Enthusiast-class graphics cards are by far the most thirsty component of a modern computer system. In laptops, it is common for the frame rate to decrease during battery operation, this is due to the graphics card having a restricted power budget, a not too elegant solution.
AMD is now working on the Dynamic Frame Rate Control (DFRC) function, the purpose of which is to save power by manually setting the frame rate. The function is not completely different from one of the many features in Nvidia Battery Boost, where it is possible to choose a frame rate according to your own preferences and weigh performance against battery time when playing on a laptop. The difference here is that the technology is also intended to be stationary.
Earlier this week I got to play with our new Dynamic Frame Rate Control in a (coming soon) version and Catalyst and it was awesome. Being able to limit your FPS to 60 FPS on a game where it doesn’t matter too much if you’re able to get 150 FPS. The power savings were mind blowing.
The marketing manager, Chris Hook, says that the improvements are very large in games that are otherwise run with a high frame rate, but the exact approach is not clear. One possibility is that AMD dynamically changes the clock frequencies to match the lower set FPS value, unlike V-sync where the graphics processor runs at its maximum clock frequency almost all the time.
AMD plans to release the DFRC in an update to the Catalyst driver “shortly”, but exactly when will not be announced.