A new labeling system is coming to PC gaming monitors that aims to scrutinize their variable refresh rates, making it easier for consumers to identify which products perform best.
The labeling system comes from VESA, an electronics association dedicated to creating standards around video displays. The group announced the system with the goal of testing monitors that support the Adaptive-Sync protocol, which can adjust a monitor’s refresh rate to match the frame rate of a PC’s graphics card.
The protocol was created to help eliminate screen tearing and stuttering that can occur on a monitor while running PC games. AMD and Nvidia have developed their own variable refresh rate technologies through FreeSync and G-Sync, respectively. Therefore, you can find numerous monitors and laptops on the market designed to offer adaptive sync at various refresh rates.
However, variable refresh rate performance on a monitor may sometimes not consistently match a product’s marketing claims. For example, it’s easy for a product to say it has a 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, but real-world performance could be off, causing video stutter.
“While many PC and laptop displays currently support Adaptive-Sync protocols, until now there has been no open standard to measure the level of performance or quality of Adaptive-Sync support for any display,” VESA said in Monday’s announcement.
The association is trying to address this by creating a new compliance specification that involves testing an Adaptive-Sync monitor with more than 50 automated tests, which will cover refresh rate, flicker, gray-to-gray response time, and video frame drops. PC gaming monitors that pass the performance criteria will be certified with an “AdaptiveSync” display logo, which will only be awarded to products with a minimum refresh rate of 144Hz.
“The logo includes a value indicating the maximum video frame rate that can be achieved for adaptive-sync operation when tested at factory default settings with native resolution,” VESA added. “The values in the logo will include 144, 165, 240, 360, etc.”
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The association also created a second label, called “MediaSync Display,” which is designed to certify that a PC monitor or laptop offers “jitter-free media playback,” meaning no data loss or distortion. This tag is intended for monitors with lower refresh rates, which are dedicated to video production, as opposed to PC gaming.
Currently, only two 27-inch LG monitors have been certified with the AdaptiveSync labels. But VESA is inviting all vendors to participate in the system by submitting their products to the association for testing.
The VESA effort joins the certification tests for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatible PC monitors, though the programs are not mutually exclusive. “The VESA program does not place restrictions on the use of additional logos and certifications from other programs,” VESA said. “A device that has both a VESA Adaptive-Sync Display certification logo and a GPU vendor’s logo will have had to meet the criteria of both programs.”
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