Today at AMD's Future of Compute event in Singapore, AMD announced partnerships with several companies. One of the more noteworthy announcements is that Samsung will be making FreeSync enabled displays that should be available in March 2015. The displays consist of the 23.6" and 28" UD590, and there will be 23.6", 28", and 31.5" variants of the UE850. These are all UHD (4K) displays, and Samsung has stated their intention to support Adaptive-Sync (and thereby FreeSync) on all of their UHD displays in the future.

FreeSync is AMD's alternative to NVIDIA's G-SYNC, with a few key differences. The biggest difference is that AMD proposed an extension to DisplayPort called Adaptive-Sync, and the VESA group accepted this extension as an amendment to the DisplayPort 1.2a specifications. Adaptive-Sync is thus an open standard that FreeSync leverages to enable variable refresh rates. As far as system requirements for FreeSync, other than a display that supports DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, you need a supported AMD GPU with a DisplayPort connection and a driver from AMD with FreeSync support.

FreeSync is also royalty free, which should help manufacturers in controlling costs on FreeSync capable displays. There are other costs to creating a display that can support Adaptive-Sync, naturally, so we wouldn't expect price parity with existing LCDs in the near term. On the FreeSync FAQ, AMD notes that the manufacturing and validation requirements to support variable refresh rates without visual artifacts are higher than traditional LCDs, and thus cost-sensitive markets will likely hold off on adopting the standard for now. Over time, however, if Adaptive-Sync catches on then economies of scale come into play and we could see widespread adoption.

Being an open standard does have its drawbacks. NVIDIA was able to partner up with companies and develop G-SYNC and deploy it about a year ago, and there are now 4K 60Hz G-SYNC displays (Acer's XB280HK) and QHD 144Hz G-SYNC display (ASUS' ROG Swift PG278Q) that have been shipping for several months. In many ways G-SYNC showed the viability of adaptive refresh rates, but regardless of who gets credit the technology is quite exciting. If Adaptive-Sync does gain traction, as an open standard there's nothing to stop NVIDIA from supporting the technology and altering G-SYNC to work with Adaptive-Sync displays, but we'll have to wait and see on that front.

Pricing for the Samsung displays has not been announced, though the existing UD590 models tend to cost around $600 for the 28" version. I'd expect the Adaptive-Sync enabled monitors to have at least a moderate price premium, but we'll see when they become available some time around March 2015.

Source: AMD

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  • dagnamit - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    If you think that monitor manufactures are going to price it cheap, just because it's cheap to implement, then I've got a nice bridge.... ASync is free profit outta nowhere for monitor manufacturers. Good job AMD! Way to make money off your ideas! Reply
  • eanazag - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    They will make money on video cards. The situation was Nvidia only with Gsync and they had a timer to market lead. Leaving AMD with a situation of making work for everyone or deliver a solution that is cheaper as incentive to manufacturers. It potentially could eliminate Gsync from the market as it is a part of DisplayPort and so in a couple years it will be a feature all GPUs leverage. Reply
  • Deelron - Saturday, November 22, 2014 - link

    How does AMD making money on video cards benefit the monitor manufacturer?

    I'm with Dag, just because it's way cheaper to implement doesn't mean that monitors with this feature aren't going to cost more then ones without it, regardless of how little it cost to the manufacturer, and I wouldn't be surprised if the price difference was around 10% or less.
    Reply
  • haukionkannel - Saturday, November 22, 2014 - link

    Free sync aka adaptive sync is a industry standard, so Intel, AMD, Nvidia all could use it free. Pure competition will pring the price down. G-sync is pure Nvidia only system, so It will always be like Apple products. No competition, no need to reduce the price...
    The really interesting this is how good Adaptive sync will be compared to Gsync. If it is as good or even near, it will become very popular. It will definitely help those poor performance Intel GPU to produce reasonable good picture in simple games. It also can be used in CPUs that are used in ARM processors, so there definitely is going to be market to this system!
    Reply
  • medi02 - Monday, November 24, 2014 - link

    It's not only that G-sync is not free, it's also that nVidia openly stated they weren't going to share it with anyone (for money or not). Reply
  • medi02 - Monday, November 24, 2014 - link

    It's not only that G-sync is not free, it's also that nVidia openly stated they weren't going to share it with anyone (for money or not). Reply
  • medi02 - Monday, November 24, 2014 - link

    Monitor manufacturers would benefit from not having to deal with market segmentation. Reply
  • basroil - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    "Adaptive VSync is royalty-free technology that's part of the DisplayPort standard, G-Sync requires the monitor manufacturer include Nvidia hardware into the monitor design. I don't think it will be long before every monitor supports adaptive vsync, it really is that cheap to implement"

    Adaptive-Sync==g-sync==ePD1.3+, ALL of those require controllers built into the panel with more expensive chips and a substantial frame buffer
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    You are looking at a max of $100 difference using AMD's own numbers, actual G-Sync panel costs, actual Samsung panel costs, and a little bit of common sense.

    $800 for Nvidia's 4K Display. $600+ for Samsung's UHD non-ASync Display. Purported premium of $100 for the ASync capable scalers. That's $700 for Async and $800 G-Sync. Is that really a big difference when you are spending $700+ either way?

    The biggest difference of course being G-Sync's benefits are a known commodity, while ASync is still TBD.
    Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Friday, November 21, 2014 - link

    $100 is a noticeable difference. That's $100 I can spend on a better GPU or CPU or just save. Reply

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