I Welcome the Adaptive-Sync Future

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amd-logoVESA announced the inclusion of the “Adaptive-Sync” feature in Display Port 1.2a specification today. What does this mean for us?

Adaptive-Sync provides smoother, tear-free images for gaming and judder-free video playback. It also significantly reduces power consumption for static desktop content and low frame rate video.

If this Adaptive-Sync specification and AMD’s Project FreeSync feature is comparable to the NVIDIA G-Sync solution, then we are all winners. It will force NVIDIA to adapt its G-Sync feature to accommodate Adaptive-Sync and we shouldn’t see silly markups on monitors with NVIDIA exclusive features.

I wouldn’t want to be tied down to NVIDIA GPUs if I purchased a G-Sync capable monitor. What if their GPUs fall out of favor? People do not change monitors as often as video cards.

This standardized feature will also enable a wider array of monitors to choose from. I don’t want some cheap TN “gamer” monitor. I want IPS, OLEDs and other display technologies to incorporate this game changing feature.

FYI: Look what money can buy

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  • NVIDIA announces GeForce GTX Titan Z for $2999 USD (via AnandTech)
  • Facebook buys Oculus VR for $2 billion (via Press Release)
  • DriveClub director leaves Evolution Studios (via VideoGamer)

What a crazy day for technology news. First NVIDIA announces a $3000 video card for purchase and then Facebook drops $2 billion for Oculus VR. I won’t be purchasing that $3000 video card but I may buy a Facebook owned Oculus VR if the price and support is right. I can see it being affordable but what about the gaming support? Notch already cancelled plans for an Oculus Rift version of Minecraft just because it was Facebook who purchased them. Who else will react like this?

Also what is happening over at Sony’s internal studios? Another one of their studio directors left the fold and this time it’s for a delayed game. Is it time to worry?

Microsoft Announced DirectX 12 Last Week

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microsoftThere will be a new version of DirectX coming in 18 months or so and like all announcements, there’s unbridled optimism for the latest Microsoft API.

The hallmark feature of DirectX 12 is the return of low level graphics programming. Low level graphics programming –something console game developers have been enjoying on closed ecosystems — allows developers to forgo abstraction layers and execute code with better performance.

With DirectX 12, Microsoft and the GPU vendors including AMD, NVIDIA, Intel and Qualcommm have agreed to a set of standards that will make low level programming possible across different graphics cards.

Microsoft and its partners are promising DirectX 12 compatibility with many of today’s and yesteryear’s graphics cards:

AMD GCN 1.0 (Radeon 7000/8000/200)
GCN 1.1 (Radeon 200)
Intel Gen 7.5 (Haswell/4th Gen Core)
NVIDIA Fermi (GeForce 400/500)
Kepler (GeForce 600/700/800)
Maxwell (GeForce 700/800)

Great news! All my active video cards will support the upcoming API. The next obvious question is: which operating systems will support DirectX 12? It’s obvious that Windows 8 will but what about Windows 7?

Since the Xbox One sports a supported and compatible AMD GPU, it too will receive DirectX 12 support. This will undoubtedly enable easier porting between consoles and PCs.

I hope DirectX 12 manages to deliver on all its promises. Game developers need all the performance and compatibility help they could get.

Thoughts on the NVIDIA G-Sync

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Mantle? TrueAudio? Physx? All these exclusive or manufacturer driven technologies are all nonsense that force people to pick and choose GPU manufacturers based on features that their favorite games are using.

However if there’s one feature that I would choose one GPU vendor over another for, it would be for NVIDIA’s G-Sync.

AnandTech described it best:

The basic premise is simple. Displays refresh themselves at a fixed interval, but GPUs render frames at a completely independent frame rate. The disconnect between the two is one source of stuttering. You can disable v-sync to try and work around it but the end result is at best tearing, but at worst stuttering and tearing.

NVIDIA’s G-Sync is a combination of software and hardware technologies that allows a modern GeForce GPU to control a variable display refresh rate on a monitor equipped with a G-Sync module. In traditional setups a display will refresh the screen at a fixed interval, but in a G-Sync enabled setup the display won’t refresh the screen until it’s given a new frame from the GPU.

The G-Sync system is the gaming display technology we’ve always needed. Eliminating screen tearing and achieving pitch perfect display refreshes at all variable rates without the need to enable Vsync and triple buffering reduces input latency without sacrificing image quality. Even if I’m running a game at 60 FPS, this technology will also reduce the amount of judder I often see as well.

There’s only two downsides to G-sync thus far.

  1. It’s an NVIDIA exclusive technology
  2. It will initially be only available for the ASUS VG248QE.

The latter will be addressed with additional panels and manufacturers. I hope we see an 2560 x 1440 IPS panel with this technology. The former? I doubt we’ll see NVIDIA open this spec for their rivals to use as well which is a damn shame.

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