The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced the addition of 'Adaptive-Sync' to its popular DisplayPort 1.2a video interface standard. This technology delivers several important capabilities to computer users: Adaptive-Sync provides smoother, tear-free images for gaming and judder-free video playback. It also significantly reduces power consumption for static desktop content and low frame rate video.
Computer monitors normally refresh their displays at a fixed frame rate. In gaming applications, a computer's CPU or GPU output frame rate will vary according to the rendering complexity of the image. If a display's refresh rate and a computer's render rate are not synchronized, visual artifacts-tearing or stuttering-can be seen by the user. DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync enables the display to dynamically match a GPU's rendering rate, on a frame-by-frame basis, to produce a smoother, low latency, gaming experience. In applications where the display content is static-such as surfing the web, reading email, or viewing a slide presentation-DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync allows the display refresh rate to be reduced seamlessly, lowering system power and extending battery life.
During the playback of lower frame rate video content, Adaptive-Sync allows the source to optimize transport of the video format leveraging OS and DisplayPort interfaces. In addition to providing smoother video playback, the lower frame rate enabled by Adaptive-Sync also reduces power demand, extending battery life.
"DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync enables a new approach in display refresh technology," said Syed Athar Hussain, Display Domain Architect, AMD and VESA Board Vice Chairman. "Instead of updating a monitor at a constant rate, Adaptive-Sync enables technologies that match the display update rate to the user's content, enabling power efficient transport over the display link and a fluid, low-latency visual experience."
Adaptive-Sync is a proven and widely adopted technology. The technology has been a standard component of VESA's embedded DisplayPort (eDP) specification since its initial rollout in 2009. As a result, Adaptive-Sync technology is already incorporated into many of the building block components for displays that rely on eDP for internal video signaling. Newly introduced to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification for external displays, this technology is now formally known as DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync.
"VESA is constantly evaluating new methods and technologies that add value to both the end user and our OEM member companies. Adaptive-Sync delivers clearly visible advantages to the user for gaming and live video, and contributes to the development of sleeker mobile system designs by reducing battery power requirements," said Bill Lempesis, VESA Executive Director. "VESA has developed a test specification to certify Adaptive-Sync compliance. Systems that pass Adaptive-Sync compliance testing will be allowed to feature the official Adaptive-Sync logo on their packaging, informing consumers which DisplayPort-certified displays and video sources offer Adaptive-Sync."
Implementation of DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync is offered to VESA members without any license fee.
Update, AMD just submitted the following FAQ to us:
Q: What is DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync?
A: DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync is a new addition to the DisplayPort™ 1.2a specification, ported from the embedded DisplayPort™ v1.0 specification. DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync provides an industry-standard mechanism that enables real-time adjustment of a monitor’s refresh rate of a display over a DisplayPort™ link.
Q: What is Project FreeSync?
A: Project FreeSync is an AMD effort to leverage industry standards, like DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync, to deliver dynamic refresh rates to gamers. Dynamic refresh rates synchronize the refresh rate of a compatible monitor to the framerate of a user’s AMD Radeon™ graphics to reduce or eliminate stuttering, juddering and/or tearing during gaming and video playback.
Q: How are DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync and Project FreeSync different?
A: DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync is an ingredient DisplayPort™ feature that enables real-time adjustment of monitor refresh rates required by technologies like Project FreeSync. Project FreeSync is a unique AMD hardware/software solution that utilizes DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync protocols to enable user-facing benefits: smooth, tearing-free and low-latency gameplay and video.
Q: Is DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync the industry-standard version of Project FreeSync?
A: The DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync specification was ported from the Embedded DisplayPort™ specification through a proposal to the VESA group by AMD. DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync is an ingredient feature of a DisplayPort™ link and an industry standard that enables technologies like Project FreeSync.
Q: What are the requirements to use FreeSync?
A: To use Project FreeSync, users will require: a monitor compatible with DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync, a compatible AMD Radeon™ GPU with a DisplayPort™ connection, and a compatible AMD Catalyst™ graphics driver. AMD will release a compatible graphics driver to coincide with the introduction of the first DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync monitors.
Q: When can I buy a monitor compatible with Project FreeSync?
A: AMD has undertaken every necessary effort to enable Project FreeSync in the display ecosystem. Monitor vendors are now integrating the DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync specification and productizing compatible displays. AMD is working closely with these vendors to bring products to market, and we expect compatible monitors within 6-12 months.
Q: What AMD Radeon™ GPUs are compatible with Project FreeSync?
The first discrete GPUs compatible with Project FreeSync are the AMD Radeon™ R9 290X, R9 290, R7 260X and R7 260 graphics cards. Project FreeSync is also compatible with AMD APUs codenamed “Kabini,” “Temash,” “Beema,” and “Mullins.” All compatible products must be connected via DisplayPort™ to a display that supports DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync.
Q: How is Project Freesync different from NVIDIA G-Sync?
While both technologies have similar benefits, G-Sync uses expensive and proprietary hardware. In contrast, Project FreeSync utilizes the industry-standard DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync specification to promote wider adoption, lower cost of ownership, and a broad ecosystem of compatibility.
Q: Why should gamers purchase a system that utilizes Project FreeSync?
A: Project FreeSync’s ability to synchronize the refresh rate of a display to the framerate of a graphics card can eliminate visual artifacts that many gamers are especially sensitive to: screen tearing, input lag, and stuttering. Project FreeSync aims to accomplish this through an open ecosystem that does not require licensing fees from participants, which encourages broad adoption and low end-user costs.
Q: What is the supported range of refresh rates with FreeSync and DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync?
A: AMD Radeon™ graphics cards will support a wide variety of dynamic refresh ranges with Project FreeSync. Using DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync, the graphics card can detect and set an appropriate maximum and minimum refresh rate based on the capabilities reported by the display. Potential ranges include 36-240Hz, 21-144Hz, 17-120Hz and 9-60Hz.