For years, AMD has prioritized raw graphics processing horsepower over things like power efficiency and quieter operation. Then Nvidia's Maxwell architecture came along and proved that video cards could dominate the benchmarks while still sipping power. With the launch of the new Radeon Fury X and Radeon R300 series, AMD has responded to community criticism and competitive heat with Frame Rate Targeting Control, a meaningful feature that has a serious impact on daily gaming sessions.
Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC) is a new option in AMD's Catalyst Control Center that lets you set a maximum frame rate between 55 frames per second and 95 frames per second (fps) for the majority of DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 games. The message from AMD is that FRTC is a triple threat of benefits: You'll dramatically reduce your video card's power consumption, decrease fan noise, and lower the operating temps of your GPU.
Obviously we had to put those claims to the test.
Why AMD's Frame Rate Targeting Control exists
Wait, back up. Why on Gaben's green earth would we PC gamers--who are addicted to stunning eye candy and smooth-as-silk frame rates--want to limit our fps? Well, there are a ton of games out there that hit super-high frame rates on modern video cards. Your PC is effectively throwing them away and needlessly taxing your video card on three fronts: Power, noise, and temperature. This wasteful behavior prompted AMD to design FRTC.
Saving a few bucks on your power bill is likely lower on the priority list, but the dog days of summer and scorching GPU temperatures don't mix. Less heat on your card means less stress, and less stress means a longer, healthier lifespan for your hardware. Plus, a reduction in noise output from our video cards mean more immersion in our games.
The need for FRTC made itself abundantly clear when I booted up Civilization: Beyond Earth and noticed that literally thousands of frames were being wasted in the menus. Per second. Being a fairly lightweight game, my fps spiked north of 2000 inside the menus. I was reasonably startled when I discovered how much needless electricity that was consuming, and the difference it made to GPU temperature and overall noise.
Even during normal gameplay, though, the advent of AMD's FreeSync has reduced the need for insanely high frame rates. The bottom line: Constraining your frame rate often has a negligible impact on the overall gameplay experience, and as you'll see in a minute, the benefits to doing so might be worth pursuing.
Frame Rate Targeting Control tested
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