Tuesday September 11, 2018

AMD Patches in Support for FreeSync to Linux

AMD developer Nicholas Kazlauskas has uploaded a series of patches, that when eventually added to the Linux kernel, will enable 'FreeSync' within Linux. Adaptive sync is the Displayport spec and variable refresh rate is the same but pertains to the HDMI spec that allows for graphics adapters to drive displays with varying frame timings. Michael Larabel from Phoronix is optimistic that they will become available with the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel.

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These patches enable adaptive variable refresh on X for AMD hardware provided that the user sets the variable_refresh_enabled property to true on supported connectors (ie. using xrandr --set-prop). They have been tested on upstream userland under GNOME/KDE desktop environments under single and multi-monitor setups for a number of GL applications. Most games and benchmarks should work as expected provided that the compositor correctly unredirects the application's surface. KDE seems to have the best support for this with an explicit option to disable tearing support.