfdom!

You Sir are most definitely a Universal Windows Peasant(UWP), you just keep on believing what those Lords of Redmond say! Now take thine wallet and give eternally that 30% off of every transaction of your gaming doubloons spent to those Lords in Redmond! You'll Owe your very soul to the M$ store!

September 28, 2016 | 05:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

SLI please.

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