AMD has announced new AMD Advantage laptops, but they also have a screen with a refresh rate of up to 480 Hz. Here we take a deep interest in these new products by asking the right questions.

Alienware

Dell Alienware has announced the first laptops AMD Advantage. But what is it? Hidden behind this marketing term are laptops that contain all of AMD’s new products. For example, a dedicated Radeon RX 6850M XT GPU paired with a Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU. Alienware calls the first m17 R5 and the second x17 R2.

If you are wondering the difference between x17 and m17. As far as we know, the two PCs don’t share the same chassis or finishes. So the x-series is thinner, the m-series a bit cheaper, but with the same performance.

These two laptops come with several new features. The first is that they are labeled AMD Advantage. Secondly, you have the choice to buy them with a screen whose refresh rate goes up to 480Hz.

AMD advantage, what is it?

AMD Advantage is the marketing term meaning these laptops are designed in partnership with AMD, there are Ryzen 6000 CPUs and Radeon RX 6000 GPUs. There are different variants, but the latest goes to the Radeon RX 6850M XT (12GB GDDR6) as a dedicated GPU. This allows you to benefit from all AMD technologies including SmartShift Max, SmartAccess and FreeSync Premium.

m17R5 and x17R2-888
Alienware m17

In addition to SmartAccess storage, there is the SmartAccess graphics option. It is a component added to the motherboard, a MUX switch, whose objective is that the image calculated by the graphics card no longer passes through the processor’s iGPU to be displayed on the screen. Depending on the game, wins of around 15% can be achieved with this option. The SmartShift Eco ensures that the iGPU of the processor is switched directly in battery mode. According to Alienware, the m17 R5 offers up to 11 hours and 9 minutes of autonomy (Mobile Mark 2018) and up to 14 hours and 21 minutes of HD video.

In other words, AMD multiplies the functionalities and the optimizations possible by sharing its processors and its graphics cards.

m17 R5 and x17 R2–3
Alienware m17

Finally, among these big 17-inch laptops, the Alienware m17 R5 is sold with a new option: you can choose a Full HD screen with a refresh rate of up to 480 Hz.

What is 480 Hz used for?

For refresh rate, let’s go back to basics

The term ” refresh rate is used to describe how many times a screen refreshes in a second. It is measured in Hertz (Hz), most conventional screens have a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Models with higher refresh rates are becoming increasingly common on smartphones, TVs and PCs. Some manufacturers, like Apple, hide this number behind marketing terms such asfinancial supportUsed to describe the 120Hz screen of the iPad Pro or MacBook Pro 14 and 16.

In recent years, especially with the introduction of Nvidia RTX cards, the PS5 or the Xbox Series X, gaming at 120Hz and 144Hz has been in the spotlight. At the higher end there are 240Hz and 360Hz monitors, but we’re talking 480Hz here.

You should know that a monitor’s refresh rate is closely related to its frame rate (measured in frames per second, or FPS). If you’re playing a game at 120fps on a 60Hz monitor, your screen can only show you half of the frames your GPU is producing. For high frame rates to be worthwhile, you need a display that can keep up with your GPU. And vice versa. In short, Alienware and AMD tell us here that the CPU and GPU pair allows you to play in Full HD with very high frame rates. Sure, but what’s the point?

And 480Hz?

If your display has a refresh rate of 480Hz, the image refreshes 480 times per second. Combined with the high frame rates produced by the GPU and CPU working together, this can result in a smoother experience. Obviously the machine must be able to generate that many images for display.

We’re talking about a niche use case that requires a damn good system, including a high-end graphics card, the right content, and eyes sharp enough to take full advantage. Increasing the frequency with which an image refreshes has a significant impact on the smoothness of motion, but also improves clarity. The image becomes sharper and more visible the higher the refresh rate. It also reduces latency because there is less time between frames.

Another benefit of high refresh rate displays is that they generally have better response times, which means they can produce a sharper image with less ghosting behind fast-moving objects. In short, these are things that can dramatically improve the overall user experience. For e-sports games, this is an undeniable advantage. But do we see the difference between a 240 and 480 Hz screen?

refresh rate time between frames
60Hz 16.67ms
144Hz 6.94ms
240Hz 4.17ms
360Hz 2.78ms
480Hz 2.08ms

As shown in the table above, when you go from 60Hz to 144Hz, the time between each frame decreases significantly, reducing it by 9.73ms. However, that number drops to 2.77ms as you go from 144Hz to 240Hz, 1.39ms from 240Hz to 360Hz, and so on. There are diminishing returns here as you increase the frame rate.

While everyone perceives movement and latency differently, the vast majority of people will likely have trouble discerning a difference above 240Hz. Going higher doesn’t hurt performance, but for people who aren’t esports gamers, your money is definitely better spent on other features.

A race for Hertz who benefits whom?

We are certainly in a Hertz race now. Manufacturers would probably be better off really reserving that precious bandwidth for HDR and uncompressed data, rather than pushing Hertz past 240Hz.

As you can see, that 480Hz rate seems excessive, but these ultra-high refresh rate products are always in demand by competitive gamers. Therefore, releasing products like these is a way for brands to communicate by showing themselves at tournaments.

Rejoice anyway, advances in this area will also allow us the arrival of QHD and 4K displays with higher refresh rates. That’s great news for those who want high refresh rates and high display definitions at the same time.

AUO introduces 480 Hz display for monitors and laptops

Screen manufacturer AUO presented two screens with an exceptional refresh rate during Display Week: 480 Hz!
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