Is AMD FreeSync Worth It And Does It Improve Gaming?

| Last Updated On: August 12, 2020
Is AMD FreeSync Worth It?

Let’s be honest here; no gamer loves screen stutters, lags, and jitters. Whether it’s a crucial point in your game or you’re on the verge of defeating a boss – these display issues can ruin your game. To solve this very problem, came along V-sync!

However, V-sync was a generic name given to the module that aimed at solving display issues.

NVIDIA and AMD, the leading graphics card designers, released separate versions of their own namely, G-sync and Free-sync. The real question is, is FreeSync worth it?


What Is AMD FreeSync?


If terms like v-sync sound jargon to you, let us take you through a simple definition. Monitors and graphics cards have a refresh rate, which determines how many frames or images will they produce in a second. Here’s where the issues come in.

If these refresh rates fail to match, your screen will show weird issues like lag. Free-sync is the technology (or really, v-sync) that helps you manage these refresh rates dynamically.

This means your monitor and graphics card will compromise and work on a refresh rate, which is good for both.

Although most monitors default at stock refresh rates, they can change with FreeSync. So, if your game is visually rich, your monitor will try its best to produce frames at the given rate. This helps avoid screen tears, which are misaligned frames or images on the screen.

For example, consider a graphics card which produces 50 frames per second (FPS). With Free-sync enabled, your monitor will also cap its refresh rate to 50 Hz. Generally, this technology works in between 45-75 Hz.

FreeSync probably won’t be helpful if your system is modern with new hardware. It is better equipped with old monitors or graphics cards with no support on their own. Let’s take a look at the working of the service next.


How Does AMD FreeSync Work?


Monitors are capable of producing frames at a specific rate. In your display settings, there’s a default rate set (mostly 60Hz) at which it works.

However, your graphics card doesn’t operate at the same FPS or refresh rate.

This incompatibility results in a problem. If you own a good GPU, your card will send out many frames in a single second. But, your monitor is still capped at a low rate, which produces a laggy visual because the frames keep coming in but your monitor’s lagging.

Freesync Before and After

FreeSync is the mediator in this fight of the refresh rates. It allows the monitor to adjust its refresh rates according to the GPU’s output. So, if your GPU send out more FPS, your monitor fits it’s rate to high and vice versa.

Remember, it is only required when the GPU’s refresh rate is higher than the monitor’s. If its lesser, than there won’t be an issue as your monitor is performing just fine. FreeSync doesn’t alter the GPUs frame production but only the monitors’.


FreeSync Vs. G-Sync


Adaptive sync technology or V-sync was a massive success in the market. Gamers rushed for support for this technology and loved the feature as it resolved so many screen issues. Keeping this in mind, manufacturers capitalized on this opportunity as well, giving rise to competitors.

AMD’s FreeSyncs’ major competitor is G-sync, which is released by NVIDIA. Historically, NVIDIA was the first manufacturer to release the technology, under G-sync. The manufacturer collaborated with several companies to publicly release the technology.

FreeSync vs G Sync

However, G-sync only works with monitors that support G-sync or have support for the G-sync scaler module. Fortunately, AMD’s solution doesn’t have such requirements. It can work with scaler modules from any manufacturer as long as they support FreeSync.

Keeping all this in mind, G-sync is a little more expensive as it requires different hardware. FreeSync, on the other hand, has an open standard configuration, which helps the cost stay lower than G-sync. If you’re a gamer, this decision can make or break the choice for you – after all, it’s the addition of another component.


The Pros And Cons Of FreeSync


FreeSync has several benefits for improving display issues. However, technology has certain flaws or drawbacks, as well. Let’s discuss those next:

  • FreeSync is way cheaper than G-sync. FreeSyc’s design and the ability to support monitors from several vendors give it a clear-cut advantage. Not to mention, its software-based solution is also the reason it’s not that expensive (G-sync is a hardware-based solution!)
  • Cheaper, but it doesn’t support NVIDIA’s GPUs. Although the pricing will tempt you to buy the monitor, it is still unsupported by NVIDIA’s GPUs. So, if you own one, you’re probably better off saving a few bucks and spending on NVIDIA’s G-Sync monitor.
  • FreeSync helps in visual distortions. We’ve discussed this before; FreeSync is excellent at resolving visual issues like stutters, jitters, and lags.
  • Based on open standards, no one is the same. Since it relies on open standards, each manufacturer is free to make its settings. In some, the variable refresh rate is limited to 40-75 Hz, whereas some allow it to be 40-144Hz.

Does FreeSync Work With NVIDIA?


Unfortunately, NVIDIA’s GPUs aren’t supported by FreeSync-enabled monitors. Although this is old news, support is going to start rolling in soon. This is excellent news for people who are in this situation.

NVIDIA offers a hardware-based solution that requires a particular scaler module. Since its design isn’t open-source, NVIDIA manufactures its solutions. This is the reason why AMD’s solutions have issues of compatibility when talking in relation to NVIDIA.


How To Enable FreeSync?


Before you can enable FreeSync, make sure you’ve connected your computer with the monitor using a DisplayPort cable. Secondly, make sure you’ve downloaded the right drivers for the graphics card you own. If you’ve done step two just now, do restart your computer.

Next, you can follow these steps to enable the tech on your end:

AMD Radeon Settings Panel

  1. Right, click on your desktop and press “AMD Radeon Settings”. You can also search for AMD Settings in your system.
    Windows Settings Pop up
  2. Head over to the “Display” section from the menu of options presented to you.
  3. Look for the “Radeon FreeSync” option.
    Activate FreeSync in AMD Settings Panel
  4. Toggle the setting (if it’s turned off.)

This should have enabled FreeSync on your monitor. If you don’t feel differences, you can try restarting your system. Though you should know that FreeSync only shows a difference if there was an issue, to begin with.


Is FreeSync Worth It?


Absolutely! FreeSync is a tremendous adaptive sync technology for users who own a graphics card from AMD. The built-in support and buttery-smooth visual performance will surely amp up your gameplay.

This, however, doesn’t mean FreeSync is the right fit for you. If you wish to have a hardcore gaming PC, you might want to go for NVIDIA’s G-sync. After all, it’s more equipped to handle performance and better graphics (with hardware support!)

AMD Freesync Technology

Keeping all this in mind, reduction in stutters is reason enough to get FreeSync-enabled monitors. Secondly, the price point is the most significant factor to weigh in. G-sync is an expensive solution that might not fit your needs if you’re looking for some fun down the gaming pathway.

Luckily, AMD hasn’t stopped updating the technology. AMD introduced Low Framerate Compensation (LFC), which adds to the older tech. But what exactly does it do? Let’s discuss it next.


How About FreeSync 2 HDR


FreeSync2 is the latest technology from AMD, which builds upon the older sync technology. Although there aren’t many changes in the two technologies, they still differ in terms of functionality. Apart from that, manufacturers are also forced to add several features to make monitors with the tech-supported.

Now off to the fun part – LFC or the Low Framerate Compensation feature. It allows your monitor to adjust the framerate of the monitor even if it doesn’t fall under the specified range of 48-75 Hz. This will help older monitors to operate much better and alleviate the issues of screen stutters.

FreeSync 2 HDR

For example, if your GPU outputs 30 frames per second. The LFC feature will pump it up to 60Hz by efficient replaying, so your gameplay isn’t affected. This also helps resolve the issues of screen stutters.

What’s with the HDR in the name? Well, the initial version had HDR support, but it didn’t require the technology to be included exclusively. With the newer version, HDR support is mandatory, so manufacturers can’t release monitors without HDR support.


Final Words

Hopefully, this article was enlightening for you and helped you decide if you need a FreeSync monitor or not. The technology is undoubtedly helpful and can help you have a smooth gaming experience. Not to mention, the pricing makes it perfect for all the features.

If you’re a hardcore gamer or in search of more rich solutions, you can still opt for G-sync based monitors. They’re a tad bit expensive but can help you achieve the most. Say whatever you want, stepping into the world of lag-less gameplays sounds heavenly.

With that said, this concludes our article. Again, we hope to have served you right. Happy gaming!

 
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Author
Bobby Segura
Bobby Segura

Gaming enthusiast who enjoys everything from the Vagrant Story to Assassin’s Creed. His interest in gaming soon transformed into passion and he started working as an author of NeoGamr.

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