Radeon's AMDVLK Driver Does Support FreeSync/VRR But The Option Isn't Widely Known

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 20 August 2020 at 09:32 AM EDT. 27 Comments
There is a common misconception that the official AMD Radeon open-source Vulkan driver "AMDVLK" doesn't support FreeSync / Variable Rate Refresh, but that is actually inaccurate as the support was merged earlier this year albeit never announced or made it into the release notes.

Going on for years have been bug reports and feature requests pertaining to FreeSync / VRR / Adaptive-Sync being missing / not supported by AMDVLK as the official open-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux.

That changed though back in April support was merged alongside Renoir enablement and a lot of other work. This "Add adaptive sync support" never made it into AMD's release announcement or notes on the succeeding driver releases, but it's there for those interested.

Part of the confusion as well is the VRR/FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync support isn't enabled by default but requires enabling it with one of the AMDVLK-specific configuration files.

The EnableAdaptiveSync,1 option needs to be set within the /etc/amd/amdPalSettings.cfg. When set and running on a VRR capable display, the AdaptiveSync support should be working for Vulkan games/applications. It is important to note though that obviously the same AMDGPU kernel driver restrictions apply like the current lack of HDMI VRR support by the AMD Radeon driver on Linux.

In any case, hopefully this is helpful for those unaware of the ability for AMDVLK to use Adaptive-Sync for trying to reduce tearing and stuttering during your Linux gaming sessions.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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