Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Best FreeSync Gaming Monitors 2021: Top Gaming Displays for AMD GPUs

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If you have an AMD graphics card made in the last couple of years, even a modest one, and you don’t have a FreeSync gaming monitor, it’s time to upgrade that display. That goes double if you’ve nabbed one of the newest Big Navi graphics cards, like the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, which can pump out 4K visuals and spit out high frame rates at 1080p and 1440p. Once you experience the smoothness and responsiveness of a variable refresh rate monitor paired with a powerful graphics card, there’s just no going back.Gamers with a beefy AMD graphics card in their gaming PCs owe it to themselves to upgrade to a FreeSync gaming display—the difference is truly striking. And, it’s one of the best ways to avoid screen tearing, a problem that can plague even powerful setups. These are our picks for the best FreeSync monitor at every price range, size, and resolution.

TL;DR – These are the Best FreeSync Gaming Monitors:

1. Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q Tactical Gaming Display

Best FreeSync Gaming Monitor

Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q

On Amazon

Gigabyte has made an excellent gaming monitor in the Aorus FI27Q (see our review). It has a classic look from the front, with narrow bezels around the display while the rear shows off some flare with RGB lighting and angular design language. Even the stand adds to the value with plenty of flexible positioning. But, where the Aorus FI27Q truly earns its keep is in the display itself. You’ll be getting a reasonably priced gaming monitor with that excellent combination of a 1440p resolution on a 27-inch display, which makes for crisp visuals that aren’t overly demanding on mid-to-high-end gaming PCs.

The Aorus FI27Q gives you the goods with a 165Hz refresh rate on a colorful IPS panel. If your computer can’t push a full 165fps at 1440p, the display’s FreeSync Premium will help you keep your visuals looking great. And, if you ever switch to an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor is ready, as it’s officially G-Sync Compatible.

2. ViewSonic XG2705

Best Budget FreeSync Gaming Monitor

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ViewSonic XG2705

On Amazon

If you’re upgrading from a basic gaming monitor that lacked adaptive sync and suffered from serious screen tearing, then get ready for a new world of visual clarity. The ViewSonic XG2705 is an affordable and effective start. It costs only a little over $200, but it’ll set you up with a reasonably sharp 1080p picture, and it’ll let you cruise at up to 144Hz.

With FreeSync, you won’t have to worry about your visuals tearing even when your PC isn’t spitting out a full 144fps. To top it off, ViewSonic packed in an IPS panel on this monitor, so you’ll get strong color and won’t have to worry about viewing angles as much as you would with an affordable TN panel.

3. LG UltraGear 27GN950-B

Best 4K FreeSync Gaming Monitor

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LG UltraGear 27GN950-B

On Amazon

When it comes to 4K gaming monitors, the LG UltraGear 27GN950-B is our favorite, and it just so happens to come with FreeSync support. It’s not just any FreeSync either, but FreeSync Premium Pro, ensuring you’re guarded against tearing, stutters, and latency while gaming in HDR. This monitor is good to go on the HDR front as well. It’s using an IPS panel that can cover 98% of the DCI-P3 color space and achieve high brightness levels to make the most of HDR10 content or games.

When you’re gaming, you’ll get some serious sharpness on account of the 4K resolution packed into the 27-inch panel, but LG doesn’t make you trade speed for resolution. This panel can run at up to 144Hz, letting you go all-in for speed as well. You may not always hit that full speed at 4K, but that’s where FreeSync is ready to back you up.

4. Asus ROG Swift PG329Q

Best 1440p FreeSync Monitor

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Asus ROG Swift PG329Q

On Amazon

If you’re making the move to 1440p, you may as well get some of the other big features that are making the latest gaming monitors all the more impressive. The Asus ROG Swift PG329Q balances its features nicely, so you’ll get a monitor that can deliver in just about every respect.

Here are the basics. The Asus ROG Swift PG329Q puts up a 32-inch panel with a 1440p resolution, and instead of stopping at 144Hz like many monitors, it speeds up to 175Hz. And, it’s got adaptive sync capabilities to keep your visuals looking great. For color, you’re getting an IPS panel that supports a 10-bit color depth and achieves 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. Tack on a little bit of HDR in the form of DisplayHDR 600, and you’ve got a great picture on your hands.

5. Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HF)

Best 1080p FreeSync Monitor

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Alienware AW2521HF

On Dell

Alienware has you covered for a great FreeSync experience at 1080p. Now, maybe you’re think you don’t need FreeSync too much on a 1080p monitor because you’ll have an easy time hitting the max refresh rate and can just cap your frame rate in games. Think again. The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HF) cruises with a 240Hz refresh rate that will take a lot of muscle in your gaming computer to max out.

You’ll actually get to combine that speed with improved clarity by way of a 400-nit peak brightness that will make it easy to see what’s on the screen. And, thanks to an IPS panel, you don’t have to worry about poor viewing angles. The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor will also let you take advantage of the variable refresh rate support offered by the latest consoles, since it has two HDMI 2.0 ports in addition to its DisplayPort connection.

6. Samsung Odyssey G7

Best Curved FreeSync Gaming Monitor

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Samsung Odyssey G7

On Amazon

Curved gaming monitors try to immerse you by bending the display around your field of vision, and the Samsung Odyssey G7 goes further than many of the monitors you’ve likely seen before. That’s thanks to a tight curvature with a 1000R radius. Of course, that wouldn’t be worth much if the display panel wasn’t also a winner. Fortunately, the Odyssey G7 delivers a QLED panel with 10-bit color and a 600-nit peak brightness that can bring some solid HDR performance.

Your games will look especially great on this monitor with the combination of colorful and vivid visuals matched with a 1440p resolution and high contrast ratio. And, let’s not forget that this monitor can cruise at a 240Hz refresh rate with FreeSync Premium Pro to smooth it all out.

7. LG UltraGear 34GN850-B

Best Ultra Wide FreeSync Monitor

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LG UltraGear 34GN850-B

On Amazon

Sometimes bigger is better, and that feels especially true for ultra-wide monitors. The LG UltraGear 34GN8550-B comes in with a 34-inch display in a 21:9 aspect ratio to take over your desk with a massive, cinema-like setup. The display itself is slightly curved, so it’ll wrap around your vision and put you right into the middle of the action.

The display itself is a 3,440 x 1,440 panel that can run at a speedy 144Hz refresh rate, so you’ll be gaming smooth. And, it has a high enough brightness level and wide color gamut to earn it DisplayHDR 400 certification, in case you want to dip your toes into HDR gaming and cinema.

8. Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A

Best G-Sync Compatible Gaming Monitor

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Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A

On Amazon

One awesome aspect of FreeSync monitors is the fact that you can use a lot of them perfectly well with an Nvidia graphics card running G-Sync. The Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A is a great example of that. This is an incredibly compelling gaming monitor, delivering a sharp 1440p resolution on a 27-inch display (a sweet spot we can’t get enough of). You’ll find a rich color palette thanks to a 10-bit IPS panel, and there’s even some room for HDR on account of the 470-nit peak brightness the display can hit.

All of those details make this a good monitor in general, but Asus loads up on the gaming chops with a 170Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. This monitor is ready to cruise through games, whether you want to play with the latest Nvidia RTX 3080 running G-Sync over DisplayPort or take advantage of FreeSync on the new consoles over HDMI 2.0.

9. Samsung 65″ Class Q90T Smart QLED 4K TV

Best FreeSync Gaming Television

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Samsung QN65Q90TA

On Amazon

Sometimes a monitor just isn’t going to cut it, especially if you want to lounge back on a couch at some distance from your display without missing all the little details from your games. Fortunately, you don’t have to miss out on FreeSync just because you want a big display. Samsung’s Q90T QLED 4K TV not only offers up a proper FreeSync experience, but it also supports a 120Hz refresh rate and stunning HDR thanks to its 1,500-nit peak brightness and numerous local dimming zones.

This is definitely a great pick if you need something that can perform double-duty for both gaming and media. You can even leave your headphones and desk speakers behind, as the Q90T has built-in speakers that’ll probably blow away the speakers on any traditional monitor you’ve ever used.

What to look for in a FreeSync gaming monitor

FreeSync is AMD’s branding for its variable refresh rate (VRR) monitor technology. It’s built on top of the open VESA Adaptive-Sync protocol as part of the DisplayPort 1.2a spec. If you have a FreeSync monitor, you’ll get variable refresh rates with just about any modern AMD graphics card.

If you’re running an Nvidia graphics card or using another video source (like a game console via an HDMI input), a FreeSync monitor will act just like a normal monitor.

What is VRR?

Basically, a standard monitor is locked to a single refresh rate—that’s the number of times per second that it changes the color and brightness of the pixels on the screen. Your graphics card draws a frame and then waits until the monitor’s next refresh to display it.

This has the effect of making your game jump frame rate between even multiples of the display’s refresh: with a 60Hz monitor, your game will run at 60fps, 30fps, 20fps, 15fps, or 12fps, for example. Disabling vsync will also allow your graphics card to run as fast as possible on any monitor, but it produces an ugly visual artifact called tearing, where the monitor displays partially-drawn frames on top of the previous frame.

With VRR technology, the monitor refreshes whenever the graphics card is done drawing the next frame.

With VRR technology (G-Sync or FreeSync), the monitor refreshes whenever the graphics card is done drawing the next frame. So your monitor might max out at 60Hz and your game at 60fps, but if your game is running at 52fps the monitor will refresh at 52Hz, drawing the frame immediately instead of waiting for the next 60Hz cycle. So you’ll see the frame rate your graphics card is capable of, not an unnecessary downgrade to 30fps. This also eliminates screen tearing caused by the GPU sending multiple frames to the monitor when it’s still rendering a previous frame.

There are two VRR technologies gamers should know about: G-Sync and FreeSync. G-Sync is Nvidia proprietary technology and only works with Nvidia graphics cards. FreeSync is AMD’s brand for a VRR technology and only works with AMD GPUs. G-Sync requires extra hardware in the monitor, driving monitors costs up but maintains consistently high quality. FreeSync has no licensing fee and requires no proprietary hardware, and thus monitors are typically cheaper, but quality control is a little less consistent in our opinion.

More Expert Tech Roundups

Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark


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