Does freesync mean anything w/ 4k resolution?

philosofool

Senior member
Nov 3, 2008
255
0
81
#1
Because high pixel density rocks, I would like to upgrade my monitor to something around 27" and 3840x2160. Such monitors are available with Freesync, which I had hoped would be really helpful in getting smooth gameplay. I'm sure that I would need to turn settings down (RX 480), but that's a very game specific issue.

However, upon investigation, I found that Freesync needs Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) to work when FPS is below the monitor's Freesync refresh rate. LFC only works when Max Refresh >= 2x Min refresh. (It changed from 2.5 to 2 recently, per Anantech's late July 2017 article on Vega.) At 4k even with the best cards AMD makes--even with Vega--every AAA game in the last three years will probably see FPS dip below 45 FPS. But is anybody making a 4k 30-60Hz monitor, i.e., one that can support LFC? It doesn't look like it.

So, it seems like LFC is a no go at 4k. It seems like anyone with less than AMD's hottest card will be living outside the refresh range most of the time. So it looks like Freesync is currently worthless in a 4k monitor.

Am I right to think that the only reason to get a Freesync 4k monitor is that you think that in 2-3 years there will be AMD cards that (1) can power 4k above 50fps most of the time and (2) will be affordable? Or is there something I'm not understanding about Freesync and 4k? That's a sincere question. I've found good discussions of real-world Freesync above 1080p basically non-existent. So I'm not really sure if that above "in theory" argument holds water in real world situations.
 

Mr Evil

Senior member
Jul 24, 2015
388
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mrevil.asvachin.eu
#3
As the owner of a 4k Freesync monitor, I can relate my experience:

The range can often be increased by quite a lot by using Custom Resolution Utility. My monitor's range is only 40-60Hz out-of-the-box, but it can be tweaked to work at 37-67Hz. Still not enough for LFC.

I have to adjust settings down a little in most games to keep within the Freesync range (using a Fury). Mostly this makes little or no visible difference, especially anti-aliasing, which is much less useful at higher pixel density.

In conclusion, it's a feature very much worth having, even with its current limitations; I wouldn't buy a monitor without VRR again. I don't think LFC will really be important at 4k until >60Hz monitors appear.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,827
42
126
#4
What games are you worried about, OP? My R9 290 is paired with a Samsung 4k60 freesync display and it has been able to power through every game at low settings at 50-60fps.

I'm honestly not too worried about the limited Freesync range as once below 30fps, any form of Adaptive Sync doesn't fix the lag.

The $300 4k60 Samsung monitor from Costco is pretty good value and I wouldn't even bother waiting for Freesync 2 unless you had a 4k144hz monitor (that won't be $300!)
 

Flapdrol1337

Golden Member
May 21, 2014
1,677
0
91
#5
I'm honestly not too worried about the limited Freesync range as once below 30fps, any form of Adaptive Sync doesn't fix the lag.
Same here. My freesync screen only does 40-75 fps, I have vsync turned off and cap fps a little over 60 (so no high-fps tearing). Once the fps goes below 40 the problem isn't tearing but awful performance.
 

casiofx

Senior member
Mar 24, 2015
369
0
61
#6
4k 144hz is too expensive so most 4k gamers uses 60hz panels. VRR is super super important for 60hz panels, and as others has mentioned, aim for at least 40fps, just lower the quality settings. Btw vega should be able to cruise most newer games fine at 4k
 

philosofool

Senior member
Nov 3, 2008
255
0
81
#7
What games are you worried about, OP? My R9 290 is paired with a Samsung 4k60 freesync display and it has been able to power through every game at low settings at 50-60fps.

I'm honestly not too worried about the limited Freesync range as once below 30fps, any form of Adaptive Sync doesn't fix the lag.

The $300 4k60 Samsung monitor from Costco is pretty good value and I wouldn't even bother waiting for Freesync 2 unless you had a 4k144hz monitor (that won't be $300!)
Given the long life of a monitor, it's hard to say what games I'm concerned with, since there are games not even announced that I would expect to play with this card.

I tend to play single player RPGs and strategy games, in other words; I don't need more than 45 fps to be really happy with performance, and even 30 doesn't bother me if it is smooth. It's when things get jerky that I go nut. BTW, I always play with vsync on because for the RPG experience, I find that immersion is more important than performance (within reasonable limits) and visual artifacts destroy immersion.
 

guachi

Senior member
Nov 16, 2010
654
71
136
#8
I have a Freesync 4k that I have running 35-60 Hz instead of 40-60. I'd settle for 40-80 Hz 4k just so I could get LFC. But Freesync is so cheap that I still think 40-60 is worth it. It's obvious when the monitor drops below the minimum.

The problem is AMD has no good GPUs for 4k as of now.
 


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