Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

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Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:18 am

Hi,
I am in the market for a new monitor and already pre ordered Asus Rog Swift.
I doubt I will change my mind, since Freesync monitors will probably take at least half a year to come to market, and I have already been waiting since December 2013 to get this new monitor. However I am very interested to find out a few things about the differences in the 2 technologies. Hopefully you guys can clear these questions for me.

1) G-Sync comes with ULMB. Does FreeSync have a version of that?
2) Freesync adds a blank frame, while G-sync makes the monitor wait for the frame. Is there any obvious benefit of picking one over the other? I don't mean subtle benefits, but something that stands out.
3) Does Freesync need to be enabled in the driver for each game? I know G-Sync doesn't.
4) Does Freesync work in Borderless Fullscreen mode, or is it like G-Sync and needs a full screen mode to work?
5) Is there any reason we don't have Freesync working already in laptops? I mean, AMD showed a demo on a laptop since it already has the hardware for the technology. Is there any reason we are not all using Freesync right now at least on laptops that already have the hardware in place?
6) Would either G-Sync or Freesync be useful for removing microstuttering? Certain games like Thief 3 and Portal gives me migraines after playing them for 20-30 minutes. I have always presumed it to be due to some sort of stuttering. Then later on TechReport started measuring the microstutters and I had confirmation that it actually existed and was not just my imagination.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:14 am

Best answer?

Wait for reviews of monitors with final versions of each, neither of which is yet available. If you want it *now*, there's only one choice.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:51 am

I already know I am buying the G-Sync monitor. Since there is no way I am gonna wait for another 6 months.
This is really only for my own curiosity. Not to help me make any purchase decision.
I see a lot of arguments about which one is better. But I have yet to see anyone mention anything in regards to strobing in Freesync or even microstuttering. Most of the focus is usually on the cost and lag.

I am sure both technologies will evolve over time as they mature. But I would still love to know these things based on the info that's already available. Especially if Freesync supports a strobing method or not.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:22 am

Well, G-Sync does not explicitly support strobing- that just happens to be a feature of the monitor it debuted in. I'm going to assume that it's possible for a FreeSync monitor to support strobing, but in making that assumption I'm assuming that strobing support has very little to do with variable V-Sync except that it doesn't seem plausible for both to happen at the same time given that strobing relies on regular refreshes.

As for micro-stuttering- the two aren't directly related, and the problem has by and large been fixed. If it surfaces again it's likely the fault of the developer.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:32 am

Well, this is what Blurbusters say:

When Andy of nVidia was asked whether LightBoost could be combined with G-GSYNC, AndyBNV of nVidia confirmed on NeoGaf:

“We have a superior, low-persistence mode that should outperform that unofficial [LightBoost] implementation, and importantly, it will be available on every G-SYNC monitor. Details will be available at a later date.”.


So even if its not part of the G-Sync spec, it certainly looks to be a guaranteed thing in every G-Sync monitor.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:59 am

rahulahl wrote:Well, this is what Blurbusters say:

When Andy of nVidia was asked whether LightBoost could be combined with G-GSYNC, AndyBNV of nVidia confirmed on NeoGaf:

“We have a superior, low-persistence mode that should outperform that unofficial [LightBoost] implementation, and importantly, it will be available on every G-SYNC monitor. Details will be available at a later date.”.


So even if its not part of the G-Sync spec, it certainly looks to be a guaranteed thing in every G-Sync monitor.


I missed that, and that's pretty cool.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:09 pm

I'm also very anxious to upgrade my 6-yr-old TN panel. G-Sync seems to be further along (and I've also already got an NVidia card), but the fact that the tech is proprietary and requires additional hardware is a turnoff to me. I also don't like the idea of being locked into one GPU maker for the life of the monitor, especially since it's possible that one tech will quickly win out over the other. The ideal monitor would support both FreeSync and G-Sync, but you'd be talking another 6 months after both techs are out.

Anyhow, we won't know until we compare two working monitors. That's really all there is to it. I think if Freesync is at least equal to G-Sync, it wins by default because it's open and less expensive to implement. If that were the case, hopefully NVidia wouldn't drag things out too long.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:17 pm

Currently, G-Sync is expensive because every single monitor is effectively a prototype where the normal scaler ASIC has been replaced by an FPGA. Once the hardware is finalized, Nvida would develop an ASIC to drive the cost back down, and the delta between a G-Sync monitor and a normal one (at least from BOM price) is close to zero.

Also, since this is a hardware solution, it should be fairly easy for a different GPU vendor to tap into the functionality. It just doesn't make sense to do the work until the hardware is finalized. If Nvidia still tries to lock down G-Sync functionality, I will laugh at them.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:32 pm

Since they probably have legal hip deep into patenting on the g-sync you can bet they will try to lock it down. Or extract fierce roaylaties. Look at PhysX that they effectively blocked if you tried to use both NVidia and amd at the same time. At the least, they will try to have either control or royalties taken from every monitor that will support it.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:04 pm

Aphasia wrote:Since they probably have legal hip deep into patenting on the g-sync you can bet they will try to lock it down. Or extract fierce roaylaties. Look at PhysX that they effectively blocked if you tried to use both NVidia and amd at the same time. At the least, they will try to have either control or royalties taken from every monitor that will support it.


History is definitely on the side of your argument, but as PhysX was effectively blocked first from running on AMD hardware and then from being run on Nvidia hardware with AMD hardware as the renderer through software checks and exclusionary development, I think that superjawes does have a point. At worst, AMD/Intel would need to reverse engineer the signal that G-Sync hardware on monitors need and implement their own version of it, possibly risking a lawsuit in the process, assuming that Nvidia isn't open to cooperating in some fashion.

At the same time, I doubt that Nvidia will refuse to support FreeSync, though I expect that they'll call it something else. They'll no doubt tout G-Sync as superior, and it may very well be, but I expect that they would prefer the marketing advantage of being able to support all variable V-Sync implementations, something that AMD will be able to claim as quickly if at all.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:32 pm

Aphasia wrote:Look at PhysX that they effectively blocked if you tried to use both NVidia and amd at the same time

Yep, and how many games now support physx? Would you call it a major selling point for NVidia cards right now? That proprietary sword cuts on both sides.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:22 pm

It all really depends on how FreeSync and G-Sync differ. If they don't differ at all, G-Sync is effectively dead...

Then it becomes a question about how different they are. If the differences are negligible, then the cheaper will win out (that either means Nvidia sells G-Sync ASICs or charges royalties, leading to FreeSync adoption instead). However, it is also possible that Nvidia has packaged the whole thing to be a superior (or "superior") package, and while FreeSync works at lower refresh speeds, G-Sync might be able to function all the way to 144 Hz, and do it with other tricks to improve the perception of movement.

Anyway, that's just some of my thoughts on the matter. Until we've seen tests between both, G-Sync is the only one available, and FreeSync is just making promises.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:04 pm

Market forces will get rid of additional chips and PCBs in G-Sync monitors, future G-Sync technology will doubtless use the same DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync protocol that project FreeSync does. The only reason G-Sync can exist in the form it does today is that there is no competition.

I seem to remember someone from NVidia stating way back when G-Sync first demoed that eventually all the G-Sync technology would be incorporated into the GPU and monitors wouldn't need all these extra chips. That's what made the launch of G-Sync so curious, it's as if NVidia was desperate to bring something to market and it couldn't wait for the GPU refresh. The DIY monitor PCB upgrade that they offered proves how rushed the whole thing was, hardly a mass consumer product. I'm glad they did push it out though, if they hadn't who knows when we'd be seeing variable refresh rates in desktop monitors.
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Re: Comparison between G-Sync and FreeSync

Postposted on Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:21 pm

Well, based on the fact that G-Sync includes ULMB, and at least so far we have not seen any indication that Freesync will have any strobing option, I reckon that G-Sync certainly is adding value.

A lot of people might say that G-Sync is better, but really its a subjective thing. Personally I am happy that ULMB is included since I would love to use it when not playing full screen games. In a lot of games, depending on your configuration, you might prefer ULMB over G-Sync as well. Its just good to have that option.

Especially once both the specs are finalized, there might not be really that much of a premium for going with G-Sync compared to Freesync. At that point paying a bit to get strobing might still seem worth it. At $200 premium, it might seem too much. But when its down to $50 or thereabout, price probably wouldn't really be such an issue.
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