For a long time gamers have been dealing with tearing, stuttering and input latency when playing games, especially when the frame rate does not precisely meet the monitors refresh rate. Vsync was created as an in game option to help combat tearing and stuttering by locking the games maximum frames per second to your monitors refresh rate. This implementation sounded great though sadly it is not the ideal solution. Vsync increased input lag and still did little to combat stuttering and tearing if your framerate dips lower than your monitors refresh rate.
AMD and Nvidia saw this was a problem and developed their own solutions for this issue. The result is AMD’s project Freesync and Nvidia’s G-Sync. Both of these solutions tackle the problem in different ways though they share the same goal, to make gaming smoother and more responsive. They do this by synchronizing the monitors refresh rate with the games framerate, eliminating tearing and reducing both stuttering and input lag.
AMD’s project Freesync was developed upon an open standard that monitor manufacturers can easily implant into their products. By doing so, AMD can bring the benefits of the technology to a wide audience. VESA, which sets interface standards, have implanted adaptive sync technology as a standard to the display port interface. As a result, many monitor manufacturers are likely to support adaptive sync as there is little additional cost to manufacture.
At the moment adaptive sync is only supported on certain AMD GPUs. According to AMD, the R9 295X2, 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260 GPUs will support adaptive sync. Unfortunately, not all models in the R 200 series will be supported, such as the 280X. Nvidia has denied plans to support adaptive sync, favoring their own G-Sync. There is no official word from Intel on whether they will support adaptive sync with their integrated graphics on their processors.
We feel that AMD’s project Freesync is definitely a step in the right direction as it addresses issues which have been a constant battle for gamers. It will not only be interesting to see how well adaptive sync will compete with G-Sync, but also if there’s a significant difference in price of monitors.