We just found that nVidia's latest 358.91 drivers are available already for Fallout 4, a title for which nVidia contributed some of its graphics technology (Volumetric Lighting, namely). The driver page isn't officially updated yet, so you won't find it through normal channels, but this link downloads the Windows 10 x64 driver, and this one is for the Windows 8.1/7 x64 drivers.

Our recent Fallout 4 benchmark used 358.85, which was an internal driver sent to media for early Fallout 4 benchmarking. We're told that 358.91 includes all of the “Game-Ready” performance optimizations for Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, and StarCraft II: LEgacy of the Void. The driver is an official, WHQL driver. Read more here.

Some of our previous AMD GPU reviews have concluded that the devices were hamstrung by AMD's ability to support the hardware through adequate drivers and software. Recent attempts made by the company seek to turn this around, AMD stating on a press call that it is “getting extremely serious about software.” Radeon Software is AMD's newest endeavor to enable its hardware through improved software support.

Catalyst Control Center is being retired and repackaged as “Radeon Software,” which features a new, minimalism-inspired interface with some improved profiling functionality. The newest Radeon Software suite is codenamed “Crimson,” a version identifier for this year's deployment. We're told that each major update – likely once a year – will rollover to a new shade of red for sub-versioning identifiers of “Radeon Software.”

A new GeForce Experience update sees the addition of 4K60 game streaming support, allowing nVidia users to remotely render game content at high native resolutions. Changes to the distribution approach to “Game-Ready” drivers – issued on launch day of popular betas and AAA titles – are also being made with the new GFE update, discussed below.

GeForce Experience is nVidia's software “ecosystem” that handles driver downloads, updates, game optimization, retroactive game capture (ShadowPlay), game streaming and sharing, and more. The service now claims a 65-million user install base, with nVidia noting that “90% or more” of its driver downloads are now distributed directly through the utility. NVidia's strategy is to unify its consumer base under a single application, with the current trajectory aiming to introduce news updates, contests, and giveaways through email newsletters. Long-standing GFE features, namely game optimization and driver notifications, remain a mainstay of the application, greatly aiding usability for gamers who don't necessarily check for drivers with each game release.

The newest AMD graphics drivers resolve a few media playback issues, an issue with Star Wars Battlefront, and improve performance for Ashes of Singularity Dx12 API usage. 

Star Wars: Battlefront now correctly allows AMD mobile GPUs to be utilized (rather than the IGP) when playing the game on portable devices. Ashes of Singularity sees resolution to the “A Driver has stopped responding” failure that has been spotted with Dx12 in use.

The latest AMD Catalyst driver resolves a memory leak issue found in AMD’s 15.9 update. Users who installed 15.9 during its brief availability should upgrade immediately to improve performance.

AMD’s new Catalyst 15.9 drivers added optimizations for Fable Legends and Star Wars Battlefront (the beta), with the 15.9.1 patch retaining these improvements alongside the memory leak resolution. CrossFire users should expect flickering in Battlefront for the time being; disabling CrossFire eliminates this issue.

Over 6 months ago, AMD released their Omega drivers with much fanfare. You can see our coverage of it here, along with some VSR vs. DSR benchmarks. The Omega drivers included new features, bugfixes, and optimizations.

Our R9 Fury X analysis is still forthcoming, but we interrupted other tests to quickly analyze driver performance between the pre-release press drivers and launch day consumer drivers.

All testing was conducted using a retail Fury X, as we were unable to obtain press sampling. This benchmark specifically tests performance of the R9 Fury X using the B8, B9, and release (15.15.1004) drivers against one another.

The purpose for this test is to demystify some rumors that the Fury X would exhibit improved performance with the launch day drivers (15.15.1004), with some speculation indicating that the press drivers were less performant.

 

While performing our updated Evolve benchmarks (beta graphics card benchmark here), we encountered a catastrophic driver failure explicitly when using the GTX 980.

In a bid to garner attention in the graphics market, AMD's Radeon graphics division has branded its newest Catalyst driver update simply as “Omega.” Unlike previous iterations, the new driver attaches a codename to symbolize the dramatic changes made to the underlying software. Catalyst Omega introduces direct competitors to NVIDIA technology (like DSR, seen here), offers greater Linux support, and hosts a suite of media playback smoothing options. We'll look into all of those here, along with some driver benchmarks.

Here's a quick overview, as provided by AMD (note that AMD's numbers differ from our benchmark numbers, shown and explained further below):

NVidia debuted its Fraps-like ShadowPlay video capture technology alongside the GTX 780 almost a year ago, further announcing updates to enable desktop and Java application support in April, 2014. ShadowPlay comes packaged with a suite of nVidia software (GeForce Experience), a bundle that attempts to add extra weight to purchasing decisions when considering AMD's oft-affordable alternatives. AMD has made similar moves with Mantle and game optimization, though hasn't yet moved into the gameplay capture space. Until now.

amd-gvr-1

AMD has included Raptr's "Gaming Evolved" application in its recent driver install packages as an optional add-on. The two companies announced today their "Game Video Recorder," or "GVR," in direct competition to nVidia's ShadowPlay. The GVR shares some similarities to ShadowPlay in its processing, which we'll discuss before getting into AMD specifics.

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