[PLUG-TALK] UHD FreeSync choices

John Jason Jordan johnxj at gmx.com
Thu Jan 23 14:20:56 PST 2020

Is anyone using an AMD video card with FreeSync and a UHD monitor?

More detail:

A little over a year ago I built myself a new desktop computer, which
currently has Xubuntu 18.04. It has an Intel i7-7700 CPU, and no extra
video card. It is currently running a 6+-year old 21" Asus 1980x1020
monitor, which I would like to replace with a 27" or 28" UHD monitor

I am using just the Intel video. The literature on the motherboard says
it will do 3840x2160, but at only 30Hz. Furthermore, it lacks newer
features, most notably FreeSync, which is an AMD technology. Let me
clarify a bit about FreeSync.

A couple years ago AMD came up with an 'adaptive sync' technology,
primarily aimed at gamers, but also useful for video enthusiasts. The
benefit is smoothing out video and eliminating jerkiness and pauses.
Consider that you are watching a movie with VLC, and you decide to jump
ahead. When you do the screen will suddenly become pixelated for a
while, sometimes for as much as 30 seconds. If your video card has
adaptive sync this won't happen; the movie will just continue from the
new spot with no interruption. I have this on my new laptop, and it is

AMD calls their adaptive sync technology FreeSync and, naturally, you
need AMD video to get it, and only AMD video from the past couple of
years has it. There is an alternative, however, from nVidia, which they
call G-Sync. But regardless of which you go with, the FreeSync or
G-Sync has to be built into your monitor in order to work. And that's
where there is a rub - nVidia wants monitor manufacturers to pay them a
high licensing fee, where FreeSync is free. And the technologies are
mutually exclusive; if you have a FreeSync monitor an nVidia card with
G-Sync will do nothing, and vice-versa. And considering the cost issue,
high end monitors usually come with FreeSync, but there are very few
that have G-Sync.

In other words, I want to buy a new UHD monitor with FreeSync, and that
means I also need to buy an AMD Radeon video card that provides
FreeSync. And that gives me a major shopping dilemma. I have picked out
a couple dozen UHD monitors with FreeSync to choose from, and a similar
number of Radeon cards, but what works with what? So far all I have
been able to determine is that apparently AMD supports Linux for all
their cards, and drivers are in the repositories. But it sure would be
useful if I could find a real-world testimonial like 'my X UHD monitor
works great on Linux with the Y Radeon card.'

Comments and suggestions welcome!

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