Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Talk about AMD's FreeSync and VESA AdaptiveSync, which are variable refresh rate technologies. They also eliminate stutters, and eliminate tearing. List of FreeSync Monitors.
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xenphor
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Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by xenphor » 01 Apr 2021, 20:34

I know there are reports of the Alienware aw2521hf monitor having black outs with Freesync using an Nvidia graphics card but I have not experienced those with my setup. I have a 1050 ti, 8700k, and 32gb of ram.

However, I have noticed something different that is hard to describe and I'm not sure if it is Freesync related. When playing games, seemingly randomly (I have not been able to reproduce it), I will notice the image bug out almost imperceptively. It's not a black out or a consistent flicker. The first time it happened I thought maybe it was related to emulator shader caching since I was playing on a 3DS emulator at the time. However, I have noticed it a few more times, even when playing undemanding PC games (Pac-Man CE 2) at a consistent, locked frame rate using RTSS.

I have tried letting the Nvidia Pendulum demo run for awhile and didn't notice anything. I have not noticed anything strange while not gaming.

It doesn't happen that frequently and I'm not sure if it's even related to Freesync. I just never remember seeing anything like it when using a traditional 60hz display. I also don't think I encountered it on other Freesync monitors I have used, but I was not able to use those for very long due to eye strain.

Are there still lingering issues when using Freesync on an Nvidia graphics card or could it be a potential problem with the monitor? I have updated to the latest driver.

xenphor
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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by xenphor » 27 May 2021, 01:06

I'm bumping this post because I managed to capture what I'm talking about here:

phpBB [video]


For some reason this game (Final Fantasy XI) triggers the anomaly fairly often, so I pointed my phone at the screen and filmed until it happened. Sorry for the poor quality video.

It is an old MMORPG (DirectX 8, 2004) running in Windows 10 so that may contribute to the frequency. However, it also happens less frequently in modern games and emulators. I'm fairly certain it's tied to Freesync since I never noticed it on my old monitor and it hasn't happened with it off.

Has anyone else experienced this? Does this happen with G-sync native displays?

[Moderator Edit: Turned video link to an embed]

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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 01 Jun 2021, 15:41

Thanks for the video!

This happens to a few FreeSync panels in very rare cases. This might be a VRR range excursion (refresh rate accidentally going below min Hz).

FreeSync has more problems than native G-SYNC (hardware-based repeat-refresh logic on monitor-side) with below-VRR accidental range excursions (FreeSync blackouts / FreeSync glitches). This is because repeat-refreshes (LFC) is software-driven on generic VESA Adaptive Sync / HDMI VRR / FreeSync / "G-Sync Compatible". And sometimes software is a bit slow (or imperfect timers, etc) and if a frametime briefly hits 1/47sec (below 48Hz) and the driver software doesn't repeat-refresh on time, FreeSync sometimes starts glitching.

Raising the min-Hz sometimes fixes this -- but only if your glitch is caused by frametimes exiting VRR range -- and there's no safety margin.

Potential Solution: Try range-editing your FreeSync range via ToastyX CRU to have a minimum VRR Hz of about 55Hz or 65Hz, instead of 48Hz. See if artifact disappears.
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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by xenphor » 08 Jun 2021, 07:51

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
01 Jun 2021, 15:41
Thanks for the video!

This happens to a few FreeSync panels in very rare cases. This might be a VRR range excursion (refresh rate accidentally going below min Hz).

FreeSync has more problems than native G-SYNC (hardware-based repeat-refresh logic on monitor-side) with below-VRR accidental range excursions (FreeSync blackouts / FreeSync glitches). This is because repeat-refreshes (LFC) is software-driven on generic VESA Adaptive Sync / HDMI VRR / FreeSync / "G-Sync Compatible". And sometimes software is a bit slow (or imperfect timers, etc) and if a frametime briefly hits 1/47sec (below 48Hz) and the driver software doesn't repeat-refresh on time, FreeSync sometimes starts glitching.

Raising the min-Hz sometimes fixes this -- but only if your glitch is caused by frametimes exiting VRR range -- and there's no safety margin.

Potential Solution: Try range-editing your FreeSync range via ToastyX CRU to have a minimum VRR Hz of about 55Hz or 65Hz, instead of 48Hz. See if artifact disappears.
Thanks for the response. So it isn't an issue with using an Nvidia card on a Freesync display? An AMD card could potential have the same problem?

I tried updating the graphics drivers and still noticed the bug so I have changed the VRR minimum to 55Hz and am testing that now. Is there any downside to raising the minimum VRR range like that?

edit: I noticed it the bug when using 55Hz so I'm trying 65Hz instead.
edit2: Noticed it at 65Hz as well.

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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 08 Jun 2021, 21:38

xenphor wrote:
08 Jun 2021, 07:51
Thanks for the response. So it isn't an issue with using an Nvidia card on a Freesync display? An AMD card could potential have the same problem?
It happens on both but happens far more frequently with NVIDIA drivers -- FreeSync range handling is not as optimized in NVIDIA drivers.
xenphor wrote:
08 Jun 2021, 07:51
I tried updating the graphics drivers and still noticed the bug so I have changed the VRR minimum to 55Hz and am testing that now. Is there any downside to raising the minimum VRR range like that?
No real downside for an extremely wide VRR range. LFC disadvantages virtually disappear with very wide VRR ranges (48-240Hz), to the point where it's actually advantageous to use LFC instead of native low Hz. A higher LFC is usually superior to low native Hz since LCDs can have certain kinds of artifacts when refreshed at low native Hz, such as slow-scrolling inversion artifacts.
xenphor wrote:
08 Jun 2021, 07:51
edit: I noticed it the bug when using 55Hz so I'm trying 65Hz instead.
edit2: Noticed it at 65Hz as well.
If it is happening at the same frequency (i.e. not less frequent at higher min Hz), then there may be some other issue -- or even possibly a warranty defect (if it does not happen to other AW2521HFs) -- how long have you had the AW2521HF?
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       • Official List of Best Gaming Monitors
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       • List of FreeSync Monitors
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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by xenphor » 08 Jun 2021, 22:37

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
08 Jun 2021, 21:38
If it is happening at the same frequency (i.e. not less frequent at higher min Hz), then there may be some other issue -- or even possibly a warranty defect (if it does not happen to other AW2521HFs) -- how long have you had the AW2521HF?
I have had it since the end of May this year. It's hard to gauge the frequency since I haven't been able to reliably reproduce the issue. I have yet to see it happen when running the Nvidia pendulum demo and playing modern games/emulators has triggered the issue a handful of times. I was about to forget about it until I started playing Final Fantasy XI which, for some reason, triggered the bug more reliably to the point where I could capture it.

The RTings review mentioned some issue with Freesync that supposedly resolved itself (which didn't sound like my problem) and there are a few other posts online about issues with blackouts (that also don't sound like my issue) so I don't know. I would've bought a cheap RX 580 to test if the prices hadn't risen so much.

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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 09 Jun 2021, 17:21

It could be a driver bug; try upgrading/downgrading your GPU drivers (e.g. between Windows WHQL drivers and the NVIDIA-download drivers).
Head of Blur Busters - BlurBusters.com | TestUFO.com | Follow @BlurBusters on Twitter

       To support Blur Busters:
       • Official List of Best Gaming Monitors
       • List of G-SYNC Monitors
       • List of FreeSync Monitors
       • List of Ultrawide Monitors

xenphor
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Re: Might be noticing a very brief Freesync artifact on Alienware aw2521hf

Post by xenphor » 10 Jun 2021, 13:34

I uninstalled the latest driver and used Windows update to install 456.71 and the glitch still happens.

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