‘AdaptiveSync’ Labels Aim to Highlight Legit PC Gaming Monitors

A new labeling system is coming to PC gaming monitors that aims to vet their variable refresh rates, making it easy for consumers to pinpoint which products perform the best. 

The labeling system comes from VESA, an electronics association devoted to creating standards around video displays. The group announced the system with the goal of vetting 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 the 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. Hence, you can find numerous monitors and laptops on the market designed to offer adaptive sync at various refresh rates. 

However, the variable refresh rate performance on a monitor can sometimes fail to 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 and result in video flickering. 

“While many PC and laptop displays currently support Adaptive-Sync protocols, until now there had been no open standard in measuring the level of performance or quality of Adaptive-Sync support for any given display,” the VESA said in Monday’s announcement. 

The association is trying to address this by creating a new compliance specification that involves vetting an Adaptive-Sync monitor with over 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 then be certified with an “AdaptiveSync” Display logo, which will only be given to products with a minimum 144Hz refresh rate.

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“The logo includes a value indicating the maximum video frame rate that is achievable for Adaptive-Sync operation when tested in factory default settings at native resolution,” VESA added. “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 a PC monitor or laptop offers “jitter-free media playback,” meaning no loss or distortion in the data. This label is meant for monitors featuring lower refresh rates, which are devoted 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 sending their products to the association for testing.

The effort from VESA joins certification tests for Nvidia G-Sync- and AMD FreeSync-compatible PC monitors, although the programs aren’t mutually exclusive. “The VESA program imposes no restrictions on the use of additional logos and certifications of other programs,” VESA said. “A device that bears both an 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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