Variable Refresh Rate or VRR might sound like the sort of thing that once put you to sleep in the middle of a science class, but it’s actually a rather important feature that promises to make games run smoother than ever — and Sony’s rolling it out to PlayStation 5 consoles in an update this week.
Already enjoyed by PC, Xbox Series S and Series X gamers, VRR is a feature that eliminates screen tearing — a rather nasty visual glitch which sees your in-game image “tear” while you’re moving around, with a jarring effect that sees the top and bottom halves of the screens shift out of sync.
The problem arises when your TV or monitor’s refresh rate (namely, how many times the image is refreshed per second), is out of sync with your PC or console. As screens refresh their screens from the top down, any discrepancies between your console and TV result in the dreaded tearing effect, ruining the immersive gaming experience we all crave.
Enter VRR. It forces the screen and console refresh rates to match up, supporting resolutions up to 4K and frame rates up to 120fps — the current max limit for consoles and TVs. You’ll only be able to take advantage of this if you’re rocking a TV or monitor with HDMI 2.1, mind. If you’ve got an HDMI 2.0 screen then you’ll be capped at a 60Hz refresh rate, but at least you won’t be subject to any pesky tearing.
It’s also worth pointing out that having a TV with an HDMI 2.1 port doesn’t necessarily guarantee that VRR is supported (hooray for convoluted standards), so it’s worth double checking with the manufacturer to see if you can take advantage of VRR. Popular TVs that do support VRR include the LG OLED CX/GX/BX range, Samsung’s Q90T/Q95TQ/Q80T, the Sony OLED A8, and Panasonic’s HZ2000 and HZ1000.
As for the supported games, the PS5 versions of the titles below will receive patches to support VRR:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Destiny 2
- Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
- DIRT 5
- Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Resident Evil Village
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- Tribes of Midgard
Other games will need to be patched accordingly, and we expect the list of supported games to grow over time. Keep an eye on your PS5 to see when the update comes through, and happy (smoother) gaming.