AMD FreeSync™ warps into EVE Online!
During the keynote at this year’s Fanfest, we announced that AMD FreeSync™ support would be coming to EVE Online. In the October release we are delivering on this promise and enabling AMD FreeSync™ by default, giving you a smoother gaming experience (if you have a supported system), at no additional performance cost! This all comes as part of the EVE Evolved initiative, as we continue to invest in building better foundations to support EVE’s future.
A whole new frequency of fun
While a computer has various components, there are two main parts that are mostly responsible for getting an image to your eyes: A graphics card (GPU) and monitor. These are typically connected through a HDMI (or alternative) cable.
For many years, your graphics card would send an image to the monitor 60 times a second. This is known as the ‘frequency,’ with 60Hz being extremely popular. In the last decade, there has been a huge increase in screens that offer higher refresh rates, with 120Hz or above becoming increasingly adopted in PC gaming.
It’s not hard to see why. Higher frequency screens can offer players a far smoother and more enjoyable gaming experience, provided, of course, that the game they’re playing can render the frames required. While you may have an 120Hz screen, for example, you won’t really feel the benefit if the games you’re playing only render at 60 frames per second.
This concept is not new and has existed for a long time, with not much changing since older CRT monitors were popular. It is a simple, tried, and tested solution that is reliable, but does have some downsides when used with modern technology.
A match made in screen space - balancing the framerate of the screen and New Eden
The main problem with having a set frequency between the GPU and your monitor occurs when a game can’t render enough frames. For example, if you have a 120Hz screen but the game can only render 50 frames per second there are only 2 choices:
- If you have vertical synchronisation (V-sync) turned on, which is the default for EVE, then frames would get repeated, or dropped as required to match the screen refresh. This can give a ‘stutter’ effect, due to the mismatch between the screen frequency and the number of new frames from the game. It is most noticeable on anything that is moving quickly in-game.
- If you have V-sync turned off, the frame will render as soon as it can. This will usually result in the image having a ‘tear.’ This typically looks like an abrupt line in the image.
The ideal solution then is to move away from having a set monitor frequency (like 120Hz) and to vary it, matching the frame rate the game is rendering at. In a perfect situation, this means the monitor will only display a new frame when there is something new to display. Resulting in reduced juddering at lower framerates, along with eliminating the tearing that could happen with V-sync being disabled.
As you may expect, the technology behind this is quite complex. Compatible screens often have a limited frequency range in which they can vary the refresh rate, with 40 to 80Hz being common, although some modern screens boast much wider ranges. There have also been different tech standards for approaching this problem in the last few years, with AMD FreeSync™, Nvidia® G-Sync® and VESA DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync all being methods that tackle the problem in slightly different ways.
OK, I’m in. How do I enjoy this newer technology?
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support is built into Windows 10 since May 2019. When running this Windows 10 version or above, you simply need to make sure you have a compatible GPU with the latest GPU drivers installed, along with a screen that supports variable refresh rate.
While we have worked with AMD to ensure AMD FreeSync™ functionality, any technology that supports VRR is usable; G-sync users will also benefit from this upgrade. If you wish to control functionality of this feature, then the control panels from AMD, Nvidia and Intel all offer options related to how variable refresh rate works.
The result? Capsuleers can now soar through space with the smoothest of framerates.
Fly Smoothly and see you in New Eden!