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What is AMD Freesync? | Reduced Screen Tearing and Stutter & Smooth Gameplay

AMD Freesync is a technology that allows you to use your GPU for gaming and other applications while still maintaining a smooth framerate. The question comes, what is AMD FreeSync? The AMD technology was introduced as an alternative to NVIDIA G-SYNC, which requires the display to be connected to the PC via DisplayPort 1.2 (or HDMI 2.0). The main difference between AMD's solution and NVIDIA's is that it does not require any additional hardware.

AMD FreeSync works by synchronizing the refresh rate of both the monitor and graphics card. It means that when the monitor refreshes its screen, the graphics card also updates the frame buffer and displays the new image. When the monitor doesn't update fast enough, the graphics card will send a signal to the monitor telling it to increase the refresh rate.

What Is AMD Freesync in Monitor?

Freesync is an adaptive sync technology - see 'What Is Adaptive Sync?' - that allows the monitor and graphics card to communicate about the timing of each other's refresh cycles. This way, the monitor can adjust itself to match the refresh rate of the graphics card.

In addition to reducing screen tearing and stutter, FreeSync monitors also improve gaming performance. It eliminates the lag between moving your mouse cursor and when the action happens onscreen.
Guy with headphones on a computer

There are two different types of freeSync:

  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): This type of freeSync adjusts the monitor's refresh rate depending on how fast the graphics card is rendering frames. VRR freeSync is supported by most current generation video cards.

  • Fixed Refresh Rate (FRR): This type of fixed refresh rate freeSync does not change the screen's refresh rate. FRR freeSync is only supported by some older video cards.

AMD FreeSync is designed to reduce blurriness and improve image quality. It can be used with both variable and fixed refresh rates.

Should I Use AMD Freesync?

AMD FreeSync is what you need to eliminate tearing in games or videos. It has been shown to reduce stuttering and tear in many modern games, especially those with high FPS rates. However, if you are playing older games, it may cause some issues. You should test out AMD FreeSync before buying a monitor.

Is AMD FreeSync Better Than NVIDIA G-SYNC?

NVIDIA G-SYNC is a feature that requires the display to be directly connected to the computer using a dedicated connection such as DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0 (see 'What is NVIDIA G-Sync Technology?'). To support this feature, monitors must have a minimum bandwidth of 2560x1440 pixels at 60 Hz or 3840x2160 pixels at 120 Hz.

NVIDIA G-SYNC uses a proprietary NV-SYNC protocol, which ensures that the monitor always receives all frames from the graphics card. If the monitor is too slow to keep up with the game's framerate, the graphics card sends a synchronization signal to the monitor, forcing it to increase its refresh rate.

The problem with NVIDIA G-SYNC is that it only works with certain GPUs (see GPU definition). The advantage of AMD FreeSync over NVIDIA G-SYNC lies in the fact that it can work with any GPU, regardless of whether it is compatible with NVIDIA G-SYNCTM. AMD FreeSync is based on Adaptive Sync, a fully open standard developed by AMD.

NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync


Suppose you don't want to spend money on a monitor that comes with AMD FreeSync. In that case, there are third-party solutions available that allow you to add AMD FreeSync functionality to your existing monitor. These include:

Adaptive-sync.com - A free software utility that adds AMD FreeSync compatibility to most monitors.

ASUS Aura Sync - An official ASUS product that enables AMD FreeSync compatibility.

How Do I Know if My Monitor Supports AMD Freesync?

You can check if your monitor supports AMD FreeSync by going to the manufacturer's website and checking for the presence of the "FreeSync" logo. Alternatively, you can go to the Adaptive-sync.com website and enter your model number into their search engine. The results will show whether your monitor supports AMD FreeSync.

What Is the Purpose of Freesync?

kids playing computer games


AMD FreeSync was created to address the problems caused by today's LCD panels' high frame rates and low response times. When using a traditional CRT or LED monitor, the panel's refresh rate is 60 Hz. However, the panel has to update its pixels every 16 milliseconds. If the refresh rate were increased to 120 Hz, the panel would have to update its pixels every 12 milliseconds. It causes motion artifacts such as blurring and ghosting.

When using a computer with a modern graphics card, the frame rate can easily exceed 100 FPS. The monitor needs to respond faster than the graphics card to avoid these issues. To achieve this, AMD FreeSync uses a new technology called DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. This technology allows the graphics card and monitor to synchronize their refresh cycles to work together to create smoother images.

Should I Turn AMD Freesync Off?

No. AMD FreeSync is designed to enhance the visual experience of games and movies. Turning it off may cause more problems than benefits.

If you want to use FreeSync, make sure that the following conditions are met:


  • Your graphics card supports AMD FreeSync.
  • Your monitor supports AMD FreeSync.
  • Your operating system is Windows 7 SP1/8/10 64bit.
  • Your processor supports SSE2 instructions.
  • Your memory size is 4 GB or greater.
  • Your hard drive space is 50 GB or greater.

How Do I Enable AMD Freesync?

To activate AMD FreeSync on your monitor, follow these steps:

  • Open Device Manager.
  • Select "Display Adapters" from the left pane.
  • Right-click on any device listed in the right pane and select adaptive-Sync4.
  • Click on the Advanced tab.
  • Check the box next to "Adaptive-Sync Technology."
  • Click Apply and Ok.
  • Restart your PC.

What is MD FreeSync Premium?

MD FreeSync Premium is an optional add-on for AMD FreeSync users who enjoy better visuals while playing games. With MD FreeSync Premium, gamers get access to three exclusive features:

  • Game Mode: The game mode feature lets you choose between two modes: Low and High. These settings allow you to adjust the maximum framerate allowed during gameplay. You can also choose whether to disable VSYNC when gaming.
  • Auto Frame Skip: This feature automatically skips frames if the framerate drops below a certain threshold. It helps prevent stuttering and other artifacts.
  • Dynamic Resolution Scaling: This feature dynamically adjusts the resolution based on the available GPU resources.
FreeSync Premium
FreeSync premium pro

AMD FreeSync Premium Pro

The AMD Radeon RX Vega series graphics cards offer incredible performance and power efficiency. With the introduction of AMD FreeSync 2, the RX Vega series graphics cards support both AMD FreeSync 1 and AMD FreeSync 2.

With AMD FreeSync 2, there are now four different levels of quality: Basic, Standard, Premium, and Pro. Each level offers a different combination of picture quality and responsiveness.

AMD FreeSync 2 Basic

This level provides basic picture quality and responsiveness. It does not require a compatible display and works only with AMD Radeon™ RX 400 Series Graphics Cards.

The Best Way to Use FreeSync

When you start your PC, you will see the screen flicker as the video adapter boots. After the boot process completes, the screen should be stable at 60 Hz. If you notice anything unusual about the screen, such as flickering, check the connections to ensure they are secure.

You can test the connection by connecting another monitor to the same port on your motherboard. If the second monitor displays the correct image, everything is working correctly.

If you have multiple monitors connected to your computer, you may need to configure them individually before using AMD FreeSync.

What Devices Support AMD FreeSync?

AMD FreeSync technology has been added to many new devices, including monitors, TVs, projectors, and more. Here's a list of some of our favorite products that support AMD FreeSync.

  1.  Monitor - ASUS VG248QE (24")
  2. TV - Samsung UE46MU8000 (43")
  3. Projector - Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1000
  4. Gaming Console - Xbox One S
  5. PC - MSI X99S Gaming 9 ACK
Xbox One S

How Does AMD FreeSync Work?

AMD FreeSync uses variable refresh rate technology to synchronize the frame rate of your display with the frame rate of your GPU. When enabled, AMD FreeSync allows your graphics card to change its output frequency without affecting the display's timing. As a result, the display refreshes at a consistent frame rate, regardless of your GPU outputs.

Is AMD FreeSync Better than G-Sync?

AMD Free Sync is designed for gamers who enjoy their games at their highest possible framerates. G-Sync is designed for users who want to play at their lowest possible framerates. While both technologies work similarly, they do so in very different ways.

G-Sync works by detecting when the game engine changes the frame rate. The G-Sync module then sends a signal to the monitor to stop displaying images until the next set of frames arrives from the GPU. In this way, the monitor never receives any information about the current frame rate.

AMD FreeSync works differently. Rather than waiting for the game engine to change the frame rate, AMD FreeSync detects the difference between the GPU's actual frame rate and the target frame rate. It means that the monitor always sees the latest frame from the GPU, even if the GPU is sending out an older frame.

In addition to detecting the frame rate differences between the GPU and the monitor, AMD FreeSync also supports dynamic refresh rates. Dynamic refresh rates allow the monitor to alter the refresh rate based on how fast or slow the GPU is running.

G-Sync Nvidia

Conclusion

AMD FreeSync is an exciting new way to play games at higher frame rates without compromising image quality. The adaptive synchronization technology for LCDs makes it possible to have smooth gameplay experiences. If you have a compatible graphics card and monitor, you should try out AMD FreeSync.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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