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AMD recreates G-Sync, Nvidia plays it down

AMD recreates G-Sync, Nvidia plays it down

AMD has already demoed its version of G-Sync.

AMD has demonstrated its own solution to Nvidia's G-Sync technology, showing the same dynamic framerate effect as G-Sync on an existing AMD laptop.

Showed to TechReport, the technology apparently had the same effect of reducing the stuttering associated with normal V-sync, while also eliminating the image tearing that occurs when v-sync isn't used.

The demonstration was able to happen because laptops use a different video connection than desktop monitors, a connection that already supports variable refresh rates. Coupled with AMD also having support - for the last three generations of its graphics cards - for variable frame rate delivery it was simply a matter of re-engineering the driver to simulate G-Sync.

The variable refresh rate technology AMD uses was originally seen as a power saving measure, as unnecessary vertical refreshes drain power. All AMD had to do was flip the idea on its head to create what it has dubbed "free-sync". It literally uses exactly the same vblank manipulation technique as G-Sync.

AMD went on to say that the implementation of "free-sync" into desktop monitors should be relatively trivial, with a firmware update possibly even doing the job. The challenge would be in communicating to the graphics card the maximum vblank of the display, as going beyond the rated vblank could result in poor colour fidelity.

The AMD spokesperson also initially questioned why Nvidia had even chosen to use a hardware solution for G-Sync but later suggested it was perhaps because the display controller in Nvidia's GPUs simply can't support variable refresh rates.

Furthermore the spokesperson believed that many of the problems solved by G-Sync could simply be resolved with triple-buffering, pointing out that there used to be an option in AMD's drivers to force this on and that it could easily add this back in.

Nvidia has, however, hit back at AMD's attempt to trump G-Sync, with Director of Technical Marketing Tom Petersen pointing out the obvious inability of AMD's solution to work on desktop monitors.

He also went on to explain why Nvidia chose to create a hardware solution: because no scaler ASIC with variable refresh existed. The company set about building the solution to show the industry the way forward.

What has also been made clear in these discussions is that the G-Sync module that's placed in the monitor could theoretically work with any graphics card. But, having put the effort in Nvidia is holding out for the time being on letting other companies in on the fun.

Something tells us G-Sync won't be alone in the market for long...

A reminder of what G-Sync is all about:

25 Comments

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Sloth 9th January 2014, 00:37 Quote
#shotsfired

Kudos to AMD if they can get a non-proprietary desktop solution.
SAimNE 9th January 2014, 01:17 Quote
wow... power at low cost with the only draw back being it's thermal design generating a lot of heat(nothing a water cooling bracket wont cure for your case, a low level api being brought into the market to boost performance, and now defacing the competitions main advantage for this generation.

amd had one &$&# of a turnaround on their marketing and design proficiency recently 0_0... not to mention the obviously aggressive tactics.... tbh i'm loving this. hopefully HSA and mantle take off as well and turn amd into a comeback wondercompany again
CowBlazed 9th January 2014, 01:32 Quote
"Furthermore the spokesperson believed that many of the problems solved by G-Sync could simply be resolved with triple-buffering, pointing out that there used to be an option in AMD's drivers to force this on and that it could easily add this back in."

It never left their drivers as far as I can tell though isn't it only supposed to work on OpenGL? The option still exists in my current 13.12 drivers.

That also glosses over the disadvantages of tripple buffering (mainly, severe hit to frame rate). If it was really so great wouldn't we be using it?
ch424 9th January 2014, 01:43 Quote
schmidtbag 9th January 2014, 02:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
#shotsfired

Kudos to AMD if they can get a non-proprietary desktop solution.

Agreed, but, what I don't get is why couldn't this work with current G-sync monitors? If nvidia's counter-argument is actually true, then they basically paid to do all the hard work for AMD and all AMD has to do is a few tweaks here and there to support G-sync.

Either way, neither companies are at each other's throats in this situation - nvidia has desktops covered, AMD has laptops covered. Nvidia put much more of a focus on this, but AMD has had the technology longer. Eventually, both companies should be able to cover the bases they're missing.


As I said in one of the other G-sync related articles - if you've got a 120Hz+ refresh rate and a game that can play at 120+ FPS, you're probably not going to see a difference with this sync technology anyway. The irony is stuff like G-sync is great for mid-range GPUs, but if you can't pay for a good GPU, how do they expect you to pay for a compatible monitor?
.//TuNdRa 9th January 2014, 02:13 Quote
"Something tells us G-Sync won't be along in the market for long..." Second to last line, something seems a bit off there.

On topic; I didn't think it would be too long before AMD addressed G-sync, although I would like it if the system became open, or at least someone reverse engineered it so G-sync boards can run with AMD cards,
iggy 9th January 2014, 04:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAimNE
defacing the competitions main advantage for this generation.

a proprietary interface that can only be bought with a new monitor is an advantage? nvidia arent holding many cards this round are they?
SchizoFrog 9th January 2014, 06:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iggy
nvidia arent holding many cards this round are they?

What cards are AMD holding right now?

High-end CPU performance? Nope
High-end GPU performance? Nope
Power efficiency (Laptop and Desktop) Nope
blah blah blah...

Don't get me wrong, AMD are holding their own, or at least keeping pace as usual but they are hardly ahead in the game. People keep calling the consoles a 'major win' for AMD but it was reported many times that nVidia made very little from their involvement last generation and profits may take up to 5 years to actually filter through for AMD if... IF... they get any when the dust settles.
AMD has been asset stripped for years and there is very little to sell off any more if they need further cash investment. AMD's APUs are just about catching up to Intel (with regards to CPU performance) after what, nearly 5 years of standard 10-15% increases in performance? I would not be surprised if Intel's next serious CPU line update leaves AMD far behind once again and next time AMD may not be able to recover.
What I don't understand and please correct me if I am wrong but people always seem to colour nVidia in a negative light with regards to them developing propriety software and then the same people praise AMD when they came out with Mantle... Isn't Mantle propriety software?
loftie 9th January 2014, 06:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa
"Something tells us G-Sync won't be along in the market for long..." Second to last line, something seems a bit off there.

After one too many beers and a suspicious curry last night e can't be dragged away from the bog. Luckily g offered to step in and substitute hoping no-one would notice at least until e was feeling better. Unfortunately no-one told g they were facing the wrong way when the picture was taken.

At least that's what c said....

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
the same people praise AMD when they came out with Mantle... Isn't Mantle propriety software?

Nope it's not (but who actually knows until it's here and on other cards). But if you're trying to say they're hypocrites, when AMD announced Mantle it was thought that it'd be AMD only iirc, so you're point would still be valid.
isaac12345 9th January 2014, 06:41 Quote
HAHA! This is brilliant! Why dont AMD introduce a temporary solution(till they can automate it) where the vblank setting of the monitor can be selected by the user. All they would have to do is look up their monitor manufacturer's specification sheet. Obviously I am assuming here that vblank is a fixed value.
SAimNE 9th January 2014, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Quote:
Originally Posted by iggy
nvidia arent holding many cards this round are they?

What cards are AMD holding right now?

High-end CPU performance? Nope
High-end GPU performance? Nope
Power efficiency (Laptop and Desktop) Nope
blah blah blah...

Don't get me wrong, AMD are holding their own, or at least keeping pace as usual but they are hardly ahead in the game. People keep calling the consoles a 'major win' for AMD but it was reported many times that nVidia made very little from their involvement last generation and profits may take up to 5 years to actually filter through for AMD if... IF... they get any when the dust settles.
AMD has been asset stripped for years and there is very little to sell off any more if they need further cash investment. AMD's APUs are just about catching up to Intel (with regards to CPU performance) after what, nearly 5 years of standard 10-15% increases in performance? I would not be surprised if Intel's next serious CPU line update leaves AMD far behind once again and next time AMD may not be able to recover.
What I don't understand and please correct me if I am wrong but people always seem to colour nVidia in a negative light with regards to them developing propriety software and then the same people praise AMD when they came out with Mantle... Isn't Mantle propriety software?


high end cpu: the fx series can actually trade blows with the i5s in gaming for this generation now that proper usage of multi-cores now.
high-end-gpu: in terms of single gpu cards they have just as much of an advantage as anyone... amd and nvidia are the only graphics cards to even consider, and both always have comparable cards for every level.
power efficiency: the apus have a great power consumption compared to performance in low level gaming and mediapcs.
and now they are beefing up the software and pulling out to a clear advantage with mantle. nvidia advertises stability over frame rate and amd just flat out took that away here.

so yeah.... in comparison to nvidia amd looks like they are kings.... intel really still have a decent advantage in a few places, but one can hope on next generation they'll come out with the edge in both sides of the company.
Meanmotion 9th January 2014, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa
"Something tells us G-Sync won't be along in the market for long..." Second to last line, something seems a bit off there.

Ta, fixed.
DbD 9th January 2014, 11:04 Quote
So Nvidia introduce a new tech with much fanfare and lots of positive reviews from journalists then AMD say "ah actually that's easy - we've been able to do this for 2 gens on standard hardware". Only they never have, and have no plans to productize this, and only demo'd with what looked like a video not a game, and on that at a pretty fixed frame rate (steady at about 49fps, not truly variable)?

Something a bit fishy there - either it is easy and they could (Should!) have done it years ago, or what they have doesn't really work outside of some fixed test environment. tbh sounds like typical AMD me too power point marketing - nvidia develops and releases some proprietary tech, AMD then promise the free/open coming soon only it never really arrives. See stream, bullet physics, AMD's 3D, etc
Harlequin 9th January 2014, 11:21 Quote
nothing is `fishy - they are using a VESA standard , which NVidia cant charge for - which they want to do for G-Sync.

nv PR must be working overtime to knock the fact that this can be FREE. a bit like Mantle as well.....
STREAM - here and now with the AMD APP (see it got renamed...) using OCL.
seems to be doing quite well in compute don't you think...

As for bullet physics - GTA V uses it , or is that AAA title not big enough for you??

AMD HD3D is also out there - just because you haven't used it or have a need doesn't mean its not available.
Meanmotion 9th January 2014, 11:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
nothing is `fishy - they are using a VESA standard , which NVidia cant charge for - which they want to do for G-Sync.

nv PR must be working overtime to knock the fact that this can be FREE. a bit like Mantle as well.....

To be fair, as Nvidia points out, it currently can't be done for free because desktop monitors don't support it. It's quite often the way of these things that an outsider will need to show the way forward as Nvidia has done.

It's also the case that although some laptops will already be physically capable of doing free-sync, there isn't a standard for communicating back to the graphics card what the vblank should be. AMD presumably had to hardwire this setting into their hacked demo.

Ultimately, Nvidia wouldn't be stupid enough to make and try and sell something that could be done in the blink of an eye for free. Sure, it may only take one generation of products before some other solution is found but between now and then Nvidia has a 1-2 year window (these things take time, especially where standards are involved) to sell G-Sync and get the good credit for pioneering the technology.
Harlequin 9th January 2014, 11:33 Quote
its only NVidia saying it cant be done with desktop screens - and amazingly , since they have a $175 competing product , they have a vested interest to play down the VESA standards.


IF AMD can use ` quad buffering` (which takes a lot of ram - oh look what's shipping on the latest cards) , to offload the ram requirement from display port - this is doable.
Corky42 9th January 2014, 11:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
nothing is `fishy - they are using a VESA standard , which NVidia cant charge for - which they want to do for G-Sync.
If nothing is fishy then why wasn't this introduce long ago ?
Harlequin 9th January 2014, 11:49 Quote
not so long ago frame rate was king - max frame rate no matter what , look at the `fishy` things both teams have done - quack3 for amd and not rendering off rail for benchmarks from Nv.

now though, since gfx are looking far far better , smoothness is needed. You want the quality and the gfx card cant keep up , something has to give - frame stuttering - the ambiguous ` lag` from teen twitch kill fps players ; so how to solve that without getting faster and faster ( = more expensive) hardware? slow down the display rate.

it wasn't `needed` 2 years ago like it is now - we get movie quality games that is `demanded` to be displayed at full HD @ 60 fps - even the likes of Titan et al struggle at times.
Corky42 9th January 2014, 12:12 Quote
But it was needed 2 years ago, it's not just about perceived lag its about tearing when VSYNC is disabled.
Harlequin 9th January 2014, 12:23 Quote
then enable vsync and triple buffering!
Corky42 9th January 2014, 12:43 Quote
So you are saying we haven't had a need for displays to refresh slower because of graphics quality in the past, but we didn't have a need to refresh the display quicker ?
DbD 9th January 2014, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meanmotion

It's also the case that although some laptops will already be physically capable of doing free-sync, there isn't a standard for communicating back to the graphics card what the vblank should be. AMD presumably had to hardwire this setting into their hacked demo.

I suspect that's the truth of it. To work properly it needs a bit more then just VBLANK. The current use of VBLANK is used by laptops for power saving, that's why it's there and that's what AMD have supported in their drivers. That's not the same as providing variable frame rates in games. Now that power saving VBLANK is only being introduced as standard in display port 1.3 (which is only being finalised in 2014). If this variable rates for games was to be properly supported AMD would have had to lobby for further changes to make it work, but they didn't. Why not? - because they don't fully understand what changes are required. You can't go up to a standard committee with some power point slides and ideas, you've got to have a fully researched and worked solution. That takes effort and costs money, something AMD have not done.

Nvidia on the other hand did spend time and money working this out. However instead of fighting to get it in DP 1.3 they decided to come up with their own proprietary solution which has the advantage for nvidia of working with current monitor standards (so doesn't need to wait for monitors based on finalised DP 1.3 to arrive), and locks it down to nvidia giving them a return on their investment.

This means that first chance of freesync actually arriving would be DP 1.4, whenever that gets released and probably only then if anyone cares enough to lobby to get it added - something nvidia aren't going to do as it's not in their interests.
Meanmotion 9th January 2014, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
then enable vsync and triple buffering!

It's my understanding that this wouldn't strictly solve the problem of stuttering. Triple buffering reduces the lag in rendering complete frames so minimises the likelihood of stutter but doesn't eliminate it.
rollo 9th January 2014, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
then enable vsync and triple buffering!

Can not just do that in certain games.( Mostly the game types that would benefit from vysnc fps games, Racing games. )

Vsync will either drop your fps down to certain points. for example 60 50 30. Depending on what your card is capable of maintaining.

You need a beast of a system to maintain 60fps bf4 vsync at max settings in 64player multiplayer ( 2 780s at least on the gpu front ) Rfactor 2 you could not enable vsync on any AMD gpu system as no AMD card can handle the game let alone get close to 60fps. ( 2 r290x get 34 fps at last check, Its a game that heavily prefers nvidia hardware and was built for nvidia cards. The fact its also one of the better pc race sims is a problem for AMD.)

Most people dont have that level of system so enabling vsync is a no go for the record.

DP 1.3 already includes changes that should help none g-sync systems. Earliest we will likely see this implemented on desktops by AMD is dp 1.4 whenever that might arive.
Corky42 9th January 2014, 20:13 Quote
Nvidia responds to AMD's ''free sync'' demo.
http://techreport.com/news/25878/nvidia-responds-to-amd-free-sync-demo
Quote:
CES — On the show floor here at CES today, I spoke briefly with Nvidia's Tom Petersen, the executive instrumental in the development of G-Sync technology, about the AMD "free sync" demo we reported on yesterday.
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