AMD's new Radeon Technologies Group on Tuesday announced its FreeSync variable refresh rate technology will soon be working with over HDMI ports. The company will also support DisplayPort in its upcoming GPUs and will bring high dynamic range (HDR) gaming and movies.
A variable refresh spec for HDMI is coming, but AMD's pushing ahead through the option of an extension to HDMI. The extension can be used in both HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 monitors.The company said that eight new monitor models from Acer, LG, and Samsung will support FreeSync over HDMI.
For GPU support, AMD said any GPU that supports FreeSync over DisplayPort will be able to run it over monitors that support FreeSync using HDMI.
Shceduled for 2016 is support for the HDMI 2.0a standard. HDMI 2.0 increased HDMI’s bandwidth to support 4Kp60 TVs, bringing it roughly on par with DisplayPort 1.2 in terms of total bandwidth. Along with the increase in bandwidth, HDMI 2.0/2.0a also introduced support for other new features in the HDMI specification such as the next-generation BT.2020 color space, 4:2:0 chroma sampling, and HDR video.
AMD has been late in supporting the HDMI 2.0 standard, which has been supported by rival NVIDIA since the Maxwell 2 architecture in 2014.
AMD also said that the new 2016 GPUs will be including support for DisplayPort 1.3. DisplayPort 1.3 will introduce a faster signaling mode for DisplayPort – High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) – which in turn will allow DisplayPort 1.3 to offer 50% more bandwidth than the current DisplayPort 1.2 and HBR2, boosting DisplayPort’s bandwidth to 32.4 Gbps before overhead. This additional bandwidth is necessary to support higher resolution and higher refresh rate monitors than the 4K@60Hz limit of DP1.2. This includes supporting higher refresh rate 4K monitors (120Hz), 5K@60Hz monitors, and 4K@60Hz with higher color depths than 8 bit per channel color.
AMD also announced its first foray into mobile FreeSync with Lenovo’s new Y700 gaming laptop. The 15.6-inch Lenovo Y700 will feature a Radeon R9 M380 GPU and a dual-core AMD FX-F8800P Carrizo APU for $899.
AMD’s other announcement is its plan to enable high dynamic range gaming and movies. Many games are actually already rendered in HDR today, the company said. But because GPUs aren’t made to output it and monitors don’t support it, it’s mapped to standard dynamic ranges.
The target is to enable HDR gaming and imaging using the current Radeon R9 300-series GPUs next year. Radeon GPUs introduced next year will enable HDR movie playback using HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.3, AMD says. AMD expects HDR monitors for the masses to be available by the end of next year. Currently, only Sony’s BVM-X300 30-inch 4K OLED monitor supports HDR. And it costs lot less than $18,000 (!).