AMD Freesync Review
Published: 19th March 2015 | Source: AMD | Price: Range @ OCUK |
It's long been a dichotomy that we want the fastest possible frame rate but we also want the best possible image quality.
Generally these things are mutually exclusive for a couple of reasons. The most obvious one is the capability of your graphics card to render complicated images with all the bells and whistles at a decent frame rate. Anyone who remembers the days when turning on anti-aliasing meant losing 70% of your frames per second will know what we mean there. More modern cards and refinements have meant a small performance hit even with enormous levels of anti-aliasing, but there is still a hit to be found. The second problem has always been screen tearing. There is no point in having 100FPS if your characters legs are an inch to the side of their body and that means you have to turn on VSync, which synchronises the frame-rate to the refresh rate of your monitor. Turning it on though - and it's nearly always 60FPS that it gets capped to - obviously loses those extra frames as well as meaning your mouse position only gets updated on the refresh, leading a less than optimal experience.
In a perfect world we'd be able to get all the benefits of the high frame rate, whilst also not enduring the screen tearing that plagues our image quality. Until now you were limited to either dealing with having VSync on, or buying an nVidia card and a GSync capable monitor to partner with it. Obviously if you're someone with an AMD card that second option is no good for you, and having to choose between screen tearing or high frame rate is the problem we're seeking to solve anyway, so dealing with VSync drawbacks is why we're here.
The R&D department at AMD have come up with a solution which doesn't require any additional outlay and hopes to give the best of both worlds. They call it Freesync, a "does exactly what it says on the tin" name if ever there was one. Supported by all the current AMD range, and with a selection of monitors that will bring out the best, it definitely sounds like something we can't wait to try out. Fortunately we have the Acer XG270HU monitor from the new range here, and so that's exactly what we're going to do.