AMD clears up confusion over rebranding FreeSync 2 to 'FreeSync 2 HDR'

AMD is rebranding its FreeSync 2 technology to 'FreeSync 2 HDR' in order to reflect one of the biggest changes versus the original FreeSync spec, which is HDR (high dynamic range) support. Makes sense, right? Well, there's been some confusion over the spec, and specifically over the requirements for a monitor maker to slap a FreeSync 2 HDR badge on an existing FreeSync 2 display.

The confusion stems from an interview PC Perspective conducted with Antal Tungler, who is a senior marketing manager at AMD. During the interview, Tungler goes over the specifications for FreeSync 2 HDR, saying it basically meets VESA's DisplayHDR 600 certification. You can check it out below, starting at around the 16m23sec mark:

The reason that's confusing is because there are FreeSync 2 monitors that are only DisplayHDR 400 certified, and with this rebranding, those monitors can now carry a FreeSync 2 HDR badge.

In a statement provided to TechPowerUp, AMD acknowledges this, but says it doesn't mean FreeSync 2 HDR lowers the bar for HDR. How can that be, since that seems to be in conflict with what Tungler said?

For one thing, AMD points out that its own specifications were set almost a year before VESA published its DisplayHDR standards.

"These two programs are separate and independent from each other," AMD explains. "When DisplayHDR 400 was defined, it was clear from the start that the FreeSync 2 requirements for color gamut, max brightness, and contrast ratio set a higher bar than DisplayHDR 400. AMD is not lowering the bar for FreeSync 2 HDR to align with DisplayHDR 400. We're clarifying that a display that meets the requirements for DisplayHDR 600, or higher, could meet the color gamut, max brightness and contrast ratio requirements of FreeSync 2 HDR."

AMD elaborated on this, saying it's entirely possible for a FreeSync 2 HDR display to fall short of the DisplayHDR 600 certification.

"Such a display may have the DisplayHDR 400 logo and the FreeSync 2 HDR logo, but it would be exceeding the minimum requirements of DisplayHDR 400," AMD added.

In other words, a FreeSync 2 HDR display should be able to crank up the brightness beyond 400 nits, and even 600 nits, but might not meet VESA's other requirements for a DisplayHDR 600 badge.

HDR's still confusing, but hopefully that clears up where new FreeSync monitors will stand. When in doubt, check the specs.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).