For an overview of Virtu MVP see this anandtech article: LucidLogix Virtu MVP Technology - Intel Z77 Panther Point Chipset and Motherboard Preview – ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI,…
Below i'll discuss my experience, & my thoughts on why Virtu MVP still matters in a world with FreeSync.
I've been using Virtu MVP (now Virtu MVP Pro 18.104.22.168300) since 2012. I originally started using it with my old nvidia 9800GT, and i currently use it in conjunction with my AMD R9 270. I've come to consider it an essential piece of software - playing MOBAs, RTS or FPS without it is simply not acceptable. In games like Cities Skylines it's unnecessary and I can disable it to maximise energy efficiency. Before installing my new R9 270 i uninstalled Virtu MVP along with the nvidia drivers. Upon firing up Dota 2 on the R9 I was appalled by the noticeable tearing - the fact that the frame rate was through the roof was no consolation. Not happy, i turned on V-Sync but found the input lag, to be even more unpleasant than the tearing. I was pondering my old setup and searching for answers when I realised I had been using Virtu MVP. Sure enough, i was able to restore tear free, lag free gaming by reinstalling Virtu MVP. The important thing to understand here is that, under Dota 2, I found a 9800GT with Virtual V-Sync & Hyperformance provided a better tear-free gaming experience than an R9 270 could. The fact that the R9 270 crushes the 9800GT in a dota 2 benchmark is irrelevant. FYI - the 9800GT would typically game in the 50-60fps range, while the R9 270 would hit the 120 fps cap in Dota 2 at the same detail settings.
So why is Virtu MVP still relevant today, in a world containing FreeSync? Firstly most AMD GPU owners don't have a FreeSync capable card and FreeSync monitor. In fact the R7 370 is still selling today and does not support FreeSync). Adaptive Sync more than doubles the cost of a monitor - and thus represents an expensive way to achieve similar end results to Virtu MVP. Hyperformance is a trick that neither FreeSync or G-Sync can replicate - and it's a neat trick. The last completed frame is sent to the monitor & the CPU, and GPU are working as early as possible on producing the next frame as Virtu MVP intelligently cancels rendering tasks that are not going to be displayed at next refresh. I acknowledge there is less need for it given how Adaptive Sync works, but... the FreeSync whitepaper says "This helps ensure that a frame is almost always displayed as soon as possible, avoiding lag". In those circumstances where the frame isn't displayed as soon as possible, AMD might wish to look at whether Hyperformance can help. Finally I suspect the limited frame rate range of FreeSync leaves an opportunity for Virtual V-Sync and Hyperformance to enable gamers to play lag & tear free beyond the adaptive frame rate range of their FreeSync monitor. I'd note i've not tested V-Sync @ 120Hz or 144Hz so can't say how bad the lag is - certainly there will be some lag, and i can see reports of this on forums. A number of monitors have significantly lower maximum FreeSync frequencies.
Given that Lucid has stopped development, I think this could be an opportunity for AMD to swoop , buy out the patents, and integrate Virtual V-Sync and Hyperformance into the Crimson software suite. AMD would need to extend support to Windows 10, DX12 and Linux.
Finally i'll note that Virtu MVP was not perfect. Some games demonstrated compatibility issues running with Hyperformance; and you do have some more settings to fiddle with (sometimes) to get your game playing optimally. Overall though, Virtu MVP has been well worth my time. I continue to use it and hope to continue to enjoy responsive tear free gaming on my AMD R9 270 for years to come.
P.S. Nvidia has debuted a new software driver feature called 'Fast Sync' on their GTX 1080.
Nvidia have implemented the option to force true triple buffering (two back buffers, display last complete frame) via their GeForce driver. Fast Sync will made available to all nvidia cards via driver update. Virtual V-Sync is simply a different way to implement true triple buffering. Note the wrong answer the nvidia presenter gives to a question that suggests Fast Sync is very similar to triple buffering. He suggest that the back buffers would all fill up at high frame rates and backpressure the game engine. Rubbish, as you simply overwrite the older of the two back-buffers.
AMD needs to respond to this - it's a pity this has taken so long... Triple Buffering: Why We Love It (2009)