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Project Scorpio will support FreeSync, which is AWESOME

Those lucky ducks at Digital Foundry are back with some more tantalizing Project Scorpio details, and while not on the scale of the initial announcement, the latest is still big news in its own right.

Project Scorpio will support Freesync. Which is AWESOME.

To cut a long story short, Scorpio supports AMD's FreeSync - and the upcoming variable refresh rate support baked into the next-gen HDMI 2.1 spec.

Why does FreeSync matter? First, let's explain exactly what it is. From our earlier piece on the subject:

FreeSync allows the graphics card and connected monitor to communicate with one another to maintain a stable refresh rate that can be altered depending on what the graphics card is currently outputting. The result is a stable, super smooth experience and a variable refresh rate.

The benefit here is virtually no tearing or stuttering on supported displays because the GPU triggers the refresh on the screen. Keeping the GPU and the display in sync dramatically reduces stutters and tears and keeps everything buttery smooth.

On Xbox One developers target either 30 FPS or 60 FPS, and if 60 is targeted and not optimized properly you'll start to see frames dropped, which introduces tears and a generally sub-par experience. But what does variable refresh rate and FreeSync support mean in the long term? The Digital Foundry folks put it better than we could:

There's a reason why games target either 60fps or 30fps: both divide equally into the 60Hz output of a traditional screen, meaning a smooth, consistent update. With the display refresh put in the developer's hands, arbitrary performance targets like 40fps or 45fps could be targeted.

The downside is that the current list of supported displays is fairly limited, and there are no TV sets on the market right now that will be suitable. That means, at least for now, for the best performance you'll have to use Scorpio with a PC monitor. Nevertheless, it's another exciting development for what's sure to become our new favorite console.

Give the full article a read for the full picture. And you'll probably feel a little smarter at the end, too.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

22 Comments
  • So is variable refresh rate supported just by having an HDMI 2.1 spec friendly input on your display? If so, does that mean future TV's may support this?
  • "If so, does that mean future TV's may support this?"
    Exactly.
  • from linustechtips wan show: https://youtu.be/qUwc6EvG0gw?t=2273 there a guy from amd (specifically radeon technology) is a guest and hints that a partnership with some tv manufactureres would probably be the best way to solve the freesync tv thing. and at an another point in the show he mentions that they already have soem sort of partnerships to adress that problem.
  • Which is great for AMD's to flex its already consumer friendly market. A business model that can get NVIDIA to expand as well.
    Vizio TV's with Freesync? That's a win for everyone whether you're a hardcore gamer or casual.
  • No, it needs to also specifically support FreeSync, which TVs have never considered before. Now that a console offers it, though, it seems reasonable to think that someone will make a TV that supports it too. Especially if you consider that Scorpio could be what drives people to upgrade to a new 4k TV -- no better time to add a feature to help sell your 4k TV if you're a manufacturer.
  • Well said
  • I bet Samsung or LG is willing to produce these typpa new TVs!
  • Not just DisplayPort, it also has to have a panel that can do variable refresh rate... The reason why TVs are so cheap compared to PC monitors is exactly because they are 'dumb' displays. Everything runs through a fixed pipeline with fixed specs. There is very little variation, and thus very little need to have a smart panel controller that can take in variable inputs. Not saying we wont see this tech come to new TVs... but we wont see this tech come to new TVs lol
  • You mean, we won't see this tech come to inexpensive new TVs.
  • Yes. And I'm sure future TV's will support this. Scorpio is looking better and better. Can't wait to get one!
  • Very cool stuff, Freesync is amazing but limited to high end PC scene and a bit messy to set up as well. But it's good for everyone that this tech spreads. It's a pity they Scorpio doesnt come with Displayport output as TV's with Freesync (VRR) + HDMI 2.1 I do not think are coming any time soon, the spec is still to be set in stone according to DigitalFoundry. So Displayport were Freesync displays already exist would be ideal, plus it would be super handy to be able to just plug Scorpio into any PC display (HDMI 2.0 is often buggy on PC monitors).
  • This is the type of feature that you don't typically see on a console.  This makes me more excited for the end of the year!
  • Project Scorpio. Xbox Scorpio, XboxOneX, Xbox 4K (it really is the xbox4), Xbox XL. I choose XboxOneX
  • TBH, they will probably name it XBox10. Hopefully not.
  • How many people will actually go out and buy a high end monitor to use this feature? Can't see it being more than 10% of buyers.
  • it's future proofing.  If in the next two years tv manafacturers support it, then you're console will alyread have it enabled.  it's also about pushing console tech forward.  if XB has it now, you can be sure Sony will put it in the next console.  The more devices that support it, the more likely it becomes standard on TVs and monitors.
  • High end monitor? 250€? Consoles are already a shame to gaming, at least get something decent for your eyes with a real panel
  • This proves that Microsoft are very serious about Scorpio's success. Everything I've read about it impresses me. I can't wait. Day one purchase for me.
  • Don't understand why bill gates can't have Microsoft make tvs what's the worst thing that could happen take a hit in his bankroll
  • This is actually really awesome.
  • This might be a indication of Surface Studio Monitors/TVs?
  • The usual mistake, which is also done in this article is the assumption, that a variable refresh rate is butter smooth. A variable refresh rate is inherently less smooth than a constant refresh rate. It only helps when a constant refresh rate cannot be sustained.