After an extended wait, the PS5 is finally getting one of the features that Sony promised in the run-up to the console’s release. Variable refresh rate (or VRR) is a feature of the HDMI 2.1 specification that allows a source device and display to communicate with each other to display content on a dynamic basis rather than with a fixed refresh rate. The concept was popularized on gaming PCs more than a decade ago and is often seen under the names G-SYNC or Freesync. The PS5 has hardware support for HDMI 2.1 VRR and Sony is finally sending out updated firmware to the consoles that will allow software to output with a variable refresh rate.
The use of VRR can be helpful in many situations. Like v-sync, VRR can help eliminate display artifacts like screen tearing. Unlike traditional v-sync methods, VRR can also lower input latency and help a game’s visual output to appear smoother than it would at a lower, fixed frame rate. Proper implementations of VRR can also mitigate the effects of stuttering caused by unstable framerates. It also allows games to run at uncapped frame rates, offering the potential for better performance and an overall better experience.
While Sony is officially enabling the use of VRR on the PS5 with new firmware, it will be up to the individual developers to ensure compatibility on a game-by-game basis. With this initial introduction of the feature, there will be a limited amount of titles that can make use of the technology at the outset.
In a blog post discussing the VRR update, Sony offers a list of titles that will be receiving patches to enable VRR support in the coming weeks:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Destiny 2
- Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
- DIRT 5
- Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Resident Evil Village
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- Tribes of Midgard
To make use of VRR, your display must be fully HDMI 2.1 compliant. Once your console is updated and connected to the display with an HDMI 2.1 cable, the option to enable VRR support will be seen in the Screen and Video portion of the PS5 settings menu. Users with compatible hardware can also opt to disable the feature. An extra toggle in this menu enables VRR support for unsupported games, but this should only be used at your own risk and could result in unwanted visual errors. We also have a guide available that serves as a refresher on all the HDMI 2.1 features of the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Sony finally begins rollout of VRR support on PS5
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