AMD's Radeon FreeSync 2 is here to make your HDR gaming even smoother

AMD has announced FreeSync 2, the next iteration of its display-syncing tech for gamers. Designed to live alongside the original FreeSync specification, FreeSync 2 represents a slight step up with support for bringing a better, smoother picture to monitors with high dynamic range (HDR).

Just as it has started to become more common on TVs and the content shown on them, HDR support is starting to pop up more and more in PC games and monitors. While that's excellent for those who want a more vibrant picture, it also introduces some problems for games due to a higher latency. FreeSync 2 is meant to counteract that by shifting work usually handled by displays to the graphics card instead. From AMD:

Current HDR transport formats were designed primarily for movie content displayed on televisions with tone mapping handled by the displays, often leading to higher-than-acceptable latency for PC gaming. AMD's new API for FreeSync™ 2 offers a lower-latency alternative that shifts the workload to the powerful pipeline of a Radeon™ GPU, allowing the game to tone map directly to the display's target luminance, contrast, and color space. Radeon FreeSync™ 2 technology offers over 2x the brightness and color volume over sRGB.

FreeSync 2

FreeSync 2

Interestingly, AMD says that the FreeSync and FreeSync 2 designations will coexist in the marketplace, with the latter being reserved specifically for more premium displays with HDR support on board. Thankfully, if you have a Radeon graphics card that already supports FreeSync, it will also support FreeSync 2 via a driver update. Still, games have to add support for FreeSync 2 via a dedicated API, so your mileage will vary depending on what game you're playing.

In any case, we should start seeing FreeSync 2 popping up on monitors from a variety of manufacturers fairly soon. FreeSync 2 is expected to hit the market sometime in the first half of 2017. If you need a GPU upgrade, have a look at our guide to the best graphics cards for tons of advice.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl