I checked the support of FreeSync in practice through Xbox One. This is the testing ground for now

xbox one freesync test

I used a rare excess of free time to check my favorite games with a display supporting the AMD FreeSync 2 standard. Application? His service at Xbox One is waiting for better times.

Xbox One is a console that has the highest standards of audio and video transmission. Its owners can set non-standard resolutions, enjoy Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision support, and even take advantage of the display's advantages working with FreeSync 2. I decided to finally look at the last one.

What exactly is this entire FreeSync? It's a pretty clever way to eliminate the effects of unstable video gaming, which makes the screen image smoother. Not every game maintains a stable frame rate, and at the moment when this frame starts to be unstable, the frame rate ceases to be synchronized with the refresh rate of the display. The result is ripping animation, which spoils comfort with fun.

The V-Sync mechanism, which has been used for many years to solve this problem, communicates with the graphics card so that it waits for the display to refresh before the next frame of the image is sent. However, this is not a perfect mechanism, in addition introduces input lag into game (delayed response time to commands sent from a gamepad or other controller), therefore many game developers give up this mechanism or introduce it optionally, with the option of disabling it by the user.

FreeSync and G-Sync competing with him solve these problems. And Xbox One supports the first one. I checked if it works.

xbox one freesync test

FreeSync requires a compatible graphics card and display. Both devices can perfectly synchronize, thanks to which the monitor refreshes with the frequency perfectly synchronized to the current frame. The picture frames do not "die", the artifacts associated with this phenomenon disappear from the display, and the game itself works without the input of the lag. FreeSync and G-Sync competing with it are quite common in monitors, but they are extremely rare in televisions.

This is going to change soon, but for now adding support for FreeSync to Xbox One is above all a nod to players who connect their console to the monitor. Microsoft's implementation - which I quickly discovered - is however quite non-standard.

xbox one freesync test

When you enable FreeSync support, the frame buffer works basically with the same parameters as always. So 4K at 60 Hz. Similarly, the console behaves, rendering games at a lower resolution than the native one - the frame buffer remains in 4K mode and the image is scaled. If the game is running at 30 frames per second, the frame buffer is refreshed twice anyway. This is a technical detail that has no real meaning for the console user. However, I discovered that this is crucial for FreeSync on Xbox One.

FreeSync 2 on Xbox One works quite selectively ...

The Xbox One X console and the Philips 436M6VBPAB monitor were used as the test platform. Finding a game that would not have kept a constant clash on the console is not so obvious. Most game developers optimize their productions so that they always generate stable 30 or 60 frames per second. I had to help with the internet to find information about these productions, which are not permanent. Results? Surprisingly mixed.

In some games FreeSync actually changes a lot in terms of image fluidity and artifacts on the screen. It's enough to play the newest Wolfenstein for a moment to appreciate this solution. The game, however, and without FreeSynca provides a pleasant and comfortable fun, but the support of the AMD mechanism brings this comfort to a higher level. The game seems to flow, and certainly not a placebo effect. An even bigger difference is felt in the often pruning PUBG - FreeSync makes this game simply easier and more enjoyable.

xbox one freesync test

I would like to point out more games for example and tell more about them, but ... unfortunately I can not. I checked a few more games from my library (Dark Souls 3, Final Fantasy XV, F1 2017) and I did not feel any difference. Although these games have trouble with frame ripping and light pruning. Like I never turned on FreeSync in the console settings. How is this possible?

Let's go back to the "irrelevant to the players" way in which the frame buffer works in Xbox One. A longer reading of all sorts of materials on the internet has allowed me to understand why FreeSync works selectively. More specifically, it only works in games that have the V-Sync mechanism mentioned above implemented. Unfortunately, there is no current and comprehensive list of such titles on the Web.

FreeSync 2 in Xbox One therefore reminds the testing ground for now.

Variable refresh rate and the ability to synchronize it with the graphics system is described as part of the HDMI 2.1 standard. This one will eventually be more widely implemented in televisions to appear this year. This means that in the coming years more and more Xbox One owners will have such a display, so game developers will pay more attention to this mechanism.

For now, however, it is a curiosity that works very well, but in selected games and only for people connecting consoles to compatible monitors. And since I am talking about monitors, I will take this opportunity to tell you briefly about the equipment borrowed for the purpose of the text.

The Philips 436M6VBPAB is simply created for players. Although mainly for them.

This monitor fully supports common elements of the UHD standard, so it works in 4K resolution and supports HDR. In spite of the huge matrix (diagonal 43 inches), we will buy it for PLN 2,600, which seems to be an attractive price suspiciously. The device is visually appealing - when I put them in the living room, it looked more like a small and slim TV set, instead of a typical work desk.

xbox one freesync test

The manufacturer also took care of a variety of ports: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 with fast charging support, USB-C, mini-DisplayPort and two audio inputs. A remote control is also included with the monitor, which allows you to change the signal sources, brightness, volume and navigate the device settings interface. Well, let's not forget about Philips Ambiglow: a backlit base that illuminates the desk or TV cabinet with the same dominant color that is currently on the screen. It can be turned off, although I like this function very much, it adds a certain mood to the currently watched content.

The monitor offers a contrast of 4000: 1, brightness 400 nits for SDR content and 1000 nits in HDR. The refresh rate is 60 Hz, so it is not the equipment for players-enthusiasts who have PCs capable of displaying games in a higher frame. 32 zones of backlighting and blanking is unfortunately a relatively poor result compared to modern televisions, but let's not forget about the price of this device.

xbox one freesync test

The size and associated with it low pixel density make it rather not the equipment for serious work. However, taking into account input lag at just over 10 ms, good performance at UHD and FreeSync support from AMD - at a price of PLN 2,600 with a candle, look for a better display for players. Purchase definitely recommended, although - as I mentioned - only with games in mind. I can work on this, but it's too weak for professional graphics, and for office work such a colossus at the desk is just too uncomfortable.

I checked the support of FreeSync in practice through Xbox One. This is the testing ground for now


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