NVIDIA Confirms It Has No Plans to Support Adaptive Sync

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 27, 2014 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, gsync, g-sync, freesync, adaptive sync

During an interview that we streamed live with NVIDIA's Tom Petersen this past Thursday, it was confirmed that NVIDIA is not currently working on, or has any current plans to, add support for the VESA-based and AMD-pushed Adaptive Sync portion of the DisplayPort 1.2a specification. To quote directly:

There is no truth [to that rumor of NVIDIA Adaptive Sync support] and we have made no official comments about Adaptive Sync. One thing I can say is that NVIDIA as a company is 100% dedicated to G-Sync. We are going to continue to invest in G-Sync and it is a way we can make the gaming experience better. We have no need for Adaptive Sync. We have no intention of [implementing it]."

Discussion of G-Sync begins at 1:27:14 in our interview.

To be clear, the Adaptive Sync part of DP 1.2a and 1.3+ are optional portions of the VESA spec that is not required for future graphics processors or even future display scalar chips. That means that upcoming graphics cards from NVIDIA could still be DisplayPort 1.3 compliant without implementing support for the Adaptive Sync feature. Based on the comments above, I fully expect that to be the case.

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The ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q G-Sync monitor

With that new information, you can basically assume that the future of variable refresh monitors is going to be divided: one set for users of GeForce cards and one set for users with Radeon cards. (Where Intel falls into this is up in the air.) Clearly that isn't ideal for a completely open ecosystem but NVIDIA has made the point, over and over, that what they have developed with G-Sync is difficult and not at all as simple as could be solved with the blunt instrument that Adaptive Sync is. NVIDIA has a history of producing technologies and then keeping them in-house, focusing on development specifically for GeForce owners and fans. The dream of having a VRR monitor that will run on both vendors GPUs appears to be dead.

When asked about the possibility of seeing future monitors that can support both NVIDIA G-Sync technology as well as Adaptive Sync technology, Petersen stated that while not impossible, he "would not expect to see such a device."

The future of G-Sync is still in development. Petersen stated:

"Don't think that were done. G-Sync is not done. Think of G-Sync as the start of NVIDIA solving the problems for gamers that are related to displays...G-Sync is our first technology that makes games look better on displays. But you can start looking at displays and make a lot of things better."

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Diagram showing how G-Sync affects monitor timings

So now we await for the first round of prototype FreeSync / Adaptive Sync monitors to hit our labs. AMD has put a lot of self-inflicted pressure on itself for this release by making claims, numerous times, that FreeSync will be just as good of an experience as G-Sync, and I am eager to see if they can meet that goal. Despite any ill feelings that some users might have about NVIDIA and some of its policies, it typically does a good job of maintaining a high quality user experience with these custom technologies. AMD will have to prove that what it has developed is on the same level. We should know more about that before we get too much further into fall.

You can check out our stories and reviews covering G-Sync here:

September 27, 2014 | 08:26 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

If he thinks that people are going to purchasing displays knowing that they are going to forever be locked into a specific GPU vendor to make proper use of it he is out of touch of reality. I buy my GPU based on what's the best GPU. I buy my displays based on what's the best display. Anything that complicates this gets ignored by me.

September 28, 2014 | 02:45 AM - Posted by Lithium (not verified)

After 15 years, for me its NVIDIA or quit gaming.

So you can have all VESA SUPER STANDARD Adaptive Sync monitors I will buy G-SYNC no matter what...actually 3 of them.

Tom Peterson was there, and you idiots :-) didn`t ask when G-SYNC switching from FPGA to ASIC.

September 28, 2014 | 05:10 AM - Posted by Daniel (not verified)

Who very elitist of you.

September 28, 2014 | 05:38 AM - Posted by Mac (not verified)

Who will make these asics?
no asic manufacturer is going to put some proprietary tech into it's hardware without some serious palm greasing

September 28, 2014 | 02:43 PM - Posted by Lithium (not verified)

Actually, NVIDIA could make all monitor electronic.
Everything what is needed plus G-Sync.
YEP...no more MediaTEK, NoWatECH, reallYtech, what ever tech.
If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.

Tom sad that current monitors actually not that good for viewing...hehe

September 27, 2014 | 08:53 PM - Posted by Ophelos

It almost looks like Nvidia is going back on it's words from the Nvidia event last year in Montreal about maybe one day seeing G-Sync becoming a standard in everything from monitors to TVs.

September 28, 2014 | 12:39 AM - Posted by collie

No, that is still what Nvidia wants, G-Sync everywhere. Infact I'm sure that if Nvidia had everything exactly the way they wanted it, the VESA non optional standard would include G-Sync for every monitor and Nvidia GPUs would be the only ones compatible, every tv built from now on would be G-Sync compatible, and every console in the world would have a G-Sync compatible Nvidia GPU (and a Tegra CPU) in it. And to be fair, that's ok. It is the duty of a corporation in a capitalist system to attempt to increase wealth for the shareholders, and the surest way to do that is to control more market share than the competitor. Whether we agree with that philosophy or not it is the way the system works. Such is life in America.
What Nvidia has stated however is simply that the adaptive sync portion of the newest VESA standards is optional and they have decided to opt out. It makes sense, seeing as how adaptive sync will be the driving power behind the only competing technology Free-Sync. Tom did claim that building a monitor compatible with both is something for the monitor manufacturers to decide on, if it is even possible (something that no-one seems to know the answer to).
Soon I hope we will see FreeSync at work, then we will know if this is actually a competition or if one is truly clearly better.

Ps. I'm fascinated by this topic yet there is very little chance of it concerning me for a long time. This 1080p 27" I'm using right now will probably not be replaced until it dies. That is normally the way of the monitors for most people, isn't it?

September 27, 2014 | 09:43 PM - Posted by pdjblum

I guess the monitor makers, who charge a ridiculous premium for g-sync equiped monitors, and NVIDIA, who lock us into their gpu's, win, and we enthusiasts lose. And to think we are the reason NVIDIA is doing so well financially.

September 27, 2014 | 10:07 PM - Posted by Mad_Dane

Ngreedia, the way its meant to be paid.

September 27, 2014 | 11:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know, if Nvidia is planning to use G-Sync in TN monitors only, this technology is dead for me. I want 9-60 hz IPS 1080p monitor.

September 28, 2014 | 04:31 PM - Posted by arbiter

Nvidia didn't lock it in to TN panels, the monitor makers did. 60hz 1080/1440p g-sync monitor is pointless cause most gpu's can do 60 on both anyway. IPS needs to get faster first.

September 28, 2014 | 12:14 AM - Posted by snook

they will reverse this stance when gsync dies and it will, along with mantle from AMD.

September 28, 2014 | 03:11 AM - Posted by windwalker

Let's see what Intel does.

September 28, 2014 | 03:23 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Nvidia sticks to it's proprietary stuff and doesn't support open standards.
I can't believe this. WHO COULD HAVE THOUGH THAT?

LOL and many many extra LOLs.

The new Nvidia's are still OpenCL 1.1.
OpenCL 1.2 is 3 years old all ready.
So in 3 years Nvidia will keep producing cards with Displayport 1.2 and Nvidia fanboys will be proud for this tactic.

If AMD dies, Open standards die in computer graphics.

Remember this EVERYONE.

September 28, 2014 | 04:35 PM - Posted by arbiter

AMD has been killing themselves even without nvidia's help. They make claims then not live up to them when product is released.

Even then Freesync isn't open standard, its based off the adaptive sync standard using its protocol but )its as ppl love to use this word against nvidia) free sync is Proprietary software

September 28, 2014 | 03:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

G-Sync is superior to inferior AMD & VESA developed Adaptive Sync. There's no reason why Nvidia would adopt inferior technologies like Adaptive Sync.

Adaptive Sync is OPTIONAL spec even in DisplayPort 1.3.

OpenCL, AMD can't even compile large kernels in OpenCL, making it worthless for real work.

You live in a proprietary world, all those medical equipment in hospitals run on proprietary software, your car runs proprietary software, your TV runs proprietary software, don't like it, too bad for you.

Windows is proprietary too, why do you use Windows if you're such a "champion" of open standards?

September 28, 2014 | 03:10 PM - Posted by applejack (not verified)

spot on!

and if we were all limited to inferior open standards, no one would have a reason to truly innovate.

September 28, 2014 | 03:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ye, no. You barely know what you are talking about.

Just because you see how monopolies are ripping the US a new asshole doesnt mean the same is happening in the rest of the world.

Anyone can make a processor.

China is making all the same fords, BMW`s and whatever under different names. Good. Cuz BRANDS and NAMES mean NOTHING. Its all just more stuff that our species makes. ITS NOT SOMETHING SET IN STONE.

Its a fucking shame that windows has this monopoly going on. But, if you have paid any attention to whats been going on the past year youll notice that most of the tech and software companies are trying to give microsoft the middle finger.

And good riddance. Because competition is the ONLY thing that will drive innovation. PROPRIETARY stuff and MONOPOLIES will NEVER DO THAT.

September 28, 2014 | 04:37 PM - Posted by arbiter

One thing everyone ignores is, adaptive sync and free sync are not one and the same, One is the standard the other is a proprietary implantation of the the standard.

September 28, 2014 | 06:37 PM - Posted by applejack (not verified)


amusingly, some people want Nvidia to become followers instead of leaders and invest in some FreeSync-like implementation to an unintentionally capable-to-some-extent standard pushed by AMD in response to the already available and supposedly better solution invented by Nvidia in the first place, just so it is more comfortable for them people to buy AMD products instead.

September 30, 2014 | 09:36 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Also, unless Nvidia does something (in contract or in hardware that we don't know about) to prevent its implementation, there's nothing to stop Acer, Samsung, or Asus from having hardware for G-Sync and supporting Adaptive-Sync (thus enabling FreeSync) in the same display.

September 28, 2014 | 04:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Trust me, its business as usual!

September 28, 2014 | 04:36 AM - Posted by ZoA (not verified)

When I read the rumors nvidia might be supporting adaptive sync I thought “well ad least for once they decided not to be reactionary jerks, maybe there still hope for them” And here comes Shrout to kill that sliver of hope, yes nvidia are still same old reactionary price gouging #$%&.

September 28, 2014 | 05:05 AM - Posted by Mac (not verified)

They are not going to say anything that will get in the way of you investing in gsync right now. Should adaptive sync be just as good or better, you bet your sweet thug ass the'll be allover it. It is potentially a much more cost effective solution.

September 28, 2014 | 08:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is the right answer. Nvidia has to say whatever they can to sell gsync. With adaptive sync coming out pretty soon they can't say they will support it or else it would essentially stop sales of gsync in the market. If adaptive sync becomes popular enough, they will support it.

My guess is that it will become a niche feature of monitors and will essentially split gaming displays into two groups; amd Intel and nvidia. Most monitors made and sold will not have support for either.

September 28, 2014 | 04:39 PM - Posted by arbiter

adaptive sync soon? well since monitor scalers won't be out til end of year aka dec your lookin at mid to late q1 2015 before they are.

September 28, 2014 | 09:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

came here to post this. They have to say they won't support, and people who don't understand why are beyond hope.

September 28, 2014 | 05:14 AM - Posted by Daniel (not verified)

From s business standpoint it makes sense, they want to push their G-sync and make money of it. But from a consumer standpoint i think this sucks.

September 28, 2014 | 09:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

2 competing technologies are BAD for the consumer? I don't think so, friend. We need MORE competition in this space, if anything.

September 28, 2014 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

While Nvidia and AMD are fighting it out, the monitor manufactures could force any GPU vendor specific video synchronization hardware be included on a plug in module, that the user could optionally purchase and install, to give the monitor the vendor specific synchronization ability. This would allow the non industry open standard hardware to be optional, while any Open industry standards could be included in a built in fashion, so as to force the, unnecessary for open standards functioning, GPU monitor based hardware to not unfairly burden the consumer. If Nvidia raises to much trouble with display manufactures, the manufactures could take Nvidia before the Antitrust division of the justice department, and the appropriate courts.

This would ensure that only Nvidia's customers would have to shoulder the burden, and not force a Nvidia tax on all monitors, just for the sake of propriety compatibility, with one vendor's proprietary hardware. The same would apply to any GPU manufacture's propriety hardware on third party manufactured monitors.

September 28, 2014 | 11:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

EDIT: GPU manufacture's propriety
to: GPU manufacture's proprietary

September 28, 2014 | 11:30 AM - Posted by H1tman_Actua1

"FREE"sync yet to be seen and tested.

GSYNC is awesome, it works and it's available.

From all the FAQ releases from AMD "Free"sync doesn't even work within the same range as Gsync.

So for all you entitled little kids living in your parents basements.

Nothing in this world is free.
Your probably the same people who gripe about a sports car you dream of costing too much money too right.

September 28, 2014 | 12:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm all for competition, as long as it's fair competition, and any vendor specific acceleration/synchronization hardware On Third Party Monitor OEM built hardware that can be OPTIONALLY purchased and plug and play installed on a monitor's expansion slot, is AOK by me, we all know already that monitors are PC unto themselves, so why not allow all GPU manufactures the ability to fairly compete, with whatever gismos and gadgets that can be optionally plugged into the Monitor's motherboard to improve the gaming experience, and as long as it is at the users option, go for it.

AMD and Nvidia could offer optional helper SOCs/GPUs/hardware integrated into a PCI based mini plug and play module for Monitors, and offer all sorts of extra post rendering processing, or just plain extra GPU power, hosted on the monitor's motherboard, to go along with any form of adaptive synchronization algorithms.

AMD and Nvidia could, if they so desire, have manufactured, or make for themselves, Branded monitors that only includes GPU vendor specific hardware ability, and no open standards, so long as on Third Party OEM Manufactured monitors, the rules of fair play require them to offer whatever GPU vendor specific hardware on optional PCI/other Modules, for the user to optionally install, plug and play style.

September 28, 2014 | 03:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's not about the money. It's about open standards that don't lock people into a single ecosystem. I know you have probably already decided to buy Nvidia cards no matter how good or bad they will be, but for those of us who get whatever is best at the time (and for the industry in general), it is important to avoid such crippling restrictions.

It's funny that you call people "little kids" after making a post like this:

September 29, 2014 | 10:02 AM - Posted by Joakim (not verified)

So, you'r trying to make kids that still live with their parents, and can't afford the premium cost of a G-sync monitor feel bad, is that it?

Btw calling you stupid would be an insult to really stupid people.

September 28, 2014 | 02:03 PM - Posted by pdjblum

If the tech produces equivalent results and freesync monitors can be manufactured and sold for less, maybe as much as $100 less, then people will buy freesync monitors and maybe amd gpu's. In that case, NVIDIA will be inclined to support freesync monitors. I was going to get a new NVIDIA gpu, but I am starting to consider AMD, which is not something I would have done before Tom made their position clear.

September 28, 2014 | 02:47 PM - Posted by Lithium (not verified)

Go buy AMD.

GM206 is coming and will be impressive.

September 28, 2014 | 03:21 PM - Posted by annoyingmoose (not verified)

right, lets buy sh*t just because Tom said nvidia won't support sh*t.

September 28, 2014 | 03:25 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Get your point, no doubt. Just frustrated and wish there was something we could do about it. Push comes to shove, I will prob end up getting another nvidia gpu, but would like it to work with both techs so I don't have to pay up for a g-sync monitor.

September 28, 2014 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The situation we are in right now is ideal really...

hardcore competition at its work

Just ignore the idiots kiddies in forums and see how in a year the end users will be the winners of all this.

September 28, 2014 | 05:04 PM - Posted by arbiter

Problem with Freesync and a lot of AMD claims over last 1-2 years. AMD says it works same as G-sync but there has been 0 proof from independent reviews that back that, only AMD's word which they haven't been living up to that for a while now. So as far as we know yea G-sync costs extra but we know it works but don't know if freesync works as well as they say.

September 28, 2014 | 04:36 PM - Posted by JxcelDolghmQ (not verified)

Nvidia doing what they do best: coming up with good ideas, and then completely killing their viability and adoption. Looks like I'll be sticking with my CRTs for awhile longer.

September 28, 2014 | 06:21 PM - Posted by renz (not verified)

"With that new information, you can basically assume that the future of variable refresh monitors is going to be divided: one set for users of GeForce cards and one set for users with Radeon cards."

i've expected this to be the case in the end. even if Adaptive Sync really is easy to implement that doesn't mean anything if nvidia simply refuse to support it. just look at OpenCL. it is not that nvidia can't do it better than AMD but most likely they choose to push their CUDA more.

September 28, 2014 | 07:36 PM - Posted by pdjblum

BTW, congrats to Ryan and PC Per for breaking this story and still being the only tech site out there with this news. Shame on the other sites for not picking up your story.

September 29, 2014 | 12:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I find this whole situation somewhat ridiculous. Variable refresh is obviously a good idea and it is obvious to me that this should be part of the display standard. Instead of a good standard we get Nvidia's hack on top of the old display standard and AMD's hack using features from a slightly new version of the standard. Then a bunch of fan boys argue which hack is better. Both of them will hopefully be killed by a proper display standard update.

I can't imagine Intel supporting gsync from Nvidia. Both Nvidia and Intel are trying to break into the mobile market so they are direct competitors in that space. Intel also has a strong "not-invented-here" mindset. If history is any guide, Intel will come out with their own version, and both Nvidia and AMD will have to support it. Intel will make a powerful gpu eventually, and if combined with stacked memory, this could reduce Nvidia and AMD to niche players rather quickly anyway. Intel really could use variable refresh rate given how slow their current gpus are. For people gaming at 1080p with a powerful graphics card, it isn't really that relevant yet.

September 29, 2014 | 10:02 AM - Posted by ChangWang

Gotta say, I'm not thrilled at all about this news. Speaking only for myself, I'm not keen on the idea of monitor specific vendor lock. Especially when that lock costs more and is artificially placed.

I had hoped that nvidia would be like, "look, our tech is so bad ass, we got our own vsync tech AND we implemented your tech better than you did." Although I knew deep down that they wouldn't, I had still hoped that nv would take the high road.

September 29, 2014 | 04:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was starting to lik nvida. They wont get my money with this tactic

October 1, 2014 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"The dream of having a VRR monitor that will run on both vendors GPUs appears to be dead."

Why not? Once an OEM has invested in a display driver that can support asynchronous panel refresh (the actually ahrd part), adding support for accepting input from both DVI (G-Sync) and DP (Adaptive Refresh) is the easy part. Any controller worth a damn will already accept DVi and DP anyway, so there's little reason not to support Adaptive Refresh once G-Sync is implemented.

Exceptions being: current G-Sync implementations using FPGAs rather than ASICs, manufacturers who decide to sell monitors with internal support for asynchronous panel refresh but don't want to pay Nvidia for the license to use G-Sync (and assuming AMD haven't dropped in any silly gotchas with their specific 'Freesync' implementation of Active Sync).

October 2, 2014 | 02:26 PM - Posted by MonitorMan (not verified)

Hopefully monitor manufacturers take this into their own hands and provide a "sync socket" where you can plop in what ever module you want sorta a pci-e slot. gsync or freesync
this would then allow them to not be tied to any one GPU vendor.

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