AnsweredAssumed Answered

Brightness flickering when freesync is ON in multiple games (worse since last driver update)

Question asked by freesyncflicker on May 9, 2017
Latest reply on Jul 21, 2020 by tars_313

Freesync flickering issue

Freesync enabled causes brightness flickering in multiple games. I've also reported that on reddit in the May Support Thread but had no feedback on this in the last day.

As soon as Freesync is disabled the brightness flickering disappears.


System Configuration:

  • Motherboard: Asus Crosshair IV Formula
  • CPU: FX-8350
  • Memory: 16GB Corsair Platinum GDDR4
  • GPU: MSI Radeon 290
  • VBIOS:
  • Driver: Crimson 17.5.1
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 (Version 1607 - Build 14393.1066)
  • Monitor: Benq XL2730Z (144hz, V001 firmware)


  Steps to Reproduce for HotS:

  1. Have a AMD 290 and a Freesync monitor with 17.5.1 installed
  2. Enable Freesync
  3. Launch HotS (Heroes of the Storm) and play/watch an action rich scene
  4. Observe brightness flickering especially in corners of screen
  5. Tab out and disable Freesync via Radeon Settings
  6. Observe smooth gameplay without flickering


Expected Behavior:

Games run without flickering


Actual Behavior:

Brightness flickering is experienced in several games when Freesync is enabled


Additional Observations:

There's a lot of talk about flickering and people describe very different issues with the word flickering. So it's hard to distinguish who means what issue when people talk about this. But I'm pretty sure this guy here ( has the same issue. There's also people talking about this in here( but a lot of them are talking about other types of flickering issues.


I've only noticed this with the latest driver because the brightness flickering has become quite more visible. First I thought my graphics card or monitor are defective but it's driver related. For testing purposes I've tried these drivers (uninstalled with uninstaller + amd cleanup utility afterwards): 15.11 - 16.2.2 - 16.11.5 - 17.5.1

The issue has always been always been there, but with the versions 15.11 - 16.2.2 - 16.11.5 it's quite a lot less visible and frequent. With those drivers you need quite a lot of action in HotS for the flickering to appear and it's so subtle that you almost have to look for it to see it.

It's gotten definitely a lot worse 16.11.5 and 17.5.1. It's almost permanent now and pretty much unplayable in HotS with Freesync ON.

It tends to be worse in HotS the more action there is, but in the Uniengine demo it seems to be more about which particular framerate you got (10 might be smooth while 70 might be flickering)


It's very visible in Heroes of the Storm but can also be observed in:

  • the CS:GO main menu every time an menu animates after clicking a button
  • the Uniengine Superposition Benchmark in Game Mode (DirectX, 1440p) but only in certain positions or at certain framerate (with the 17.5.1 drivers it was at around 69-75 fps)
  • Loading screen when loading into a level in Overwatch
  • Loading screen when loading into an Act in Diablo 3
  • Multiplayer main menu in Starcraft 2
  • Dota2 on loadingscreen to a game and ingame to a lesser extent


Games which were briefly(!) tested and where the freesync flickering did NOT occur:

  • Witcher 3
  • Battlefield 4
  • Tom Clancy's The Division
  • XCOM 2


As soon as Freesync is disabled the brightness flickering disappears.


I've tried to capture this effect on video which is quite hard without a good camera. I've used the slow-mo 120 FPS camera mode from an IPhone 5S. You see the effect the best in the first video. Compare minute 01:00 and after minute 02:00.


To get around this I've tried:

  • Setting all kinds of Settings ingame and in Radeon Menu including Wattman stuff. Tried everything with default settings.
  • Turned VSYNC ON/OFF
  • Tried setting different HZ settings (60,100,120,144) and the only setting where it seemed that this does not occur is 60hz.
  • Deactivated f.lux
  • Tried a few different drivers
  • Tried various monitor settings and factory reset monitor
  • Using clock blocker to always have gpu clock at 947
  • Changed Displayport cable


UPDATE 10.05.

I've tested today with another BENQ XL2730Z which is brand new and uses firmware 005.

Had the same flickering and results.

Changed the graphics card to a Saphire 390 and again, had the same results.


My best guess now is that it's a driver issue.


UPDATE 12.05.

I'm not sure but I think it's gone? I've done some brief retests and I think it's gone.

I'll have to examine this further to check if it's only gone now because freesync doesn't work for some reason.

The only thing that changed was that I got a windows update and am now system running build 14393.1198.

HotS and SC2 received updates as well but to exclude that this is the reason I checked in CS:GO and the Unigine engine demo as well.


UPDATE 13.05.

Received the Creators Update today. I'm running now Windows 10 Pro Version 1703, system build 15063.296.

Tried Overwatch, HotS, CS:GO for a few minutes and didn't see any flickering.


UPDATE 15.05.2017

The brightness flickering is back. The only thing I changed after doing the Creators Update is that I reinstalled my COMODO Firewall since the Creators Update broke it.

Maybe that's a coincidence though.

Anyone else using COMODO?


UPDATE 17.05.2017

Due to the post from redvolcano7 I think we can rule out COMODO as the culprit.

And since it happens with different hardware setups it's also most likely not tied to that.

I think this is some sort of software/driver issue.
My guess now is that the issue didn't occur for some time for me because freesync was actually not ON/working even though it was toggled to ON in the Crimson Settings.


UPDATE 19.05.2017

New Driver 17.5.2 are out. No mention of this bug being fixed or a known issue.

Unfortunately I won't be able to retest this for some weeks.

If you still have the bug with 17.5.2 then I urge you to reply here so this issue is given more priority by AMD.


UPDATE 08.06.2017

Issue is still there with 17.5.2. Tested in HotS.


UPDATE 08.06.2017 #2

Now also tested with 17.6.1 and it's still there. I looks like it actually got worse compared to 17.5.2.

But I think I'll be leaving this issue behind now. Since AMD hasn't released much information about VEGA at computex even though they've been dangling this berry in front of consumers for a year That was the last straw for me and I've decided to get a NVIDIA 1080 which will arrive in a few days.

It's about 2 years now since AMD released a high end consumer graphics card. Way to long for someone who has a AMD 290 wanted to upgrade last year.

I won't have freesync but with issues like this I can't use freesync anyway, so not much lost there. Especially since it seems AMD doesn't even care this is happening.

Good luck with this issue everyone.


UPDATE 18.12.2017

Just dropping in again to report this is still happening with a MSI Radeon 290 and a Asus MG278Q with the latest drivers on Windows 10 64bit. Seems AMD doesn't care to fix this even though this thread is 7 pages long. Make some noise?


UPDATE 21.12.2017

Adrenalin 17.12.2 did not fix this but it might have made it more subtle.


UPDATE 07.02.2017

Just popping in to say the problem still is visible in 18.2.1.

Tested with Dota2 menu screen, when you switch between menues the brightness flickering is observable on the background. I assume this happens in other games as well still.

AMD clearly doesn't care enough about this.

Let's #makesomenoise, please report this issue here since AMD themselves says that increases the chances of something being fixed: