Nvidia Embraces Freesync: This May Be Bad For Consumers

Rejoice for G-sync is dead and no longer will we have to pay more for monitors just to have adaptive sync on our monitors.  This is what I would be saying if I didn’t know how this goes already.  We have seen this in the tech business over and over again.  Yes for a while your Freesync monitor will be the same price, but soon it will be G-sync Certified and for that they will charge just a little bit more because it is “better”.  That is not to mention how this is Nvidia’s plan to eliminate AMD from the running.

The News

So here is the news Nvidia has just released new drivers for their graphics cards that allows their cards to run with Freesync instead of using their proprietary G-sync technology that cost you an arm and a leg and maybe your first born child.

This is good news for you the consumer right now because you can buy the new Nvidia graphics cards and then buy a Freesync monitor and maybe it will work with some caveats.

First Nvidia is only supporting certain monitors not all Freesync monitors.  This is good and bad.  The good is there are some horrible Freesync monitors out there and this will weed out the bad ones from the running.  The bad part is this allows Nvidia who has the market share right now can cherry pick which monitor companies they will work with.  So if you do not, please the Nvidia gods, then they change a little code in their driver update and your monitor no longer works with their cards or works worse.

This also opens up the market for Nvidia to crash into the realm of AMD where people wanted adaptive sync, but did not want to spend too much to get it.  Now Nvidia which does sadly have the superior cards can horn in on that business and cut AMD out of a lot of sales using the technology that AMD founded in the first place.

Quick Run Down Of Adaptive Sync

Most monitors only produce at the pre-determined refresh rate that they have been set.  For most monitors this has been 60 Frames Per Second (FPS).  This becomes a problem because your graphics card is not at a set FPS depending on what it has to render and the complexity of what it is producing its FPS can vary wildly as an example from 40 FPS all the way up to 100 just in a few seconds.

This translates poorly on a set FPS monitor because it is getting new information before it has finished its last refresh so you get screen tearing.  Screen tearing is where part of an image stays while a new image is being drawn this can lead to the game world looking like part of it is being left behind if you turn around very fast in a game.

Adaptive sync is supposed to fix this issue.  While is it not a perfect solution, it really makes things much better.  Adaptive sync tells the monitor what FPS the graphics card is running at at the exact time and the monitor adjusts accordingly and you do not get the horrible lag that a set monitor normally suffers from.

For the most part most tests find that Freesync works almost as well as its G-sync counterpart with the new update to Nvidia cards.  Leaving G-sync in the proverbial dust and now with Nvidia moving on to Freesync.

What This Means For The Consumer At Present

This is good for the consumer right now.  You can now buy an Nvidia card and not have to spend too much for a monitor that has their expensive G-sync module put in.

Most people have been saddled with the tough choice of buying an AMD card but getting poorer performance or buying an Nvidia card having to pay more for the card to start then having to pay way more for the monitor to fully utilize that card.

So in the short term this is a good thing for the consumer.  You can now buy that really expensive RTX Nvidia card you have been eyeing and then purchase a good Freesync monitor get adaptive sync with them.

Why I Am Skeptical

Most people are excited, finally Nvidia is embracing the Freesync monitors we will no longer have to pay more for adaptive sync.  Finally we will be free.

We only have to look at other tech companies to see how this is going to work out.  Look at Microsoft for an example.  They have the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish model that they have used to great effect to many different tech companies that no longer are around because of this model.

How does it work?  Well first Microsoft embraces a software like Netscape Navigator.  You remember them right they had one of the best web browsers out there.  Well Microsoft wanted to corner the market with their Internet Explorer so they eyed their competition Netscape Navigator who had nearly a 90% market share of online browsing.

Microsoft wanted a piece of the pie so they replicated Netscape’s coding called Java and re-titled it Jscript.  They then expanded Internet Explore to be integrated into their operating system and for certain programs to only run with Internet Explorer not Netscape Navigator.  This effectively killed Netscape and Internet Explorer Dominated the market share for a while.

So how does this work with Freesync?  Freesync has had the market of spendthrifts who did not want to pay too much for their gaming computer and monitor but also wanted adaptive sync and good but not great graphics.  Now Nvidia is going to come crashing into this market as well.  People will embrace this and start buying more Nvidia cards, they may even come out with cheaper cards that out match their AMD counterparts price wise and performance wise. This will start pushing out AMD from the main market they had once resided in.  Then comes Super Freesync, this Super Freesync only works with Nvidia cards, but is so much better than the old Freesync that was before and it’s still no extra cost to you on your monitor, well maybe a little extra just to be Super Freesync certified, but it is so much better.  Now of course Super Freesync does not work with AMD cards or if it does, it only works like the old Freesync not the new and improved version, so now monitors will come with Nvidia certification and monitor companies ever eager to keep Nvidia happy will eliminate the Freesync name from their monitors and instead will adopt whatever name Nvidia tells them to.  Remember Nvidia can make or break companies and now they are poised more so to dominate the graphics card market by embracing Freesync.

So the name Freesync and the product of Freesync will be co-opted by Nvidia and they will just phase out Freesync and replace it with their own brand name They will push out AMD by strong arming monitor companies to only support their Freesync version and they will then corner the market more than they already do.

If they succeed and they eliminate their competition in AMD then they can price their cards, however much they want and trust me it will not be on the low end.

Look at the now dead company Hastings they would enter a town with lots of video rental stores.  They would then drive their competition out by having impossibly low prices.  They would charge 50 cents a rental when other stores were able to only break even with charging $1 or more.  I was working at Hastings when they had finally did in their last holdout local rental store the manager came in and said “Video Excitement has closed finally they sold all their remaining videos to us.”  Most people were quite me I was sad I had grown up going to Video Excitement and looking at movies but my family like many others had embraced Hastings because it was so much cheaper.  Little did we know we were complicit in the destruction of another person business and livelihood.  Soon after all the competition had been destroyed then Hastings raised their prices, and they were just as expensive as the businesses they had destroyed.

This will happen to us if AMD does not have an answer to this mess and if we do not encourage AMD with our purchases of good products that they produce.  We soon will have to pay more in the future for paying less in the present.

If I Am Right

If I am right this will lead first to lower prices on graphics cards but if they are able to push AMD out of the market then Nvidia will be the main market provider and AMD might leave the game if it proves to be an unprofitable position.

Nvidia can achieve this just by lowering their prices and making it so that AMD cannot compete and profit.  They also can use less than honorable tactics to make it so that AMD cards do not work as well on their certified monitors.

Nvidia has used shady tactics in the past to secure a higher market share.  This was exemplified in their GeForce Partner Program (GPP) where Nvidia had companies sign up for the GPP and in their terms of service they had the company under the GPP only sell Nvidia products under their gaming brands otherwise they would lose the right to sell Nvidia products all together for their gaming line.

So if a certain company has their super gaming computer line, they can only have Nvidia products in it otherwise they will lose their GPP program status and lose all the benefits there of including being able to put Nvidia products in their super gaming computer line.

They would lose a lot of benefits tied to GPP some include: Early tech engagements, Launch partner status, Game bundling, Sales rebate programs, Social media and PR support, Marketing reports, and most importantly Marketing development funds.  This would lead to most gaming computer developers having delayed releases if not halted since they would not be first in line.  This would also lead to most gaming computer developers not part of the GPP also having to spend more money then their competition on their products since they would not have the support of Nvidia financially helping them.

Nvidia used this program to strong arm other businesses to not use their competitions products as much and give them more of the market share.  This program is done now, so I am sure that Nvidia has learned their lesson.

Now AMD has done things like this too so neither one is without sin I am not a fanboy of either, I just like low prices.  Competition is the driver of innovation and price control.  If AMD is driven out of the market then Nvidia will have the main market share and they will be able to drive the prices up to whatever they want.  This will lead to higher prices for lesser cards.

Not All Doom And Gloom

AMD has made a big comeback with their Ryzen CPUs and they are trying to improve their graphics cards in the same manner.  While the technology is not entirely the same they do have a new forward focused CEO who has really turned around the ailing company.  2019 may be AMDs second great year and they can dominate the market if they focus on certain things that Nvidia has ignored.

They can focus on price for power, a realm Radeon has always excelled in.  While Nvidia may have always had the most powerful cards Radeon has always had the best cheap cards out there.  They also can focus on innovation and providing that as well.  Radeon before their AMD buyout were normally on top because they excelled where Nvidia failed and they made a niche out of that.  If Radeon focuses on this now they might not be pushed out of the market with their own technology like Nvidia hopes.

A New Contender

Now Intel has expressed their interest in joining the graphics card fray as well.  This is a great thing for gamers because with a third company in the mix this will drive prices down more and with the financial backing Intel will have to pour into their graphics card research they may be a good competition to the long standing companies.

This may also lead to more consumer friendly practices since the company with the best optics may be the one people pick over the more shady competition.  At least that is my hope most corporations only care if their share holders are happy and they will do most anything to ensure that.  With a third company this will mean less money for their shareholders since now the market share will be divided by three not two and the prices will have to be cheaper just to stay competitive.

What You Can Do

Now I do not advocate buying an inferior product just because it will help the market stay healthy, but really look at what you are buying and buy what is right for you not just a certain brand because you are loyal to it or have heard something 5 years ago that poisons your views now.  Research and decide what you want and need.

If you want the best price for power then shop that way and if you want the most powerful card on the market then research what is on top right now.  Support the company that produces that best product that suits your needs and let them sort themselves out that way.  If AMD drops the ball and produces horrible cards for a bad price then don’t buy it, but if they really do make a good card just don’t go with Nvidia because you always have and always will.

Thats all I ask.  Now if you have any thoughts or questions or think I am wrong please leave a comment in the comment section and I will get back to you.

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