AMD wants to put FreeSync "Oasis" demos in retail stores

In an effort to give consumers a chance to see the value of variable monitor refresh rates in person, AMD developed a new demo called "Oasis." Like many benchmarks, it's set up to run a loop when you hit Play; you can toggle FreeSync on and off throughout the run so you can have a quick and clear visual representation of what FreeSync offers.

We got our hands on the demo. It has a nice-looking UI, with intuitive controls. Once it loads (it takes a minute or two), you'll see a full-screen rendering of a woodsy scene that includes some old stone structures. The demo starts immediately, as a camera that swoops through the scene. If you let it run at normal speed, it takes a couple of minutes to finish the first run, and then it returns the start and runs again. 

After the first run, you can make the demo run forward or back, which is nice if you want to have a closer look at any given bit of the demo. The playback controls are centered at the bottom of the display and consist of a Fwd/Back toggle, play button, and playback speed control (1x-4x). In the upper right corner is an FPS counter. If you click "FPS Limit," you get a drop-down menu that lets you set the FPS to a max of 144, 120, and so on, down to 48 FPS. You can also leave it Unlimited or create a custom limit with a slider.   

The upper left corner is where you'll toggle FreeSync on or off. (When you have it toggled on, you'll see an indication in the lower right corner of the window.) Depending on what your monitor supports, you can also set the Content Mode to SDR, HDR, or FreeSync 2 HDR. 

The lower left has a gear icon that lets you tweak everything else, from the screen resolution to effect levels. You can even choose to have music and sound effects on or off.

To be clear, it's a demo, not a benchmark. In fact, it was designed for potential customers more than anything. AMD is planning to set up the Oasis demo in brick-and-mortar retail stores. The idea, then, is that folks browsing the aisles can stroll up, watch the loop, and play with the buttons. Then they will certainly be convinced of the greatness of FreeSync. 

On one hand, AMD is wise to get VRR demos in front of actual consumers. FreeSync and G-Sync are the sorts of technologies that sound great in theory, but not everyone is convinced they're worth the investment unless they can see the advantage with their own eyes. On the other hand, the strategy could backfire. You have to make sure that you've configured your system and monitor for FreeSync, and you have to have a system with components that support it, too. The list of requirements isn't draconian by any means, but it is a bit particular:

That means each store will have to have a reasonably high-end PC and monitor that will presumably need to be updated and maintained by someone in each store. With all due respect to generations of Best Buy blueshirts, that's perhaps a tall task. The worst case is that they'll fail to configure it all correctly, and customers will be toggling FreeSync on and off but seeing no difference in the visuals.

For now at least, there's no way for normal users to download Oasis, although we're told that may change in the future. Unless and until that happens, you'll have to trudge over to a physical retail store to see it. It's unclear when the Oasis demo might make its way into stores, nor which store chains exactly might employ it. 

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