FreeSync in Focus: Decoding the Refresh Rate Variability on Your Display


“Is it typical for a monitor’s on-screen display to show a variable refresh rate between 114-120Hz when the frames per second are capped at 117 and FreeSync is activated, despite having a consistently stable fps and frametime?”


When it comes to gaming or using high-performance displays, the smoothness of the on-screen action is paramount. This is where technologies like AMD’s FreeSync come into play. FreeSync is designed to eliminate tearing and reduce stuttering caused by the mismatch between a monitor’s refresh rate and the game’s frame rate.

Yes, it is normal for a monitor’s on-screen display to show a slight fluctuation in the refresh rate when FreeSync is enabled. FreeSync technology works by enabling the display to dynamically adjust its refresh rate to match the frame rate output of the graphics card. This synchronization happens in real-time and can lead to minor variations in the displayed refresh rate as the system strives to maintain smooth visuals.

Why Does the Refresh Rate Vary?

The refresh rate may vary even when the fps is capped due to several factors:

  • Inherent Display Behavior

    : Monitors are designed to handle variable refresh rates and may display minor fluctuations as part of their normal operation.

  • FreeSync Range

    : The FreeSync range of a monitor dictates the span of refresh rates it can adapt to. If the fps falls within this range, the monitor will adjust its refresh rate accordingly.

  • Frame Time Consistency

    : While the fps might be stable, frame times (the time it takes to display each frame) can vary slightly, prompting the monitor to adjust the refresh rate to maintain synchronization.

  • Should You Be Concerned?

    Generally, there is no cause for concern. The purpose of FreeSync is to provide a fluid gaming experience, and part of that process involves these minor adjustments to the refresh rate. As long as the fluctuations are within the FreeSync range and do not cause noticeable stuttering or tearing, the technology is functioning as intended.


    In conclusion, experiencing a variable refresh rate between 114-120Hz on a monitor with FreeSync enabled, while the fps is locked at 117, is typical and indicative of FreeSync doing its job. It ensures that the gaming experience remains smooth by dynamically matching the display’s refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rate output. Users can enjoy their gaming sessions knowing that these fluctuations are a normal aspect of the technology’s operation to enhance their visual experience..

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