Both Nvidia G-Sync HDR and AMD FreeSync 2 will provide HDR-capable (High Dynamic Range) monitors with support for HDR video games and smooth gameplay experience. These improved technologies will still keep their primary functions of eliminating screen tearing, stuttering, and reducing input lag.
The everlasting battle between AMD and Nvidia heats up once again. As new monitors begin to implement the HDR compatibility (High Dynamic Range) for the greater brightness levels and wider color gamuts, both rivaling companies will offer the needed support for the HDR content. Both technologies are built on the basis of the HDR10 format which will significantly increase the picture quality while giving a responsive gameplay experience on HDR-ready monitors. Not so long ago HDR was only present in TVs, but now we’re about to embark on the next big thing in the world of gaming and as always, both AMD and Nvidia are here to further improve the gaming experience.
Nvidia has teamed up with ASUS and Acer for their HDR-ready gaming monitors, you can already read our previews about them, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ and the Acer Predator XB272-HDR. The specifications are promising a flawless gaming experience with 4K resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. These monitors will be available sometime in the second half of 2017. AMD hasn’t announced any monitors yet, but we do know that they teamed up with Samsung. At the moment, it is unknown when AMD FreeSync 2 monitors will be available but AMD hinted at the second half of 2017, but they’re not promising anything.
AMD FreeSync 2
While both FreeSync and G-Sync offered the improved gameplay experience by synchronizing the frame rate between the monitors and corresponding GPUs, FreeSync ended up providing us with a poorer performance and a lower dynamic Hz range.
However, with FreeSync 2 AMD promises us increased dynamic Hz range. Any AMD graphics card that supported FreeSync will also support FreeSync 2 once the drivers are updated. In order for a monitor to feature FreeSync 2, besides being HDR-capable, it will also have to meet the requirement of low input lag, but the amount is not yet specified by AMD.
FreeSync 2 will also feature LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) for smooth gameplay experience even once the framerate drops beneath the dynamic range. This feature was also present in FreeSync, but not in all cases. FreeSync 2 will also automatically enable once you run an HDR compatible game and disable once you exit. Therefore, you won’t have to enable and disable FreeSync every time you swap between HDR and non-HDR content.
Nvidia hasn’t released as much information as AMD regarding their new adaptive sync technology, at least for now. We assume that it will work on the same principle as FreeSync 2 and that it won’t be cheap, which is understandable. In the end, we are left with no options but to wait a several more months and then finally see if FreeSync 2 will have a sufficiently improved performance to parry the flawless gaming enhancements of the G-Sync. Until then, we’ll keep an eye open for any new information regarding the G-Sync HDR technology.
How does it work?
After the HDR image is rendered by the engine, a scene or an image in the game goes through the process of color mapping. Once the image is sent to the display, it will get color tone mapped again in order to suit the dynamic range of the display. FreeSync 2 delivers the characteristics of the monitor to the game in order to tune the monitor’s properties during the tone mapping, instead of after. Confusing? The picture below will make it all more clear.
Along with the 348-zone backlighting and quantum-dot technology, the HDR monitors will be able to deliver an unprecedented color quality which will even cover some portions of the Rec2020, the widest colors range to us, so far. It will also cover the DCI-P3 color space which is the cinema standard. With over two times the achievable brightness level and the color volume than the sRGB color space, the picture quality is sure to amaze and impress all its viewers.
FreeSync 2 and G-Sync HDR will allow us to enjoy in fluid and smooth gameplay experience as well as the beautiful picture quality. Of course, this will all require a lot of expensive computer rig in order for video games to properly work even at 60Hz. This is expected from all new and ground-breaking technology when it comes to gaming, so be patient until it becomes more available and/or affordable. We also have to wait for more HDR-ready games to be available, although there already are a few such as the Shadow Warrior 2.
Both G-Sync and FreeSync have either helped people with mid-range computer equipment to get a better performance or have further improved the gameplay experience to people with the top-tier gear. FreeSync was more affordable and nowadays it’s free while G-Sync gives the smoothest performance possible for a bit higher price. As the technology advances, we’ll soon be seeing 4K resolution monitors with 144Hz refresh rate and HDR support, and both FreeSync 2 and G-Sync HDR will be there to make that gaming experience run stable and fluid. As far as the competitive factor is concerned, we’ll have to wait the second half of the year and test both technologies in order to fairly compare them and see whether FreeSync will manage to parry G-Sync this time.