Intel reiterates plans to support VESA Adaptive Sync in its GPUs

Three years ago at the late Intel Developer Forum, we broke the story that Intel planned to support the VESA Adaptive Sync variable-refresh-rate display standard, better known as AMD FreeSync, in its integrated graphics processors (or IGPs). That news was potentially earth-shaking for the standard, since Intel's IGPs push the vast majority of pixels to desktop and notebook screens alike.

Intel told us we would still have to wait for the technology a year later on the eve of the Kaby Lake launch, though, and the Gen9.5 graphics processor that shipped with Kaby Lake still powers the display outputs of Kaby Lake Refresh, Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake, and Amber Lake systems. In the years since IDF 2016, I had resigned myself to the fact that the feature would arrive whenever it was ready to arrive. Life moves on.

Image: u/dylan522p, via Reddit

The question of Adaptive-Sync support from Intel IGPs is back in the news, however, thanks to a Twitter direct-message conversation between dylan522p, a moderator of Reddit's r/hardware community, and Chris Hook, who works in discrete graphics and visual technologies marketing at Intel and was until recently the senior director of global product marketing at AMD. In that conversation, Hook says that the feature is still in the pipe and confirms that he's “a huge fan of Adaptive Sync.”

Hook's comment basically confirms the status quo: the feature is coming. I had honestly never figured that Intel planned to do anything but support the standard, since it so rarely makes definitive comments on future products. Hook's reiteration of support for the standard is exciting in light of the fact that Intel plans to begin releasing discrete graphics cards in 2020, though, as its products could expand the range and power of graphics processors compatible with Adaptive Sync.

So where is Adaptive Sync in Intel IGPs? In light of Intel's 10-nm delays—one of the first of which was announced a month before IDF 2015— it's possible that Adaptive Sync support was baked into the IGPs of future architectures slated for 10-nm production, like Cannon Lake and Ice Lake, before the company ran into roadblocks implementing them in silicon. Until the company launches future CPUs (and possibly discrete graphics cards) with updated graphics-processing architectures on board, we'll do what we have since IDF 2015: wait patiently.

Comments closed
    • Anovoca
    • 1 year ago

    Nice. Also, you gotta love that free press for TR 😉

    • Ninjitsu
    • 1 year ago

    To be honest that’s a very “we can neither confirm nor deny this” kind of a statement…

    • stefem
    • 1 year ago

    C’mon! Chris Hook? This guy is a joke, knowing what he said in the past I can’t trust a word from him

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    That’s not the only thing they’ve been reiterating and reiterating these days.

    (cough.. 14nm.. cough..)

    • Firestarter
    • 1 year ago

    with my luck I’ll end up relenting and buying a G-Sync monitor and Nvidia GPU literally days before Nvidia announces VESA adaptive sync support

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      Let’s collect money for Firestarter to buy that monitor so we can get the ball rolling early!

      • DoomGuy64
      • 1 year ago

      Yup, but if you were going to do it anyway, it’s hard to feel much sympathy. Especially since it’s funding the problem. That said, the RTX tech specs on Nvidia’s site officially say DP 1.4, but on the very bottom, in fine print, in black text on a black background, it says DP 1.4a ready. I pity the BFGD buyers, but it’s overall more funny than sad.

      Also,
      [url<]https://www.techspot.com/article/1687-freesync-on-nvidia-gpu-workaround/[/url<] You can now workaround the Gsync lock by using an AMD powered APU as a pass thru display output, and if Intel supports Freesync, you won't even need a Ryzen APU. Since this is now possible, there is even less reason to feel sympathy for gsync buyers. Nobody should be buying gsync now that the cat's out of the bag.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      Whatever the gap is, it’s gotta be more than the return period on the monitor, too.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    We’re good at iterations here at Intel.

    We’ve gone from “We’re going to support adaptive sync” to “We’re going to support adaptive sync+”.

    • Ryhadar
    • 1 year ago

    This is exactly why given the choice of GSync or FreeSync (adaptive sync) I choose FreeSync. Eventually, when more and more displays support adaptive sync Nvidia will cave and support it too.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      It’s even working with third party workarounds, so they definitely could with ease, which is annoying.

      [url<]https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/freesync-nvidia-amd-trick/[/url<]

        • bhtooefr
        • 1 year ago

        That particular workaround involves using the AMD GPU’s framebuffer and DisplayPort serializer, so it’s not necessarily easy for Nvidia to support.

        However, this would mean that the same workaround would work on Intel integrated graphics…

          • DoomGuy64
          • 1 year ago

          Does anyone else find all these simultaneous revelations somewhat fishy? AMD offers workaround, Intel announces adaptive support, and Nvidia hints at being “1.4a ready” while their gsync shill army (possibly astroturf) is surprisingly quiet for the first time in history?
          edit: lol. Guess Nvidia gives their employees the weekend off, and now they’re back.

          Perhaps there has been some behind closed door agreements to not support VESA adaptive up until it became impossible to ignore? Blu-ray vs HD-DVD level cold war? It’s now obviously possible to pass thru adaptive with AMD, but nobody on the 3rd party market ever thought to implement this with a chip powered display cable? Strange. Almost as if there were secret agreements we were not privy to. Like how my AMD powered Dell laptop has an EDP screen, yet doesn’t support freesync or allow increasing the APU cache size.

          Also, considering how this turned out, do we need a 3rd party collaboration between GeDoSaTo and ReShade to get console quality upsampling which is only being held back by drivers? Why haven’t they already done it already? So many things don’t add up unless certain companies are colluding behind the scenes.

            • brucethemoose
            • 1 year ago

            Bilinear GPU scaling in 2018 is pretty ridiculous. Hanlon’s Razor is likely the answer, but it does seem like suspiciously low-hanging fruit for AMD/Nvidia to ignore.

            Unfortunately, the ReShade dev is too busy for a feature like that atm. If another dev comes along, I think Vulkan/DX12 support would be a higher priority anyway. Some games do come with improved scaling features, but many don’t.

            The sync thing is just Nvidia being Nvidia and OEMs being cheap/slow/naive. It’s exactly what they’ve always done, I don’t think there’s any collusion.

        • stefem
        • 1 year ago

        As bhtooefr pointed out that solution involved using the AMD GPU’s and its software stack to drive the panel, so it’s easy just because the AMD’s GPU was taking care of all the stuff that makes VRR actually usable…

    • TREE
    • 1 year ago

    Hasn’t Intel been using some form of Adaptive-Sync on laptops for some time? I’m a bit confused as to why they don’t do the same on their iGPUs on desktop…

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 1 year ago

      No, you’re likely thinking of Nvidia.

      • Voldenuit
      • 1 year ago

      Intel IGPs can run laptop displays at 30 Hz in low power modes. This was one of the starting blocks of VESA Adaptive sync, but the credit lies with the panel makers, not intel.

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