Today at AMD's Future of Compute event in Singapore, AMD announced partnerships with several companies. One of the more noteworthy announcements is that Samsung will be making FreeSync enabled displays that should be available in March 2015. The displays consist of the 23.6" and 28" UD590, and there will be 23.6", 28", and 31.5" variants of the UE850. These are all UHD (4K) displays, and Samsung has stated their intention to support Adaptive-Sync (and thereby FreeSync) on all of their UHD displays in the future.

FreeSync is AMD's alternative to NVIDIA's G-SYNC, with a few key differences. The biggest difference is that AMD proposed an extension to DisplayPort called Adaptive-Sync, and the VESA group accepted this extension as an amendment to the DisplayPort 1.2a specifications. Adaptive-Sync is thus an open standard that FreeSync leverages to enable variable refresh rates. As far as system requirements for FreeSync, other than a display that supports DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, you need a supported AMD GPU with a DisplayPort connection and a driver from AMD with FreeSync support.

FreeSync is also royalty free, which should help manufacturers in controlling costs on FreeSync capable displays. There are other costs to creating a display that can support Adaptive-Sync, naturally, so we wouldn't expect price parity with existing LCDs in the near term. On the FreeSync FAQ, AMD notes that the manufacturing and validation requirements to support variable refresh rates without visual artifacts are higher than traditional LCDs, and thus cost-sensitive markets will likely hold off on adopting the standard for now. Over time, however, if Adaptive-Sync catches on then economies of scale come into play and we could see widespread adoption.

Being an open standard does have its drawbacks. NVIDIA was able to partner up with companies and develop G-SYNC and deploy it about a year ago, and there are now 4K 60Hz G-SYNC displays (Acer's XB280HK) and QHD 144Hz G-SYNC display (ASUS' ROG Swift PG278Q) that have been shipping for several months. In many ways G-SYNC showed the viability of adaptive refresh rates, but regardless of who gets credit the technology is quite exciting. If Adaptive-Sync does gain traction, as an open standard there's nothing to stop NVIDIA from supporting the technology and altering G-SYNC to work with Adaptive-Sync displays, but we'll have to wait and see on that front.

Pricing for the Samsung displays has not been announced, though the existing UD590 models tend to cost around $600 for the 28" version. I'd expect the Adaptive-Sync enabled monitors to have at least a moderate price premium, but we'll see when they become available some time around March 2015.

Source: AMD

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  • Gigaplex - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    With the current state of Windows desktop DPI scaling? No thanks.
  • Spectrophobic - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    It'll be great for UHD gaming eye-candy though... as long as you only play games that is.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    As long as you only play games that can run at 4K without choking as well. :p
  • Spectrophobic - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    Well, depending on your definition of "without choking", current GPUs are moderately capable of playing games on UHD on moderate settings.
  • TheJian - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    Shouldn't we be calling it "not-so-freesync" by now? This article blatantly shows it is NOT free as I've said all along here, at tomshardware etc. Ridiculous. Scalers will charge for the R&D they had to do to get this to work, certification testing will cost monitor makers etc etc. If you still think this will be FREE, you're plumb crazy. FREE would mean it would be the EXACT SAME PRICE as current model without it right?

    "I'd expect the Adaptive-Sync enabled monitors to have at least a moderate price premium, but we'll see when they become available some time around March 2015."

    "AMD notes that the manufacturing and validation requirements to support variable refresh rates without visual artifacts are higher than traditional LCDs"

    Yeah, let me know when FREE really means FREE.

    "Over time, however, if Adaptive-Sync catches on then economies of scale come into play and we could see widespread adoption."

    You could say the same for Gsync, especially since NV owns 68% of discrete and there are FAR more owners of 600 series and up cards on the NV side already that will work if you go Gsync monitor, rather than AMD's side. Meaning fewer people on the NV side need more than a monitor.
    "The AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2, 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260 GPUs additionally feature updated display controllers that will support dynamic refresh rates during gaming."

    If you don't own one of the above, you won't be using your card with freesync for gaming (only vid playback). Considering their much smaller market share, far more people need a card and a monitor on the AMD side, as simple math on sales numbers would show. I'll reserve judgement for when AMD actually gives it to reviewers to TEST, but for even a $100 premium over whatever premium is on AMD's side, I'll go NV because we know it works already if they can't prove it is just as good as NV's solution (and I really mean AS GOOD, not good enough). My monitors are over 7yrs old now, so that works out to $1 or so per month for "it just works". I have no problem with proprietary stuff if it's better and not much more cost like gsync seems to be over time. AMD also isn't leading in anything on gpu vs. maxwell and seem to have far more driver issues after cutting ~35% of their employees over the last 4yrs or so. I don't mind paying for BETTER stuff. IE, I like AMD the company and many products over the years (not management, but for example I own a radeon 5850 currently), but I'll be buying an Intel cpu barring a miracle cpu from AMD next year.
  • ViRGE - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    "Shouldn't we be calling it "not-so-freesync" by now? "

    The "free" in "freesync" has always referred to royalties. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • chizow - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    That's not true, Koduri was telling anyone who would listen FreeSync would essentially be free and that many monitors on the market could support FreeSync with just a firmware update. Needless to say, we have not seen Koduri speak on this or any other matter lately, instead we get the even more dishonest Huddy.

    Either way, it was a wholly misleading misnomer that many AMD fanboys have incorrectly parroted since. In the end they're just pawns as usual in AMD's stall tactics to try and delay adoption of G-Sync while they scrambled to formulate their own solution.
  • kyuu - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    Don't you ever get tired of this endless posturing? FFS, unless Nvidia is paying you I just don't understand what it is you get out of it.

    We get it. NVIDIA can do no wrong, while AMD is a pile of shit. We would all be much better off if Intel and Nvidia had a monopoly on the CPU and GPU markets and AMD was shot behind the barn to put it out of its misery.
  • chizow - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    Do you like being lied to? Do you like being treated as an uninformed moron that doesn't know any better when AMD makes these ridiculous statements? Unless AMD is paying you or you're a braindead AMD zombie I just don't understand what you get out of it by defending their endless posturing, excuses and flat out lies. Its called accountability, AMD loves to just spitball and throw this nonsense out here, but its OK as long as people like you don't hold them accountable for it.

    I've never once stated Nvidia can do no wrong, in fact, I've been critical of many of their pricing/SKU initiatives with Kepler, but that doesn't change the fact they are a SOLUTIONS driven company that actually produces product over bullshit slidedecks and spends more of their time and efforts developing and improving their own tech rather than pointing the finger and QQing over how their premature/stillborn tech will somehow be better when it eventually makes it to market.

    And Intel vs. AMD isn't already a virtual monopoly in the CPU market? Seems to have been business as usual over the last 8 years since Conroe launched. Has anyone really even noticed a lack of AMD competitiveness in this market? I doubt we would see much different if a similar lopsided victory occurred for Nvidia on the GPU end of things. In fact, the last time Nvidia dominated AMD so badly, we got the $230 8800GT, as AT stated "the only GPU that matters".
  • legokill101 - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    and look what we got and the cpu market intel can know set pretty much any price they want want with the cpu's and enthusiasts can do little more then grumble since their are no alternatives. I also think you are confusing cause and effect with the 8800gt, we did not get it BECAUSE nvidia was dominating amd (actually ATI at the time i believe) but rather it was the reason they dominated. so please don't try and argue a monopoly is a good thing, or get cause and effect mixed up.

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