There’s no doubt that most the news circulating right now will pertain to AMD’s new driver update – and it’s an impressive update, one which we’ll discuss below, but we wanted to revive the “gaming” & “pro” mode discussion.
In speaking with AMD about its “Gaming” and “Pro” toggle switch in the Vega drivers – something we previously demonstrated to be a UI-only switch – we learned that the company intends to do something more meaningful going forward. As of now, the toggle is nothing more than a psychological switch, limiting its usefulness to removing the WattMan button from the UI – not all that useful, in other words. Functionally pointless for Vega: FE as it launched, and symptomatic of a driver package which was either woefully incomplete or intended to encourage a placebo effect.
Another day, another GPU driver update. This one comes from AMD, with Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition update version 17.5.2. The new version fixes several bugs and also improves Prey’s performance on the RX 580.
Bugfixes include a NieR: Automata crash, long Forza: Horizon 3 load times, an issue with CrossFire systems where the main display adapter could appear disabled in Radeon settings, and a system hang when entering sleep or hibernate with the RX 550.
Radeon Software Crimson Edition version 17.4.1 is now live. Along with some bug fixes, the bulk of this release is additional VR support.
AMD is making good on their promise to support asynchronous reprojection for both Oculus Rift and SteamVR. Oculus’ “Asynchronous Spacewarp” is now usable on R9 Fury, 290 and 390 series cards, while SteamVR’s “Asynchronous Reprojection” is usable on RX 480 and 470s with Windows 10.
The new drivers mostly prime the RX 400 series cards for the upcoming Mass Effect launch—most demonstrably the RX 480 8GB, of which AMD notes a 12% performance increase when compared to drivers 17.3.1. Additionally, the drivers will add an “AMD optimized” tessellation profile.
The GPU news is probably the most interesting. AMD looks to be positioning an "RX 470D," also called "RX 465" and "RX 470 SE," to compete more directly with the GTX 1050 Ti. Our GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti review noted that the 1050 gives the RX 460 a tough fight, but that the RX 470 handily outpaces the 1050 Ti in all tested scenarios. The only problem, as always, is the price gap -- it's a $30 jump from entry-level GTX 1050 Ti cards to the entry-level RX 470 cards. That's where the 470D is supposed to land, and should fight the 1050 Ti directly.
Video below for the news discussion, or find the script below that:
NVidia's most recent round of drivers exhibited a few issues for Windows 10 mail application users -- something we didn't see, since we don't use those apps on our test platform -- and for high-refresh display users. These bugs cropped-up around the time of the Battlefield 1 release drivers, but have largely been resolved in the last couple of hotfixes.
AMD's new driver package will push "very shortly," and may already be live, and will add day-one support for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, and post-launch improvements for Titanfall 2.
AMD users hoping to run COD: MW or COD: IW this weekend will want to update to 16.11.1 for optimum performance. Titanfall 2's updates are primarily built around new CrossFire profiles, which will improve performance for multi-GPU systems. The TF2 update also contains various bug fixes.
We've been working with AMD since our RX 480 & RX 470 reviews to troubleshoot some driver-related screen hangs. In our July notice, we strongly encouraged that our readers on RX 400 series cards avoid the 16.7.3 drivers, following instability and file corruption on one of our test benches. Since then, we've been in correspondence with AMD on the issue, and finally have some good news for folks who've encountered the green / black / blue / yellow screen hangs with AMD drivers.
We recently posted a news item discussing issues with AMD's 16.7.3 driver update, pushed live a few days ago. Among other problems – mostly instability, crashing, and screen flickering – owners of AMD RX 480 cards noticed a reduction in memory overclock potential on their video cards.
The maximum permissible memory overclock mysteriously changed from 2250MHz to 2050MHz with the new drivers. In our news post and accompanying video, we advised users wait to upgrade drivers (for a number of reasons), and also noted that this 200MHz limit reduction didn't really impact gaming performance in any meaningful way – just the “fun” of overclocking. And so the issue was minor in the face of the driver's more severe crashing/flickering issues, as we saw it, though we did seek an explanation from AMD as to the GPU memory overclock change.
We received a user report at 11:50AM EST on July 29 that the new AMD 16.7.3 drivers were limiting memory overclocks to 2050MHz, down from the original 2250MHz limit that we approached with our launch overclock. We spent the next several hours validating the new 16.7.3 drivers versus the previously certified 16.7.2 drivers, and reached-out to AMD via email for support.
During the ensuing tests – including some tests conducted after the below video was filmed – we discovered that the AMD 16.7.3 drivers cause blue screens as a secondary effect from hard crashes. As we state in the video, the overclock limitation on memory is not something to go “burn down the towers” over, as it seems likely a mistake, but we would strongly urge users to stay on 16.7.2 or roll-back if issues present themselves.
(Video pending upload)
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