What is FreeSync & how it works?

FreeSync is a technology developed by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) for adaptive synchronization of the refresh rate between a computer’s graphics card and a compatible monitor. It is designed to address the issue of screen tearing, which occurs when the display refresh rate and the frame rate output from the graphics card are not synchronized.

Traditionally, monitors have a fixed refresh rate (e.g., 60Hz, 144Hz) at which they update the displayed image. However, the frame rate output by the graphics card can vary depending on the complexity of the scene being rendered. When the refresh rate and frame rate are not aligned, screen tearing can occur, leading to a visible horizontal split in the displayed image.

FreeSync works by dynamically adjusting the monitor’s refresh rate to match the output frame rate of the graphics card. This synchronization is achieved through the use of the DisplayPort or HDMI interface, which allows the graphics card to communicate with the monitor and exchange information about the current frame being rendered.

monitors - what is FreeSync
PD2700U – monitor with FreeSync technology photo: Benq

By synchronizing the refresh rate and frame rate, FreeSync helps to eliminate screen tearing and provides a smoother and more visually pleasing experience during gaming or other graphics-intensive tasks. It also reduces input lag, making the overall gameplay or graphics rendering more responsive.

It is worth noting that FreeSync is specifically developed by AMD and is compatible with AMD graphics cards. For NVIDIA graphics cards, a similar technology called G-Sync is available, but it requires specific hardware and is not compatible with FreeSync monitors. However, some FreeSync monitors may support a feature called “G-Sync compatible” or “Adaptive Sync,” allowing them to work with NVIDIA graphics cards to some extent.

To make FreeSync work with an NVIDIA graphics card, you need to ensure the following:

  • NVIDIA Graphics Card: You need a compatible NVIDIA graphics card that supports FreeSync. Starting from the GTX 10 series (Pascal architecture) and newer, NVIDIA GPUs have the capability to work with FreeSync monitors.
  • NVIDIA Driver: Make sure you have the latest NVIDIA graphics driver installed on your computer. NVIDIA has introduced a feature called “G-Sync Compatible” with certain driver versions, which allows FreeSync monitors to be used with NVIDIA graphics cards.
  • DisplayPort Connection: Connect your FreeSync monitor to your NVIDIA graphics card using a DisplayPort cable. HDMI connections may work in some cases, but for optimal compatibility and functionality, DisplayPort is recommended.
  • Enable G-Sync Compatible Mode: In the NVIDIA Control Panel, navigate to the “Display” section and select “Set up G-Sync.” Enable the “Enable G-Sync Compatible” option. If your FreeSync monitor is recognized as compatible, you should be able to enable G-Sync functionality for it.

It’s important to note that not all FreeSync monitors will work flawlessly with NVIDIA graphics cards, even in G-Sync Compatible mode. While NVIDIA has certified many FreeSync monitors as G-Sync Compatible, there may still be some monitors that exhibit issues like flickering or other compatibility problems. Checking NVIDIA’s official list of certified G-Sync Compatible monitors can give you an idea of which monitors have been tested and verified to work well with NVIDIA GPUs.

By following these steps, you should be able to utilize FreeSync functionality on your FreeSync monitor with an NVIDIA graphics card.

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