GNOME's Mutter Working On Variable Refresh Rate Support (VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync)

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 31 March 2020 at 08:08 AM EDT. 37 Comments
Sway's Wayland compositor recently added Variable Refresh Rate / Adaptive-Sync support to help avoid tearing and stuttering while now GNOME's Mutter is working on similar VRR support on the desktop.

A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn't advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR.

While VRR with Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync is principally advertised to help with stuttering and tearing for gamers, VRR can also help improve power management and efficiency by lowering the refresh rate of the display. Thus this VRR support for GNOME may actually be of help for Linux laptops but we have yet to test the efficiency benefits of this implementation.

The work-in-progress series can be found via Mutter's Gitlab. Hopefully this code will get into shape for merging during the now active GNOME 3.38 development cycle.
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