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Dell XPS 13 (9300) Review : Incredible Ultra-Light Laptop!

Dell XPS 13 (9300) Review : Incredible Ultra-Light Laptop!

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) features the first-ever InfinityEdge display with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

Find out why we think it’s an incredible ultra-light laptop worthy of our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Featuring The InfinityEdge Display

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) continues the evolution of the XPS 13 line, with an ultra-light chassis built from machined aluminium and woven glass fibre, with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

With the first-ever InfinityEdge display, the XPS 13 (9300) offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor, that fits neatly on an airplane’s seat tray.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Colour Options

Our unit comes in the Frost White colour with an Arctic White woven glass fibre palm rest.

Dell also offers the Platinum Silver colour option, with a Black carbon fiber palm rest.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Specifications + Options

Specifications XPS 13 9300
Display Size 13.4-inch
Display Options 4K touch screen (3840 x 2400)
Full HD touch screen (1920 x 1200)
Full HD non-touch (1920 x 1200)
Display Features WLED backlight
60 Hz refresh rate
500 nits max. brightness
35 ms response time
1200:1 contrast ratio
Colour Gamut 4K : 90% DCI-P3
Full HD : 100% sRGB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home
CPU + GPU Options Intel Core i7-1065G7 + Iris Plus Graphics
Intel Core i5-1035G1 + UHD Graphics
Intel Core i3-1005G1 + UHD Graphics
Memory Options LPDDR4X-3733 (8 / 16 / 32 GB)
LPDDR4-3733 (4 GB)
Storage Options PCIe NVMe SSD (512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB)
Audio Realtek ALC3281-CG audio chip
2 x 2.5 watt speakers
Dual microphone array
3.5 mm audio jack
Wireless Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.1
External Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) ports
– with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
1 x 3.5 mm audio port
1 x microSD card slot
Camera HD webcam
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, capacitive 500 dpi sensor
Keyboard Backlit keyboard
19.05 x 18.05 mm key pitch
Touchpad 1300 x 722 pixel resolution
Battery 4-cell 52 Whr lithium-ion battery
Charger 45 watt USB Type C charger
Dimensions 296 mm wide
199 mm deep
14.8 mm thick
Weight 1.27 kg (touch screen)
1.20 kg (non-touch)

 

Unboxing The Dell XPS 13 (9300) Laptop

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes in a premium white cardboard box. Once you fully unbox it, you will find these items :

  • Dell XPS 13 (9300) laptop
  • Dell USB Type C to USB Type A dongle
  • 45 watt charger with integrated USB Type C cable
  • Power cord with localised plug
  • XPS 13 9300 Quick Start Guide + Safety and Regulatory Information

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Hands-On Experience!

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an eminently thin and light laptop. It offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor that weighs only 1.27 kg, and is less than 15 mm thick.

It easily fits into the smallest laptop bag, and even a large handbag. And when you can fly again, you will love how it fits onto the airplane’s seat tray!

Once you try it out, you will find it hard to go back to regular laptops – you will find them heavy and unwieldy!

Next Page > Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

13.4-inch Display In 11-Inch Form Factor

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) model comes with a 4K UHD+ touch display, with a resolution of 3840 x 2400 pixel, a colour gamut of 90% DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR 400 certification.

The incredibly high resolution and wide colour gamut allow your high resolution photos and HDR content to really pop.

Dell also offers a Full HD+ display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and 100% sRGB colour gamut; in both touch and non-touch options.

All three display options are 25% brighter at 500 nits, and are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6 against scratches and impact.

Cameras + Security

The thin bezel at the top conceals two cameras – a regular 720p webcam, and an infra-red camera for facial recognition.

So you can either unlock the XPS 13 using the IR camera and Windows Hello, or the fingerprint sensor, which integrated into the power button.

While its 720p webcam may be rather low in resolution, it uses a new 4-element lens for sharper image quality. It also supports temporal noise reduction to improve video quality in low-light conditions.

We hope that Dell would look at upgrading it to a 1080p camera, with a physical or electronics privacy shutter.

Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the Intel Core i7-1065G7 – a 4-core, 8-thread processor with 8 MB of cache and built-in Iris Plus Graphics.

You can opt for a Core i5-1035G1 or the Core i3-1005G1, both of which come with integrated UHD Graphics.

A redesigned cooler keeps things cool, using a single heat pipe and evaporator design with dual condensers and GORE thermal insulation. The hot air is exhausted through the hinge at the back.

It can get a little toasty from the hot exhaust when you use it on your lap, especially if you’re doing compute-intensive tasks like rendering videos.

It also comes with 16 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4X memory running at 3733 MHz. The memory is soldered onto the motherboard and cannot be upgraded.

Our unit came with a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD, but you can opt for a smaller 512 GB SSD, or a larger 2 TB SSD.

Ports

Due to its ultra-slim profile – 14.8 mm at its thickest point, the XPS 13 has very limited ports.

On the left side, you will find a microSD card reader; as well as a single Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output

On the right side, you will find a 3.5 mm microphone and headphone combo port, with a second Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which also supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output.

You can plug the USB Type C charging cable into either Thunderbolt 3 port. But unless you are using it on-the-go, you really only have one free port to use.

The good news is Dell actually bundles the XPS 13 (9300) with a free USB Type C to USB Type A dongle, so you can use your USB Type A drives and devices (including cables) with it.

Keyboard + Touchpad

The Dell XPS (9300) comes an edge-to-edge keyboard, and a 17% larger touchpad for maximum working comfort.  The keyboard is backlit, and comes with larger key caps!

It definitely offers a far superior typing experience to the horrible butterfly switch keyboard used in Apple MacBook Pro laptops.

Connectivity

Our XPS 13 (9300) comes with the Killer AX1650 module, which offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with 2×2 antennas, and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.

It is much too thin to support a LAN port, but you can add LAN connectivity using a USB-C dongle.

Audio

The two long stripes on both sides of the XPS 13 are not cooling vents, but ports for its 2.5 watt stereo speakers, which are tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro.

Its 3.5 mm microphone / headphone combo jack is also optimised with the 360-degree Waves NX 3D virtual surround sound with head tracking.

Finally, its dual microphone array is powered by Waves MaxxVoice Pro, which supports VOIP and is Cortana Farfield-capable.

Next Page > XPS 13 (9300) Performance, Verdict + Award 

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the 15-watt Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) with 4 cores and 8 threads, and Iris Plus Graphics with 64 Execution Units.

It comes with 8 MB of cache, and has a 1.3 GHz base frequency that ramps up to 3.5 GHz during intensive tasks.

Our review sample came with 16 GB LPDDR4X-3733 dual-channel memory, and a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD.

Work Performance : PCMark 10

The Intel Core i7-1065G7 is a 25 watt processor that can be configured to run at a lower TDP of 15 watt – to improve battery life and reduce thermal output.

At the full 25 watt TDP, it should deliver PCMark 10 scores in excess of 4700. It is obvious now that Dell configured it for the cooler 15 watt TDP. This is why benchmarks are important.

This makes the Dell XPS 13 (9300) about 7.6% slower than the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, which uses the Intel Core i7-10510U processor.

Gaming Performance : 3DMark Time Spy

The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics sounds powerful on paper – with 64 Execution Units – but it is only about as fast as the NVIDIA GeForce MX130 / GeForce 940MX.

So this is most definitely NOT a gaming laptop, although you should have no problem playing older games and games that are not 3D graphics-intensive like DOTA 2.

Battery Life : YouTube + Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes with a 4-cell smart lithium-ion battery that is rated for 52 Whr.

Dell claims a battery life of up to 18 hours and 49 minutes with the Full HD+ display, and up to 12 hours and 13 minutes with the 4K UHD+ display.

In our general use, we have no problem working a full day on it without recharging, which makes it really convenient when travelling.

That said, we locked the brightness at 50% – higher than the average of 40% – to see how it performs in these worst-case scenarios :

YouTube Streaming

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 8 hours 15 minutes streaming YouTube videos in theatre mode using WiFi, before its battery dropped to 10%.

PCMark 10 : Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 6 hours 36 minutes before it powered off while running the Modern Office benchmark.

Battery : Recharging Speed

Its 65 watt fast charger took about 52.5 minutes to hit the mid-point (55%), but 2 hours 23.5 minutes to fully recharge its battery from 10%.

Here are the times it takes to recharge from 10% :

  • 15% – 5 minutes 57 seconds
  • 20% – 11 minutes 53 seconds
  • 25% – 17 minutes 45 seconds
  • 30% – 23 minutes 22 seconds
  • 35% – 29 minutes 25 seconds
  • 40% – 35 minutes 8 seconds
  • 45% – 41 minutes 22 seconds
  • 50% – 46 minutes 56 seconds
  • 55% – 52 minutes 39 seconds
  • 60% – 58 minutes 27 seconds
  • 65% – 64 minutes 13 seconds
  • 70% – 70 minutes 15 seconds
  • 75% – 76 minutes
  • 80% – 81 minutes 58 seconds
  • 85% – 89 minutes 41 seconds
  • 90% – 100 minutes 50 seconds
  • 95% – 118 minutes 45 seconds
  • 100% – 143 minutes 20 seconds

This gives it a battery life : recharging time ratio of 3.45 : 1 for video streaming, and 2.76 : 1 for office work.

As a rule of thumb, you will need to recharge its battery about 22 minutes for every hour of battery life.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Verdict + Award

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) is a really great ultra-light laptop for people who are always on-the-go.

It packs serious processing power, memory and a huge SSD with the latest wireless connectivity built-in, in a very thin and light package.

It is less than 15 mm at its thickest point, and weighs less than 1.3 kg. But this is something you have to hold in your hand to actually get a feel of how much engineering went into the XPS 13.

Even the latest 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro, powered by the new Apple M1 SoC, is largerthicker at 15.6 mm and weighs more at 1.4 kg!

The extremely thin profile offers some challenges to first time users – limited physical ports. Yet the XPS 13 (9300) managed to squeeze in an extra microSD card reader over the new 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1).

Even so, you will have to live with just two USB Type C ports – one of which is not available when you recharge its battery. Fortunately, the XPS 13 (9300) comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connectivity.

Thankfully, Dell threw in a free USB-C to USB-A dongle, so at least you have ready access to your USB Type A drives and devices out-of-the-box.

Security-conscious users will love the fingerprint sensor and IR camera, which allows for easy and secure logins. However, the webcam lacks a physical shutter, and the lid clearance is too tight to safely use a third-party shutter.

As far as battery life is concerned, the XPS 13 (9300) will last more than full day’s work without recharging. After a while, you will get used to leaving the office without the charger!

All-in-all, the Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an engineering marvel that must be experienced to truly understand. If you want the very best Windows 10 ultra-light laptop money can buy, this should be right at the top of the list.

That is why we wholeheartedly award it our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Dell for sending us this review unit, and making us part of the #DellInsideCircle

 

Recommended Reading

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Acer Predator XB253Q GZ : 240Hz HDR Gaming Monitor!

The Acer Predator XB253Q GZ is a smaller variant of the XB273U GX, offering HDR gaming with a 240 Hz refresh rate!

Let’s dive into its key features and specifications, as well as its price and availability!

 

Acer Predator XB253Q GZ : 240Hz HDR Gaming Monitor!

The Acer Predator XB253Q GZ is a 24.5-inch gaming monitor, with an IPS panel that is VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified.

It can drive a QHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at up to 240 Hz, and supports the NVIDIA G-SYNC adaptive sync technology.

On top of that, it has a wide colour gamut of 99% sRGB, with an ACM contrast ratio of 100 million to 1. It also comes with these two new features :

  • RGB LightSense lets you choose a variety of lighting effects, including colour, speed, duration and brightness, that can react to gameplay, music or video
  • AdaptiveLight automatically adjusts the display backlights to match the ambient light in the room.

Unlike the larger Predator XB273U GX, it doesn’t come with speakers built-in, but you can opt for two 2W speakers.

 

Acer Predator XB253Q GZ : Specifications

To make it easy for you to compare between this 24.5-inch monitor, and its 27-inch cousin, we compare both models in this table.

Recommended : Acer Predator XB273U GX : 240Hz HDR Gaming Monitor!

Specifications Acer Predator
XB273U GX
Acer Predator
XB253Q GZ
Display Size 27-inch 24.5-inch
Display Resolution 2560 x 1440 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
Refresh Rate 240 Hz (maximum)
Panel Type IPS
Adaptive Sync Yes, NVIDIA G-SYNC
Response Time 1 ms (Grey to Grey)
Contrast Ratio 100 Million : 1
Brightness 400 nits (HDR400 mode) 400 nits (Native)
Viewing Angle 178° (vertical and horizontal)
Colours Range 16.7 Million
Colour Gamut 99% Adobe RGB 99% sRGB
Speakers 2 x 2W speakers 2 x 2 W speakers (optional)
Ports 2 x HDMI 2.0
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
4 x USB 3.0
1 x USB-C (power)
1 x headphone out
2 x HDMI 2.0
1 x DisplayPort 1.2a
2 x USB 3.0
1 x headphone out
Adjustments Height : TBA
Tilt : -5° to +25°
Swivel : -30° to +30°
Pivot : TBA
Height : TBA
Tilt : -5° to +25°
Swivel : -20° to +20°
Pivot : TBA

 

Acer Predator XB253Q GZ : Price + Availability

The Acer Predator XB253Q GZ is slated to be available in these regions :

  • North America : $429.99 (September 2020)
  • EMEA : EUR 439 (August 2020)
  • China : RMB 2,999 (July 2020)

We will update this article when we know more.

 

Recommended Reading

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BenQ SW271 & SW320 Photographer Monitors Revealed!

March 30, 2018 – BenQ today announced the BenQ SW271 and BenQ SW320 photographer monitors. Read all about these new BenQ monitors that are designed for professional photographers!

 

The BenQ SW271 & SW320 Photographer Monitors

The BenQ SW271 (Price Check) and SW320 (Price Check) are 27-inch and 31.5-inch 4K displays with class-leading colour performance and High Dynamic Range (HDR) capability.

They have a wide colour gamut which covers 99% of Adobe RGB and 100% of sRGB, Rec. 709, and the digital cinema industry’s DCI-P3 colour space. The SW320’s true 10-bit IPS panel and advanced 14-bit lookup table (LUT) deliver spectacular colour quality with precise ≤2 Delta E values.

Augmenting its impressive 27-inch & 31.5-inch IPS panel with 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 resolution and 178˚ H/V viewing angles with the following features state-of-the-art colour technologies:

99% Adobe RGB Colour Gamut and Technicolor Color Certification

The BenQ SW271 (Price Check) and SW320 (Price Check) deliver an ultra-wide colour gamut to reach 99% of Adobe RGB, a significantly larger colour space than sRGB and Rec. 709. It also supports DCI-P3 as well as 100% of sRGB and Rec. 709, which are both certified by Technicolor.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support

Increasing the dynamic range between black and white for naturally realistic images, the BenQ SW271 (Price Check) and SW320 (Price Check) support HDR signals through both HDMI and DisplayPort inputs.

True 10-Bit Colour Depth, 14-Bit 3D LUT, ΔE ≤ 2

The monitors produce over a billion colours for ultra-smooth gradations. The 14-bit colour lookup table guarantees absolute colour accuracy as defined by the Comission Internationale de l’Eclairge’s (CIE). Its Delta E deviation of less than 2, which designates the finest colour fidelity, exceeds the limits of human vision.

Palette Master Element Colour Calibration

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The BenQ SW271 (Price Check) and SW320 (Price Check) can be hardware calibrated with colorimeter and Palette Master Element calibration software for professional work.

Brightness Uniformity Function

For an authentic and consistent viewing experience, the BenQ SW271 & SW320 achieves brightness uniformity across the entire screen via a meticulous fine-tuning process of hundreds of sub-regions with high-precision apparatus.

GamutDuo and Advanced Black and White Modes

GamutDuo Mode allows simultaneous side-by-side display of content in two different colour spaces, such as Adobe RGB and sRGB. Photos taken can also be viewed in a black and white film effect, with three presets for photo previews prior to post-processing adjustments.

Hotkey Puck and Pro Shading Hood

The unique “Hotkey Puck” remote control enables instant switching between colour modes and image settings, and the included detachable shading hood works in both portrait and landscape orientations to block ambient light and glare for superb colour accuracy.

Connectivity Options

Finished in a minimalist bezel and adjustable stand design engineered to reduce reflection, the BenQ SW271 (Price Check) and SW320 (Price Check) each provides comprehensive connectivity, including a media card reader, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0a, and DisplayPort / miniDisplayPort 1.4 supporting Mac Thunderbolt output.

 

BenQ SW271 & SW320 Purchase Links

Here are the BehQ SW271 and BenQ SW320 purchase links :

  • BenQ SW271 (27″, 4K HDR, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB) : US$ 1,099
  • BenQ SW320 (31.5″, 4K HDR, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB) : US$ 1,499

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The Samsung CJ791 – First Thunderbolt 3 QLED Curved Monitor!

At CES 2018, Samsung Electronics just expanded their signature curved display line-up with the new Samsung CJ791 monitor – the first QLED curved monitor to feature Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 connectivity! Let’s take a look at its key features!

 

The Samsung CJ791 Thunderbolt 3 QLED Curved Monitor

Through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, users can link and dock their monitor and laptop without extensive wiring. The Thunderbolt 3 connection provides processing speeds of up to 40 Gigabits per second (Gbps). The Thunderbolt 3 interface also provides up to 85 watts of laptop charging power.

Ultra-Wide QHD Display

The Samsung CJ791 features a ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio, with a QHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels. All that is ensconced within a slim and narrow bezel design, that easily accommodates multi-display setups. Thanks to its height-adjustable tilt-capable stand, you can easily adjust the display for the best viewing experience.

Brilliant Display

The Samsung CJ791 features the latest Samsung QLED technology. It delivers a wide colour gamut – 125% of sRGB, which is great for those who work on graphics or videos.

1500R Curvature

The Samsung CJ791 has the industry’s sharpest 1500R curvature. Coupled with the wide 178-degree viewing angle, it delivers a more immersive experience to the user.

Game On!

It’s not all work and no play with the Samsung CJ791. It boasts a fast 4 ms response time, so you can game without distracting visual artifacts. It also comes with a Game Mode that dynamically adjusts gamma setting on-the-fly to optimise the colour and contrast of each frame.

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The Radeon FreeSync 2 HDR Gaming Tech Report

We were fortunate to be amongst the few invited to the AMD Tech Summit held in Sonoma, California from December 7-9, 2016. Today, we are finally allowed to reveal the third major technology update from the AMD Tech Summit – Radeon FreeSync 2. AMD also revealed a major feature upgrade to the current FreeSync technology. Get the full details below!

Updated @ 2017-02-06 : Added the AMD Radeon FreeSync 2 Tech Briefing video.

Originally posted @ 2017-01-03

Don’t forget to catch our follow-up article – The AMD FreeSync 2 Q&A With David Glen & Syed Hussain!

 

Fullscreen Borderless Windowed Mode Is Here!

AMD fans who have been clamouring for FreeSync to work in windowed mode will be ecstatic to learn that their request has been heard and answered. FreeSync will now work in the fullscreen borderless windowed mode!

So watch out for a driver update to start playing your games in the fullscreen borderless windowed mode very soon!

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HDR Gaming

The big story though is Radeon FreeSync 2 and the next killer feature it enables – HDR gaming.

Current monitors are mostly built around the sRGB colour space, which limits the richness and vibrancy of the scene. Colours look dull and washed out, and details are lost in the shadows and highlights.

New HDR transport technologies like HDR10 and Dolby Vision aim to solve this limitation, offering 8X or better perceivable range of the sRGB colour space. They also make much better use of the display’s maximum brightness levels, which are left unused in sRGB mode.

There is a problem with both HDR10 and Dolby Vision though – they are not optimised for gaming. The tone mapping performed by these displays has a long input lag.

This input lag is not a problem for cinematic movies or video clips that render at 24 to 30 fps. However, it will be a problem for gamers who want high frame rates of 60 fps or better. AMD attempts to address both problems through Radeon FreeSync 2.

Next Page > Introducing Radeon FreeSync 2, Radeon FreeSync 2 Tech Briefing and Demo Videos

 

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Introducing Radeon FreeSync 2

Optimised for HDR gaming, Radeon FreeSync 2 is a compromise between the wider colour gamut of HDR10 / Dolby Vision, and the low input lag of sRGB.

It offers a limited HDR colour gamut that is over 2X the perceivable brightness and colour volume of sRGB. The FreeSync 2 game can then tone-map to the display’s native colour space. This allows the monitor to skip the tone mapping step, which greatly reduces the input lag.

For this to work, both the monitor and the game must support FreeSync 2. Here are some characteristics of a FreeSync 2 monitor :

  • Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) is mandatory
  • Low Latency is mandatory
  • The monitor will provide its native characteristics to the game through the FreeSync 2 Transport

For game support, AMD will provide a FreeSync 2 API that will :

  • support the FP16, 2-10-10-10 colour buffer formats
  • automatically switch between sRGB and FreeSync 2 native modes (when a FreeSync 2 game loads)

All AMD Radeon GPUs will support FreeSync 2 via a new driver. However, it won’t be in the recently launched Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition.

 

When Will FreeSync 2 Be Available?

AMD will launch Radeon FreeSync 2 in 2017. They are aiming to get it out by the first half of 2017, but there is no firm date yet.

 

Will FreeSync 2 Replace FreeSync?

No, Radeon FreeSync 2 will exist in parallel with FreeSync. FreeSync 2 will merely be a higher standard that offers HDR gaming, on top of stutter- and tear-free gaming.

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The Radeon FreeSync 2 Tech Briefing

AMD Senior Fellow David Glen is the man in charge of the Radeon FreeSync 2. This was his full presentation on Radeon FreeSync 2 at the AMD Tech Summit. Enjoy!

 Don’t forget to catch our follow-up article – The AMD FreeSync 2 Q&A With David Glen & Syed Hussain!

 

The FreeSync 2 HDR Gaming & Video Demos

AMD also showed off some HDR gaming and HDR video demos at the AMD Tech Summit. Check them out below :

Next Page > The Complete Radeon FreeSync 2 Presentation

 

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The Complete Radeon FreeSync 2 Presentation

If you have not had enough, here are David Glen’s Radeon FreeSync 2 presentation slides for your perusal.

Don’t forget to catch our follow-up article – The AMD FreeSync 2 Q&A With David Glen & Syed Hussain!

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