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Do You Need DisplayPort for FreeSync?

Do You Need DisplayPort for FreeSync?

If you’ve got a monitor that can do a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz, but the GPU powering it does frames at the 90 or 120 Hz rate, you’d experience “screen tearing”.

Screen tearing is a GPU or the content pushing a frame before a monitor is done refreshing the previous frame. If the monitor refreshes more frequently than the GPU could handle, that shall lead to “screen stuttering”.

AMD’s FreeSync helps address them both. It’s adaptive technology that syncs the GPU’s rendering abilities to the screen’s refresh rate, negating tears and stuttering.

FreeSync is a hardware-software implementation. It may require specific displays and video cards to work. Does that mean FreeSync has specific digital interface requirements too? Does it work only over DisplayPort and not HDMI? Or is it the opposite?

Continue to read to know the answers and more.

Does FreeSync Work with DisplayPort?

If you’ve got a monitor that can do a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz, but the GPU powering it does frames at the 90 or 120 Hz rate, you’d experience “screen tearing”. Screen tearing is a GPU or the content pushing a frame before a monitor is done refreshing the previous frame. If the monitor refreshes more frequently than the GPU could handle, that shall lead to “screen stuttering”. AMD’s FreeSync helps address them both. It’s adaptive technology that syncs the GPU’s rendering abilities to the screen’s refresh rate, negating tears and stuttering. FreeSync is a hardware-software implementation. It may require specific displays and video cards to work. Does that mean FreeSync has specific digital interface requirements too? Does it work only over DisplayPort and not HDMI? Or is it the opposite? Continue to read to know the answers and more. Does FreeSync Work with DisplayPort? Introduced in 2014, FreeSync works with DisplayPort—and that includes all the three tiers of the AMD refresh rate tech: FreeSync, FreeSync Premium, and FreeSync Premium Pro. The DisplayPort 1.2a specification added variable refresh rate (VRR) support in 2014, which FreeSync uses for its operation. (More on AMD FreeSync implementation later) FreeSync was first exhibited on a Toshiba laptop at CES 2014 using the PSR (panel self-refresh) feature on the embedded DisplayPort. Do You Need DisplayPort for FreeSync? Unlike NVIDIA’s comparable offering, G-SYNC, which supports only DisplayPort, FreeSync works with DisplayPort and HDMI. Therefore, you don’t “need” DisplayPort for FreeSync to work. As mentioned above, FreeSync is a technology built over DisplayPort 1.2a’s Adaptive-Sync (DPAS) specification. DPAS was not designed to be used over other digital interfaces. However, unlike NVIDIA, AMD made efforts to bring the variable refresh tech to HDMI. AMD Embracing HDMI With FreeSync At Computex 2015, AMD exhibited a prototype monitor that ran FreeSync over HDMI. The Radeon R9 290X graphics card powered the monitor. The monitor also had a Realtek TCON non-custom controller. The setup needed custom AMD drivers and Realtek firmware since FreeSync was not built into HDMI yet. The initiative to bake variable refresh rates into HDMI resulted in the technology appearing in inexpensive displays. Several FreeSync-certified monitors and TVs supporting VRR technologies over HDMI have been released over the years since then. Long story short, AMD democratized FreeSync tech, or it made Adaptive Sync-based FreeSync accessible to a lot more users or gamers who rocked or continue to use cheaper monitors. Besides that, AMD doesn’t charge licensing fees to monitor or TV manufacturers. There aren’t proprietary or expensive hardware modules needed for the technology to work either. Does FreeSync Work Better with HDMI or DisplayPort? Both DisplayPort and HDMI support FreeSync. But if you could choose between DisplayPort and HDMI for gaming, always opt for the latter since it’s usually a step ahead of HDMI. DisplayPort 1.4 is better on paper than HDMI 2.0, its competing standard. It can do 8K videos at a rate of up to 120 Hz. DP 1.4, on the other hand, can manage 8K content at a maximum of 30 Hz refresh rate. The increased bandwidth, refresh rate, and resolution make FreeSync a better experience over the VESA interface than HDMI. Not to mention, FreeSync started its journey with DisplayPort. The latest HDMI 2.1 surpasses DP 1.4, but it isn’t as widely available on compatible devices yet. Most (as of January 2022) still come with HDMI 2.0 ports. And by the time HDMI 2.1 becomes a lot more widespread, DisplayPort 2.0 (which was announced in June 2019) would have spread its wings too, trumping HDMI at its game once again. FreeSync’s Other Hardware Requirements As mentioned before, FreeSync doesn’t work with all GPUs and monitors. It requires more than just a compatible digital interface to do its work. The following are its specific hardware needs: AMD Radeon GPUs If your GPU is not AMD, the option to enable FreeSync its settings will not be there. You’ll need a video card that supports the feature, such as the MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Graphics Card. All AMD Radeon video cards support the feature, beginning with the Radeon RX 200 Series. Moreover, any laptop with RX 500-series graphics would support FreeSync-certified external monitors. If not for a compatible AMD GPU, your build must at least have an APU (accelerated processing unit), which is AMD’s interpretation of a CPU/GPU amalgam that can do both CPU and GPU tasks while being cost- and power-efficient. All AMD Ryzen APUs are FreeSync-compatible. According to AMD, video cards supporting DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, such as the GeForce Series 10 and above, should also work with FreeSync. NVIDIA graphics cards support FreeSync using the G-Sync compatible tag. FreeSync-Certified Monitors/TVs You’d also need a <a href=

Introduced in 2014, FreeSync works with DisplayPort—and that includes all the three tiers of the AMD refresh rate tech: FreeSync, FreeSync Premium, and FreeSync Premium Pro.

The DisplayPort 1.2a specification added variable refresh rate (VRR) support in 2014, which FreeSync uses for its operation. (More on AMD FreeSync implementation later)

FreeSync was first exhibited on a Toshiba laptop at CES 2014 using the PSR (panel self-refresh) feature on the embedded DisplayPort.

Do You Need DisplayPort for FreeSync?

A purple displayport cable

Unlike NVIDIA’s comparable offering, G-SYNC, which supports only DisplayPort, FreeSync works with DisplayPort and HDMI. Therefore, you don’t “need” DisplayPort for FreeSync to work.

As mentioned above, FreeSync is a technology built over DisplayPort 1.2a’s Adaptive-Sync (DPAS) specification. DPAS was not designed to be used over other digital interfaces.

However, unlike NVIDIA, AMD made efforts to bring the variable refresh tech to HDMI.

AMD Embracing HDMI With FreeSync

HDMI port on a red laptop

At Computex 2015, AMD exhibited a prototype monitor that ran FreeSync over HDMI.

The Radeon R9 290X graphics card powered the monitor. The monitor also had a Realtek TCON non-custom controller. The setup needed custom AMD drivers and Realtek firmware since FreeSync was not built into HDMI yet.

The initiative to bake variable refresh rates into HDMI resulted in the technology appearing in inexpensive displays. Several FreeSync-certified monitors and TVs supporting VRR technologies over HDMI have been released over the years since then.

Long story short, AMD democratized FreeSync tech, or it made Adaptive Sync-based FreeSync accessible to a lot more users or gamers who rocked or continue to use cheaper monitors.

Besides that, AMD doesn’t charge licensing fees to monitor or TV manufacturers. There aren’t proprietary or expensive hardware modules needed for the technology to work either.

Does FreeSync Work Better with HDMI or DisplayPort?

HDMI and DisplayPort cables

Both DisplayPort and HDMI support FreeSync. But if you could choose between DisplayPort and HDMI for gaming, always opt for the latter since it’s usually a step ahead of HDMI.

DisplayPort 1.4 is better on paper than HDMI 2.0, its competing standard. It can do 8K videos at a rate of up to 120 Hz. DP 1.4, on the other hand, can manage 8K content at a maximum of 30 Hz refresh rate.

The increased bandwidth, refresh rate, and resolution make FreeSync a better experience over the VESA interface than HDMI. Not to mention, FreeSync started its journey with DisplayPort.

The latest HDMI 2.1 surpasses DP 1.4, but it isn’t as widely available on compatible devices yet. Most (as of January 2022) still come with HDMI 2.0 ports.

And by the time HDMI 2.1 becomes a lot more widespread, DisplayPort 2.0 (which was announced in June 2019) would have spread its wings too, trumping HDMI at its game once again.

FreeSync’s Other Hardware Requirements

As mentioned before, FreeSync doesn’t work with all GPUs and monitors. It requires more than just a compatible digital interface to do its work. The following are its specific hardware needs:

AMD Radeon GPUs

CPU updating

If your GPU is not AMD, the option to enable FreeSync its settings will not be there. You’ll need a video card that supports the feature, such as the MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Graphics Card .

All AMD Radeon video cards support the feature, beginning with the Radeon RX 200 Series. Moreover, any laptop with RX 500-series graphics would support FreeSync-certified external monitors.

If not for a compatible AMD GPU, your build must at least have an APU (accelerated processing unit), which is AMD’s interpretation of a CPU/GPU amalgam that can do both CPU and GPU tasks while being cost- and power-efficient.

All AMD Ryzen APUs are FreeSync-compatible.

According to AMD, video cards supporting DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, such as the GeForce Series 10 and above, should also work with FreeSync. NVIDIA graphics cards support FreeSync using the G-Sync compatible tag.

FreeSync-Certified Monitors/TVs

A man using 2 monitors

You’d also need a compatible TV or monitor supporting VESA’s Adaptive Sync.

As mentioned earlier, FreeSync is VESA’s version of adaptive synchronization. NVIDIA’s G-Sync too uses VESA’s Adaptive Sync communications protocol.  

The AMD tech enables dialogue between the scaler board fitted in an Adaptive-Sync display and the Radeon GPU. The off-the-shelf board handles all the processing, backlight control, rendering, etc.

What does it take for a display to be FreeSync-certified? The monitor/television must clear all AMD testing processes. The devices are checked for the support range for Adaptive Sync, color range, brightness, and more.

All brands – Samsung, LG, Asus, Acer, AOC, etc. – make FreeSync-certified monitors. Here are some we recommend for your shopping convenience:

    • LG 27GN800-B Ultragear 27” QHD Gaming Monitor
    • Sceptre Curved 27” Gaming Monitor
    • GIGABYTE M27Q 27” Gaming Monitor
    • Samsung Odyssey G7 Series 27” WQHD Gaming Monitor
LG UltraGear FHD 27-Inch Gaming Monitor 27GN800-B, IPS 1ms (GtG) with HDR 10 Compatibility, NVIDIA G-SYNC, and AMD FreeSync Premium, 144Hz, Black
Sceptre Curved 27" Gaming Monitor up to 165Hz DisplayPort 144Hz HDMI Edge-Less AMD FreeSync Premium, Build-in Speakers Machine Black 2021...
GIGABYTE M27Q 27" 170Hz 1440P -KVM Gaming Monitor, 2560 x 1440 SS IPS Display, 0.5ms (MPRT) Response Time, 92% DCI-P3, HDR Ready, FreeSync Premium, 1x...
SAMSUNG Odyssey G7 Series 27-Inch WQHD (2560x1440) Gaming Monitor, 240Hz, Curved, 1ms, HDMI, G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Pro (LC27G75TQSNXZA)
LG UltraGear FHD 27-Inch Gaming Monitor 27GN800-B, IPS 1ms (GtG) with HDR 10 Compatibility, NVIDIA G-SYNC, and AMD FreeSync Premium, 144Hz, Black
Sceptre Curved 27" Gaming Monitor up to 165Hz DisplayPort 144Hz HDMI Edge-Less AMD FreeSync Premium, Build-in Speakers Machine Black 2021...
GIGABYTE M27Q 27" 170Hz 1440P -KVM Gaming Monitor, 2560 x 1440 SS IPS Display, 0.5ms (MPRT) Response Time, 92% DCI-P3, HDR Ready, FreeSync Premium, 1x...
SAMSUNG Odyssey G7 Series 27-Inch WQHD (2560x1440) Gaming Monitor, 240Hz, Curved, 1ms, HDMI, G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Pro (LC27G75TQSNXZA)
LG UltraGear FHD 27-Inch Gaming Monitor 27GN800-B, IPS 1ms (GtG) with HDR 10 Compatibility, NVIDIA G-SYNC, and AMD FreeSync Premium, 144Hz, Black
LG UltraGear FHD 27-Inch Gaming Monitor 27GN800-B, IPS 1ms (GtG) with HDR 10 Compatibility, NVIDIA G-SYNC, and AMD FreeSync Premium, 144Hz, Black
Sceptre Curved 27" Gaming Monitor up to 165Hz DisplayPort 144Hz HDMI Edge-Less AMD FreeSync Premium, Build-in Speakers Machine Black 2021...
Sceptre Curved 27" Gaming Monitor up to 165Hz DisplayPort 144Hz HDMI Edge-Less AMD FreeSync Premium, Build-in Speakers Machine Black 2021...
GIGABYTE M27Q 27" 170Hz 1440P -KVM Gaming Monitor, 2560 x 1440 SS IPS Display, 0.5ms (MPRT) Response Time, 92% DCI-P3, HDR Ready, FreeSync Premium, 1x...
GIGABYTE M27Q 27" 170Hz 1440P -KVM Gaming Monitor, 2560 x 1440 SS IPS Display, 0.5ms (MPRT) Response Time, 92% DCI-P3, HDR Ready, FreeSync Premium, 1x...
SAMSUNG Odyssey G7 Series 27-Inch WQHD (2560x1440) Gaming Monitor, 240Hz, Curved, 1ms, HDMI, G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Pro (LC27G75TQSNXZA)
SAMSUNG Odyssey G7 Series 27-Inch WQHD (2560x1440) Gaming Monitor, 240Hz, Curved, 1ms, HDMI, G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Pro (LC27G75TQSNXZA)

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Some FreeSync displays may work only within a specific frame rate range. Therefore, based on the game, the frame rate may be limited to remain within that threshold. The pre-defined range will be mentioned in the FreeSync plate so that you can check to confirm things.  

Televisions that are FreeSync-certified can pair with the latest Xboxes (Xbox One X/S support FreeSync) to offer the function. Activate your TV’s FreeSync feature by turning on the Game Mode option in the Settings menu.

The following are some FreeSync-certified TVs to pair with your Xbox One X/S:

  • Samsung Q900RBFXZA 75” 8K Smart TV
  • LG OLED77B1PUA 77” 4K Smart TV
  • Samsung Q90 Series 65” Smart TV
SAMSUNG QN75Q900RBFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model)
LG OLED B1 Series 77” Alexa Built-in 4k Smart TV, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, WiSA Ready, Gaming Mode...
SAMSUNG Q90 Series 65-Inch Smart TV, QLED 4K UHD with HDR and Alexa compatibility 2019 model
SAMSUNG QN75Q900RBFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model)
LG OLED B1 Series 77” Alexa Built-in 4k Smart TV, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, WiSA Ready, Gaming Mode...
SAMSUNG Q90 Series 65-Inch Smart TV, QLED 4K UHD with HDR and Alexa compatibility 2019 model
SAMSUNG QN75Q900RBFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model)
SAMSUNG QN75Q900RBFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model)
LG OLED B1 Series 77” Alexa Built-in 4k Smart TV, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, WiSA Ready, Gaming Mode...
LG OLED B1 Series 77” Alexa Built-in 4k Smart TV, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, WiSA Ready, Gaming Mode...
SAMSUNG Q90 Series 65-Inch Smart TV, QLED 4K UHD with HDR and Alexa compatibility 2019 model
SAMSUNG Q90 Series 65-Inch Smart TV, QLED 4K UHD with HDR and Alexa compatibility 2019 model

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Kindly note, there aren’t many FreeSync-supported televisions. You’ll be hard-pressed to find options better than the above.

Besides the hardware mentioned above, you’ll also require compatible DisplayPort or HDMI cables, which should typically come bundled in with your FreeSync-compatible monitors or televisions.

Conclusion

Freesync EXPLAINED - What is it? How does it Work? What does it do?

To conclude, FreeSync can significantly boost your gaming experience. However, it comes in handy only when you need it. The AMD tech will not make its presence felt with titles that do not require significant graphics power.

If you’re playing a graphically intensive title instead, even a robust gaming computer may only render 40 to 50 fps on average, below your monitor’s native refresh rate. By throwing FreeSync into the mix, you enable the monitor to scale down or up to match the frame rates.  

Just stay reminded that a FreeSync-certified monitor is only one piece of the puzzle. You need compatible video cards, APUs, and cables to work in unison to offer a gaming experience without any stutter and tearing. 

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