Owners of the Xbox One X console will most likely be aware of it’s ability to utilise AMD’s FreeSync 2.0 technology to get smoother refresh rates on their favourite games. Those in Microsoft’s preview programme have been able to test this feature since the start of the month, but now this technology has been put under the microscope by Eurogamer, and, though the technology is still in its early stages, their tests point to a promising future for Microsoft’s console and the future of gaming technology.
First of all, the tech stuff. What is FreeSync 2.0, and how can you get it? In its simplest terms, FreeSync is a clever piece of technology that allows the GPU to decide when the display refreshes which results in a much smoother looking picture. The hard part is finding a display that actually supports FreeSync 2.0 over HDMI connections; unless you plan on purchasing a brand new Samsung TV, your best shot of getting access to FreeSync is with a supported monitor. Moreover, even if you do happen to have a monitor that supports FreeSync 2.0 over HDMI, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will support FreeSync above a 1080p resolution. In short, it’s best to check whether your display is compatible with Microsoft’s technology.
On a brighter note, Eurogamer also confirmed that it won’t just be the One X and One S getting FreeSync support, the original Xbox One model will get the upgrade too.
The test examined a wide range of titles including Wolfenstein 2: The New Order, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy XV where a varied result in performance was found. According to their tests, the best applications of the technology can be found in Wolfenstein 2 and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter where issues with framerate and judder are almost fully eliminated due to the application of Freesync. However in the case of Rise of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV, Freesync appeared to make little difference, if any. Likewise, games running at or below 30fps like PUBG and Dynasty Warriors 9 present a mixed response with the technology with it helping PUBG to appear to run smoother whereas screen tearing was still noticeable in Dynasty Warriors.
Whilst the report is, for the most part, optimistic of the future of this technology, they stress that “it [is]difficult for us to recommend that you go out and buy a FreeSync monitor, as opposed to a larger flat panel TV” due to the fluctuating success rate and availability of the technology – for the time being at least.