AMD's FreeSync technology has been around for barely a year but has already shaken up a gaming monitor market which was increasingly focussed solely on resolution. The tech, which dynamically syncs graphics card frame output with the refresh time of the monitor, is a core gaming technology that results in markedly smoother gameplay and far more enjoyable experience. Until recently such a feature has been the province of relatively high-end designs from around the £200 mark, increasing further still for higher quality panels and resolutions; however in August AOC announced a new series which could be just the ticket for eager gamers on a budget[/url]. The new monitors are now finally available.
One of the major marketing points for AMD FreeSync has been the belief that the technology adds next to no additional cost to the display, unlike NVIDIA's G-SYNC which requires a proprietary module be installed. Unfortunately it's been difficult to assess that claim - FreeSync has been introduced into new premium models lines and high-resolution displays which don't necessarily have a non-FreeSync counterpart to compare against. Still, its adoption rate has been deeply impressive.
The AOC G2260VWQ6 and G2460VQ6 are 1080p 22" and 24" panels with many of the features you might expect from a budget model, and critically they're now in stock and on sale at the sweet spots of £99.95 and £129.95 respectively via OverclockersUK. Alongside HDMI and VGA is a Displayport input (necessary for FreeSync), and the monitors support dual-source switching as standard between HDMI and DP. The underlying panel utilises TN panel technology, resulting in a fast 1ms G2G response time.
The critical point of course is that both models support AMD FreeSync straight out of the box. Some questions remain however, perhaps the most important of which is the extent of the FreeSync window. AMD's certification process is currently secret, but we do know that to be called a FreeSync panel AOC would need to adhere to a minimum window (the details of which are unknown).
Delving into AOC's technical specification for the G2260VWQ6 indicates a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz, and a corresponding scanning frequency range of 48Hz-76Hz; a window of 50Hz -> 75Hz therefore seems like a fair ballpark. Furthermore an identical spec for the G2460VQ6 indicates an identical FreeSync window. That's a pretty fair range for a budget model (though we would prefer a much lower minimum), but FreeSync's difficulty with low refresh rates mean that you'll still want to stay comfortably above this minimum.
More information will no doubt the teased out as these models reach the hands of end users, but it's gratifying to see a solid win for an AMD technology. Irrespective of whether these two models set the market on fire they have at least proved one thing: FreeSync is starting to live up to its name.
You can find the AOC G2260VWQ6 and G2460VQ6 at Overclockers.co.uk, alongside a full range of FreeSync and G-Sync monitors.