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AMD announces FreeSync 2, enthusiast level monitor tech

Before we hear about Radeon Vega, let's discuss FreeSync 2

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 3, 2017 at 09:36 am CST (3 mins, 28 secs reading time)

If there's one thing that AMD has nailed throughout 2015 and 2016, it was pushing its FreeSync technology into 121 monitors on the market - nearly 5x that of its competitor in G-Sync from NVIDIA. But now AMD has stepped up the monitor refresh technology game with the announcement of FreeSync 2.

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FreeSync has been great, offering up to 144Hz refresh smoothed out with FreeSync on 2560x1440 monitors - and even 100Hz on the latest 3440x1440 monitors on the market.

FreeSync Domination

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There are now 121 monitors with FreeSync technology inside, and AMD has 20 partners working on Radeon FreeSync monitors, while only 8 monitor partners work with NVIDIA.

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Comparing the 121 FreeSync-based monitors, NVIDIA has just 18 monitors on the market with its G-Sync technology inside.

The Current FreeSync Champions

AMD has a few champion displays on the market powered by FreeSync from BenQ, Acer, Samsung, and more. Let's go into a few of those now.

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First up, we have the BenQ XL2540, with a native resolution of 1920x1080 - but a refresh rate of between 48Hz and a massive 240Hz. You'll need a seriously beefy graphics card or 4 to hit 240FPS in your games, but hey - 240FPS, guys.

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Next up we have my second favorite FreeSync display, Acer's impressive XF270HU which has a native resolution of 2560x1440 and refresh of up to 144Hz.

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But it's the new Samsung C34F791 that has the twinkle in my eye, with its huge 34-inch 21:9 UltraWide goodness and its native resolution of 3440x1440 with up to 100Hz... oh, and Samsung's new Quantum Dot technology. I need one, or even 3 of these in my life.

FreeSync 2 is something I've wanted for a while - a true enthusiast refresh technology from AMD... but in order to have it scale well, we need next-gen GPUs - right?! That's where the upcoming Vega GPU architecture comes into play... more on that very soon, I promise.

AMD Aims For Pixel Perfection

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First, AMD has been pushing it's race to pixel perfection - with multiple new technologies including HDR. HDR Rendering to an SDR Display is something AMD is interested in, which the company says it's "breaking the chains of sRGB to enable Pixel Perfection".

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This is how HDR rendering is done to HDR displays now, but it all changes with FreeSync 2 technology.

FreeSync 2 - The Next Big Step in AMD's Monitor Technology

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This was quite the surprise during Tech Summit 2016, as I expected a change in FreeSync technology - not a complete overhaul and introduction of a higher-end FreeSync 2, at all. It's highly welcomed, though - especially from an enthusiast point of view.

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Starting with HDR rendering, which is highly simplified on FreeSync 2 - freeing up the display time, giving you the image faster - with far less latency.

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FreeSync 2 has an incredible 2x perceivable brightness and color volume over sRGB.

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FreeSync 2 offers brilliant pixels, and is plug-and-play as well.

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AMD is gunning for gamers with low latency goodness with FreeSync 2, and LFC - or low framerate compensation.

Final Thoughts

FreeSync 2... how do I encapsulate how I feel in a few paragraphs? Well, it sounds exciting - on paper, is it exciting. But I would need to not only play with it in person, but deeply - for hours upon hours, in the games I love to play - like Overwatch.

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AMD is pushing the boundaries of technology with Radeon Vega (more on that so very soon, I promise) and now FreeSync 2. The keen eyed readers amongst you will see that AMD have named this Radeon FreeSync, and not just FreeSync - which could be a tease of things to come in terms of pushing GPU and monitor-related technologies under the Radeon brand.

All in all, I didn't expect FreeSync 2 - and I'm quite frankly taken back by it. I can't wait to witness it in person, both on monitors like a 3440x1440 @ 190Hz or 4K120 panel, and hopefully one day very soon... TVs.

Last updated: Sep 1, 2017 at 05:19 am CDT

Anthony Garreffa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Anthony Garreffa

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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