AMD has released the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 driver
Over the past few years, AMD’s GPU drivers have transformed beyond recognition. The days of Catalyst are truly over, ushering in an era of Radeon Software and a new driver design philosophy that aims to deliver more features and improvementsÂ than ever before.Â Â
Today marks the release of Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition GPU driver, AMD’s latest “big update” to their Radeon Software stack, bringing with it a large number of new features and upgrades.Â
Since the release of AMD’s Radeon Software drivers, AMD has also been a huge supporter of open source software development, creating their GPUOpen program to allow developers to utilise and even suggest changes to AMD’s open source technologies, promoting a co-operative development ecosystem.Â
One of the biggest things to come out of GPU Open is Radeon ProRender, which is a GPU based rendering technology that is now present in AutoDesk, Solidworks and Blender, delivering the ability to accelerate a lot of workloads on these creation platforms.Â
Since 2014 AMD has delivered colossalÂ driver updates each year, with Adrenalin acting as one of AMD’s biggest updates to date, offering performance improvements, additional features and more. Now without further ado, let’s have a look at these new drivers!
Since the release of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition, AMD has delivered some significant performance boosts to their GPU hardware, especially in modern gaming titles.Â
AMD has compared their Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 16.12.1 driver to their new Radeon Software Adrenalin driver, revealing an average performance gain of 15% in AMD’s chosen titles. Sadly AMD offered no data to compare these results with each game’s day-1 driver, or Radeon Software 17.11.4, suggesting that these gains were achieved over 2017 rather than with Radeon Software Adrenaline Alone.
Since the release of Radeon Software 17.7.2 AMD has focused on reducing the latency of DirectX 11 titles, making games more responsive in a way that framerate analysis simply cannot measure.Â
This new driver offers further latency improvements to DirectX 11 titles, latencies that were already decreased by as much as 31% with Radeon Software 17.7.2. This decrease in latency will make games feel more responsive, allowing players to react faster and have a more enjoyable gaming experience.
Adrenalin also offers users of Radeon GPUs the ability to support Multi-GPU in a Borderless Windowed mode, which will allow the performance of Multi-GPU systems to be better utilised in modern games.Â
With Radeon, Software Adrenalin AMD has also added support for Vulkan in their Frame Rate Target Control feature, which will allow gamers to set a maximum framerate target to reduce power consumption and noise output while maintaining the user’s desired framerate.Â
With Radeon Software Adrenalin, AMD has also implemented a Compute Profile to deliver enhanced performance in specific workloads. This mode is particularly useful while miningÂ cryptocurrencies, allowing Radeon Hardware to offer an improved hashrate.Â
WATTMAN and Radeon Chill Improvements
After polling users of Radeon Software, AMD found that Radeon Chill was one of Radeon Software’s top features, sitting as the community’s third favourite feature.Â
Wattman is AMD’s GPU power management engine, which allows users to adjust GPU voltage, GPU/engine clock speeds, memory clock speeds and fan/temperature profiles. Adrenalin will now allow Radeon users to save and load custom profiles, allowing data to be shared online or simply saved outside of your system in preparation for a clean Windows install of hardware upgrade.Â
Radeon Chill is a new technology that was released with Radeon Software Relive in late 2016, aiming to decrease power consumption while having no impact on the user’s gameplay experience.Â
In basic terms, if you are standing still in a game Radeon chill will decrease your framerate to conserve power, but automaticallyÂ increase framerate back to normal when you begin moving again. During high frameratesÂ (above your display’s refresh rate) Radeon Chill will also regulate performance for reduced frame timesÂ and increased responsiveness.Â
For mobile Radeon users, this will increase a system battery life and desktop users can enjoy lower power draw from their GPUs and lower noise levels. The best thing about Radeon Chill is the fact that the technology is that users will not notice that it is turned on, offering some tangible benefits without real compromises.Â
With the release of Adrenalin AMD will be adding support for Chill to more games, with the graph below showcasing how much of an impact the feature can have on average GPU power consumption when using an RX Vega 64 GPU.Â
Enhanced Sync – Added support for Vulkan, GCN products and Multi-GPU
Enhanced Sync was introduced with Radeon Software 17.7.2, quickly becoming one of Radeon’s most popular Radeon Software features by offering a “best of both worlds” scenario that offers the low latency of V-Sync Off gaming while almost eliminating Screen tearingÂ like V-Sync.Â
With Adrenalin, AMD has now added support for this innovative feature to all GCN-based Radeon GPUs, as well as support for games that use the Vulkan API. This will allow this feature to be utilized by a larger number of Radeon users over a larger number of games, making this one of the most noteworthy upgrades that are included in Adrenalin for users of older Radeon hardware.Â Â
Enhanced sync runs at an unlocked frame framerate and effectively sits between VSync and FreeSync, working to minimise latency and decrease stuttering. This technology will not offer an experience that is as good as FreeSync, but it is a marked improvement when looking at the user’s gameplay experience.Â
Beyond that EnhancedÂ Sync will work with FreeSync when your display is working outside of its FreeSync range, allowing even FreeSync users to benefit from this technology. Please watch the video below toÂ see AMD’s own description of Enhanced Sync.Â
Radeon Relive – New Features for advanced steaming functions with a lower performance impact
With Radeon Software version 17.12.1, AMD is delivering some huge improvements to Radeon ReLive, allowing users to upload, edit and manage their recorded gameplay directly from AMD’s Radeon Software.Â
Users can even connect to their favouriteÂ streaming services using Radeon Software, allowing users to easily share, stream or upload their gameplay to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Weibo, Twitter and Youku.
With this new update, AMD has also allowed Radeon ReLive Streams to feature chat integration, allowing Steamers to easily keep track of their chat while gaming. This update comes as part of AMD’s new Radeon Overlay, which will be discussed in more depth soon.Â
Alongside feature set upgrades, AMD has also delivered some significant performance enhancements to their screen capture solution, offering a performance impact that can be up to 84% lower depending on the game that is being played. The test below was conducted at 1080p using an RX Vega 56.Â
With this release, AMD will also be offering Vulkan Support for Radeon ReLive, allowing more games to be streamed or recorded using Radeon ReLive. AMD has also added a borderlessÂ region capture support and multi-monitor streaming/capture support.Â
In addition to these changes, AMD has also added support for Transparent Webcam backgrounds when using RGB backgrounds (Like a Greed Screen), making streaming with Radeon Software seem a lot more professional than before. In addition to this Radeon ReLive now supports separate recording for in-game and mic audio, making the editing process a lot easier.Â
Introducing Radeon overlay
One of the most noteworthy upgrades to Radeon Software Adrenalin is the addition of AMD’s Radeon Overlay, which allows users to monitor the performance of their system, activate or deactivateÂ features like Enhanced Sync, framerate target control and FreeSync on the fly as well as update Radeon Chill and colour options/profiles in-game.Â
Most gamers will use this feature as a replacement for MSI afterburner/Rivatuner’s overlay capabilities, allowing users to see a FPS logo when playing their games or even log a game’s performance.Â
This overlay can also be used to control Radeon ReLive, makingÂ AMD’s recording solution a lot easier to use with support for DirectXÂ 9, 10, 11, 12 and Vulkan, allowing most modern games to support this feature.Â
AMD Link: Bringing AMD outside of your PC – A Radeon Mobile App?
With the release of Radeon Software Adrenalin, AMD will also be releasing their new AMD Link App for Android and iOS, offering users the ability to look at game performance analytics, GPU load, control Radeon ReLive from outside of your system.Â
WithinÂ this app, AMD will also be delivering users a news feed to keep them up to date with the latest AMD news and notify them about updates to Radeon Software.
This software gives AMD some unique capabilities when it comes to GPU performance monitoring, placing them ahead of Nvidia’s Geforce Experience in several regards, which combined with AMD’s Radeon overlay and updates to Radeon ReLive makes AMD GPUs look a lot more compellingÂ for certain use cases.Â Â
While some will see these features as a gimmick, others will look at these features with excitement and glee, especially those of us who enjoy our performance analysis tools.Â
There is a lot toÂ talk about here, so much so that it is hard to know where to begin when discussing Radeon Software Adrenaline. Performance-wise AMD has showcased a clear commitment to improving the performance of their products in modern gaming titles, though sadly this driver does not seem to be the “performance enhancing driver” that many have been hoping for.Â Â
We plan on conducting some of our own testing with this new driver to see if there are many performance benefits over Radeon Software 17.11.4, though it is unlikely that we will see night and day differences. Remember that the majority of the games AMD tested here were released after Radeon Software 16.12.1 and haveÂ receivedÂ their own optimisedÂ day-1/0 drivers, which means that these performance gains are unlikely toÂ beÂ purely from the upgrade to Adrenalin.Â
Even so, AMD has delivered a lot of features that will improve the gameplay experienceÂ of Radeon users, from further optimisationsÂ to game latency to the release of Enhanced Sync support for all GCN or newer Radeon GPUs with support for the Vulkan API.Â
When it comes to usability the addition of AMD’s Radeon OSD cannot be called anything but transformative, allowing Radeon users to edit or disable features like FreeSync, Enhanced Sync, Frame Rate Target Control and Radeon Chill, making these elements much more accessible to end users. On top of that Wattman profiles can no be saved and shared and features like FreeSync can be toggled on a game-by-game basis, promoting higher levels of customization than ever before.Â
The addition of Radeon Overlay support and AMD’s new Link App have delivered users a lot of attractive in-game performance analysis options than ever before, making existing tools like MSI Afterburner and Rivatuner almost unnecessary for Radeon owners. The release of Radeon Overlay has firmly placed AMD’s competitors in a position where they will need to catch up.Â Â
For newcomers to the streaming scene, Radeon Software Adrenaline can be seen as a godsend, offering enhanced capabilities, a smaller performance impact and integration with some of today’s most popular streaming services. These upgrades have made Radeon ReLive into an extremely attractive option for streaming hobbyists, especially if they don’t want to use utilities like XSplit or OBS.Â
The full release notes for Radeon Software Adrenaline version 17.12.1 can be viewed here alongside download links.