Chip maker AMD has told PCR the price of its upcoming FreeSync gaming monitors will be around $80 to $100 cheaper than Nvidia’s G-Sync models.
The new display technologies – both AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync – aim to eliminate screen tearing, input lag and stuttering in PC games.
"One of the most attractive things about FreeSync when compared to G-Sync is that FreeSync is free to all our partners," AMD’s gaming scientist Richard Huddy told PCR.
"That is to say the partner never has to pay us anything for using the IP which we gave to VESA – the standard authority on this kind of matter.
"That means that FreeSync monitors, if they are built to a higher quality, will cost more but there is no licence fee associated with it. And it turns out that actually there’s no extra bill of materials in the case of any monitors I’m aware of. G-Sync monitors will cost about an extra $80 to 100 for consumers compared to FreeSync."
However Nvidia has pipped AMD to the post by recently launching the 24-inch AOC G2460PG and 27-inch Asus PG278Q G-Sync monitors first, while a 4K Acer G-Sync monitor and Philips models are also in the works. AMD’s debut FreeSync systems are due in early 2015.
"FreeSync progress is very good," Huddy explained. "At Computex in June this year we showed a prototype monitor which allowed a dynamic refresh rate just in the narrow band from 40Hz to 60Hz, so that gets rid of a great deal of tearing but doesn’t solve everything.
"There’s a strong indication that these monitors are coming. So sampling in September/October in time for a review for the Christmas market, and then real retail availability in the New Year."
AMD also says that its FreeSync tech can be built into G-Sync monitors.
"Because FreeSync is completely free on licence, any G-Sync monitor can have FreeSync built into it as well. It’s possible the early G-Sync monitors won’t support FreeSync because FreeSync is a fairly new standard, but by some time very early next year when the first few FreeSync monitors come out, my guess is that G-Sync monitors will also support FreeSync," Huddy added.
"Certainly we put down no restriction – we don’t try and discourage anyone from putting G-Sync into a monitor if they put FreeSync in, they can freely choose to do so, but I’m not sure why they would add $80-100 to the bill of materials, given that FreeSync solves the same problem as G-Sync does. It gets rid of all tearing, it gives you a proper dynamic refresh rate that matches the gaming experience.
"Both of them deliver a smooth and improved gaming experience – and one does it for less than the other."
PCR understands that vendors who wish to use G-Sync tech in their monitors will have to pay a licence fee and a bill of materials to Nvidia for the privilege, while AMD says it won’t charge partners a licence fee.
Huddy also believes that 4K may garner more interest from PC owners than G-Sync and FreeSync.
"Most people pay £100 for a 1080p monitor these days, and the 4K monitors are clearly going to be rather more expensive – we’ve seen them in the UK come to around £500," he said.
"But I think the big upgrade point for monitors is going to be the 4K switch."
UPDATE: Nvidia has slammed AMD’s FreeSync claims, and says it "cannot comment on pricing of products that don’t exist".