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PC Gaming: It All Starts with the Glass

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[Originally posted on 07/18/17.]

Throughout my years as a GPU reviewer, I’ve enjoyed having a front row seat to some great advancements in 3D graphics.

Some of them were extremely complex. You could tell it took years for talented engineering teams to refine the foundations leading to these leaps forward in rendering and performance. Understanding and explaining in simpler terms the inner workings of those technologies often proved quite challenging, but most of the time revealing the benefits was straightforward: “Here’s your performance increase” or “Here’s your higher quality screenshot.”


LG 34UC79G

Then came adaptive/variable refresh rate (A/VRR). For once, the theory behind it was simple. Traditional synchronization controlled by the monitor at a fixed rate causes well-known issues such as screen tearing and stuttering because it doesn’t match the GPU’s “rhythm”. So why not let the GPU run the show? Though it’s a simple and elegant technique, it still requires advanced display engines, smarter drivers, and an extensive validation effort.

The results, however, were remarkable. After two hours gaming with ARR, I realized this was a true leap forward. Going back to a traditional monitor was painful.

The concept of ARR is easy enough to explain and understand, but showing the tangible benefits isn’t so easy. No illustration can show you the real thing. No words can describe the buttery smooth experience. You just have to try it.

If you’re gaming on a traditional 60 Hz monitor, to reach the ideal stutter-free and tearing-free experience you’ll want your system to be able to run well over 60 fps (65? 70? 75 fps on average?) and set it up with vertical synchronization (V-Sync). With ARR you could get a similar experience at 50 fps. Too good to be true? Can Radeon™ FreeSync technology give you the same experience as a faster graphic card? Yes it can.


Samsung CHG70

Giving away such a feature for free is not an easy decision to make. ARR breathes new life into a mid-range graphics card, which could mean you could upgrade your monitor now and upgrade your GPU later and get noticeable results. And while we’d love you buy a new graphics card, we also we believe in strongly in Radeon FreeSync.

I’m glad the Radeon FreeSync architects saw things through this lens. In the long run, what’s beneficial for PC gaming is good for the industry surrounding it. That’s why early on we decided to develop Radeon FreeSync in such a way that ARR could be implemented in as many monitors as possible – we don’t charge a license fee, so there’s no any extra hardware cost to manufacturers or consumers. We want every PC gamer to enjoy stutter-free and tear-free displays.

Radeon FreeSync is arguably one of the fastest growing visual technologies for gaming today, and we’re proud to have planted this seed that received tremendous support from the display industry. From entry-level 1080p monitors, to the gorgeous high-resolution curved ultrawides, there is a Radeon FreeSync monitor for every gamer.

Today there are over 200 Radeon FreeSync, Radeon FreeSync with LFC and Radeon™ FreeSync 2 monitors covering a wide range of prices, sizes, resolutions and features. This list grows weekly, and only a Radeon graphics card can provide the best gaming experience on these monitors.

If you aren’t convinced yet, I can only encourage you to try a Radeon FreeSync system yourself. At your friends’, at your retailer, during LAN parties. You won’t be disappointed. We also have a lot of work to do on our side to put this goodness in front of you. That’s why we’ve organized community events this month where you can experience what’s possible with the combination of Radeon FreeSync, an AMD Ryzen™ CPU, and the new Radeon™ RX Vega graphics card:

  • Budapest
  • Portland

It’s a great combo of the most amazing technologies available this summer. Come check it out if you are in the area!

We know that a lot of gamers upgrade their systems one component at a time. Graphics cards enjoy premium treatment as they traditionally offer the most direct benefit to gaming performance, but Radeon FreeSync changes this. Sometimes the best choice for you may be to upgrade your monitor first, and enjoy the Radeon FreeSync goodness on your current Radeon graphics card.

And that’s fine with us, because from now on your journey to smooth high quality gaming starts with the glass.

Damien Triolet, Technical Marketing Manager for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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