The viability of a new free alternative to Nvidia’s new variable refresh rate tech G-Sync has been questioned by the PC hardware firm.
Rival AMD took to CES this week to reveal FreeSync – a new technology that apes G-Sync’s ability to synchronise the refresh rates of a monitor and graphics card, supposedly removing both screen tear and stutter.
AMD’s product, which will be freely available to all, works by allowing GPUs and screen to work closely together using a standard known as VBLANK. It was demonstrated in action at the show using two Toshiba Satellite Click notebooks. All that is required for it to work is a VBLANK compatible screen and an AMD card with an updated driver.
The key differentiator from Nvidia’s offering is that FreeSync does not require specific hardware – for Nvidia G-Sync to work panels must have certain circuitry installed.
However, Nvidia's Tom Petersen has told The Tech Report that AMD’s use of laptops to demonstrate FreeSync should not be overlooked.
“Laptops, he explained, have a different display architecture than desktops, with a more direct interface between the GPU and the LCD panel,” the site wrote. “Desktop monitors use other interfaces, like HDMI and DisplayPort, and typically have a scaler chip situated in the path between the GPU and the panel.
“As a result, a feature like variable refresh is nearly impossible to implement on a desktop monitor as things now stand.”
He also added that AMD’s sudden interest in synchronised refresh rates validates Nvidia’s existing investment in the area.