Review: Playing smoother than ever
Today we will be taking a look at AMD FreeSync and Acer’s XG270HU monitor.
FreeSync is a new technology which enables adaptive refresh rates for monitors. It produces an effect similar to that of the Nvidia’s G-Sync. Both technologies help overcome input lag/stutter and image tearing in games and video by locking a display’s refresh rate to the framerate of the graphics card. In order to use FreeSync, you will need one of the selected AMD graphics cards and/or APUs compliant with DisplayPort Adaptive Sync 1.2 (or newer) and a special monitor, compatible with FreeSync.
The FreeSync name was chosen because the solution is based on the Adaptive Sync open standard employed in DisplayPort 1.2a. When Nvidia started working on G-Sync, Adaptive Sync was not finalized yet, so Nvidia developed its own G-Sync. Monitors using AMD FreeSync came as a response to the Nvidia’s G-Sync monitors. The bad news for consumers is that these standards are incompatible, so you can either choose an AMD or Nvidia platform, and stick with it until you change your monitor.
Another disadvantage of FreeSync is that the dynamic refresh rate is supported only by several new graphics card models, while the G-Sync, thanks to its special module, is compatible with a much bigger selection of Nvidia graphics cards. This module replaces the normal scaler hardware in the display, and adds to the price of G-Sync monitors. Comparable monitors without G-Sync module are up to $200 cheaper. Nvidia may drop prices of the G-Sync module in the future, or they could provide support for Adaptive Sync, however we do not expect this will happen in the near future.
FreeSync monitors support multiple video inputs, including DisplayPort, HDMI and dual-link DVI, while G-Sync monitors are limited to a single DsiplayPort connector. However in order to run FreeSync you will need a DisplayPort connection.
We were lucky to get our hands on the Acer XG270HU, one of the new monitors supporting AMD FreeSync technology. The Acer XG270HU has a 27-inch screen with a resolution of 2560x1440, 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. But before we take a closer look at this very attractive gaming monitor, let’s see what exactly FreeSync technology brings.