A few days ago, Google announced support for Steam on ChromeOS. It’s the most popular game distribution platform for PC games, and it’s now coming to ChromeOS devices, albeit in a beta form for now. In line with that announcement, Google appears to be working on adding support for variable refresh rates.
The folks over at About Chromebooks have discovered that the Dev Beta version of ChromeOS 101 brings support for variable refresh rate (Adaptive Sync) output. The feature is hidden behind a flag, and it can be enabled. Google’s wording for the feature makes us believe that it is only for external monitors and displays rather than for Chromebooks’ own display.
VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) has been supported by Macs and PCs for years. It allows changing the refresh rate of the monitor to match the frame rates offered by a computer so that there’s no screen tearing. The feature is extremely useful while gaming as frame rates can vary depending on the hardware, game, and scene. New-generation gaming consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series S/X) support the feature, too.
Support for VRR won’t mean much until Chromebooks get powerful hardware, though. So, until we see more powerful processors and probably discrete GPUs on Chromebooks, variable refresh rates won’t actually be much useful. Hopefully, we will see more powerful Chromebooks from Samsung using APUs (from AMD and Intel) and GPUs (from AMD and Nvidia) in the future.
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