FreeSync is AMD's technology that aims to create a more stable visual experience to help reduce screen tearing and lag input by synchronizing the graphics card and connected monitor.
NVIDIA has a similar solution, but today we'll be hanging out with #TeamRed. The reason these technologies exist is to help solve the problem where your graphics card can pump out content faster than your connected display can cope with. Traditional V-Sync has the card hold the next frame to wait on the display, which can cause visual issues noticed in-game.
Updated on May 18, 2017: We've altered the AOC listing, added the Acer XR341CK, and also updated the supported AMD GPU list to include the RX 3xx series.
This is where FreeSync (and NVIDIA's G-Sync) come into play. For AMD, FreeSync allows the graphics card and connected monitor to communicate with one another to maintain a stable refresh rate that can be altered depending on what the graphics card is currently outputting. Only certain AMD cards will support this specific dynamic refresh rate feature, but all others in the families listed below can take full advantage of video playback and power-saving improvements.
AMD holds some advantages over NVIDIA in how they're going about development. AMD doesn't charge fees for monitor manufacturers and thus the displays can remain affordable for gamers. There's also no requirement for an expensive chip and other circuitry to be added to the monitor since the supported AMD graphics card does most of the magic. Should you own one, purchase a FreeSync monitor and have an HDMI cable at hand to connect them together - you're essentially set to go.
Compatible AMD cards:
Cards that will support dynamic refresh rates:
There are plenty of monitors that include support for AMD FreeSync, but we want to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck. If we were buying, here's where we'd put our hard-earned dollars.
The Agon AG271QX by AOC is an affordable display that doesn't compromise on the experience of available functionality. The company also has a G-Sync unit, should you be rocking a GPU from NVIDIA, but as is the case with most solutions the NVIDIA panels are slightly more expensive. The display has a 144Hz refresh rate and with the added FreeSync technology, you'll be able to enjoy 1440p gaming at maximum settings without dealing with screen tear.
It's also perfect for intense gaming with a response time of just 1ms. There are numerous ports on this unit too: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and four USB ports. Better still, it supports VESA for wall and bracket mounting, but should you prefer to use the bundled stand, it's possible to adjust height and more. It also looks awesome.
At just over $500, it's a superb price for a 1440p 144Hz monitor with FreeSync.
This is a serious deal. $109.99 for a 22-inch 1080p monitor with FreeSync technology. That's competitively priced and goes well against premium 21-inch monitors that do not sport the technology. A response time of just 2ms is offered, as well as the ability to tilt on the bundled stand. Oh and it's all VESA mount supported so you can bring your own brackets and wall attachments.
ViewSonic has added a DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI for connecting all your devices. The refresh rate of this is 75Hz, which isn't the absolute best, but for the price it's worth the investment for AMD's technology alone if you have a capable graphics card already installed. Both 24- and 27-inch variants are also available for $139.99 and $179.99, respectively.
LG's 29UM68-P is a massive 21:9 widescreen monitor, ideal for those who wish for a single monitor that can emulate multiple units side by side. Sporting a resolution of 2560 x 1080, the 29-inch display rocks AMD FreeSync as well as Game Mode and technologies that help increase the quality of displayed content.
Connectivity is supplemented by DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. It's worth noting that FreeSync on this monitor only works through DisplayPort, which can cause issues for those without necessary cables. Be sure to check monitors before purchasing whether they support FreeSync over HDMI.
And while it remains to be only 1080p, which is quite low for 29 inches, the display can be yours for just $295.
Perhaps you don't wish to have an LG widescreen monitor, or even settle for 1080p. If this is the case then LG has another option, which brings 4K to the table. Supporting FreeSync, this monitor is an absolute beast and will accompany the new AMD RX 480 in higher resolution gaming without stutter, input lag or screen tear.
There's again no curved display, but you will be able to take full advantage of available VESA mounting options. Two HDMI and a single DisplayPort are available to connect to various devices, and there's an anti-glare coating that shouldn't impede too severely when blasting enemies into space. And if you happen to be unable to power 4K content, simply move down to 1440p and everything will still look sharp.
The price is a little steep for many, but for $448 you are investing in a 4K monitor.
This 1440p monitor from ASUS is an ideal purchase for those who are looking to leap up from 1080p to the next resolution level, as well as taking full advantage of FreeSync. There's full mounting support, and the stand (should you so be inclined as to use it) will allow for tilting, swivel and height adjustments.
DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI made the cut, allowing for numerous devices to be connected. The company also includes its own technologies like QuickFit Virtual Scale and Splendid Video Intelligence. There are 25- and 29-inch models, the latter also being available in widescreen format. Not bad from 279.99.
ViewSonic is on our list for the second time as another 4K choice for those who believe they can utilize the extra desktop space and have enough computing power to enjoy high quality titles at a reasonable level of stability. Utilizing both IPS and FreeSync technology, you know you're in for a good time with the XG2700. VESA mounting is on-board, as well as Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort, two HDMI, and four USB ports (2x 2.0 and 2x 3.0).
You can also get the 27-inch monitor in 1080p, but we'd highly recommend going for 4K if you're considering the purchase. $529.99 for a 4K FreeSync display with some great features and a stunning design. That's what you call affordability. And there are red stripes, which is a must-have for anyone on #TeamRed. Enough said.
This display from Acer is a curved beauty, packing in IPS technology for an impressive viewing experience. Add in FreeSync for gaming, a refresh rate of 144Hz and response time of just 4ms and this is quite the panel for any serious gamer. Now, the price is on the high side considering this is just a 1440p monitor and not full 4K, but for the investment, one is able to enjoy the full 3440x1440 resolution that a wide-panel offers.
As an added bonus, a total of four ambient lighting effects is at hand to add cool effects to your game play. The choice is yours, whether you opt for a solid color or ripple effect. And since this display has LEDs, it's well known throughout the industry that lighting adds a solid 50FPS in-game. Back to the price, Acer has included EyeProtect's Flicker-less and Blue-light Filtering technology to help with eye strain during those long sessions.
At $839, it's a pricey option to consider, but if you're in the market for a curved, wide-panel for some gaming you really cannot go wrong with the XR341CK.
Have a FreeSync monitor yourself that didn't make our list. Let us know in the comments what you're using!