AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 Released

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2016 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, graphics drivers, vulkan, dx12, DirectX 12

New graphics drivers from AMD have just been published, and it's a fairly big release. First, Catalyst 16.3 adds Vulkan support to main-branch drivers, which they claim is conformant to the 1.0 specification. The Khronos Group website still doesn't list AMD as conforming, but I assume that they will be added shortly (rather than some semantic “conformant” “fully conformant” thing going on). This is great for the platform, as we are still in the launch window of DirectX 12.

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Performance has apparently increased as well, significantly. This is especially true in the DirectX 12 title, Gears of War Ultimate Edition. AMD claims that FuryX will see up to a 60% increase in that title, and the R9 380 will gain up to 44%. It's unclear how much that is in real world performance, especially in terms of stutter and jank, which apparently plagues that game.

The driver also has a few other interesting features. One that I don't quite understand is “Power Efficiency Toggle”. This supposedly “allows the user to disable some power efficiency optimizations”. I would assume that means keeping you GPU up-clocked under certain conditions, but I don't believe that was much of an issue for the last few generations. That said, the resolved issues section claims that some games were choppy because of core clock fluctuation, and lists this option as the solution, so maybe it was. It is only available on “select” Radeon 300 GPUs and Fury X. That is, Fury X specifically, not the regular Fury or the Nano. I expect Ryan will be playing around with it in the next little while.

Last of the main features, the driver adds support for XConnect, which is AMD's new external graphics standard. It requires a BIOS that support external GPUs, which AMD lists the Razer Blade Stealth as. Also noteworthy, Eyefinity can now be enabled with just two displays, and Display Scaling can be set per-game. I avoid manually controlling drivers, even my Wacom tablet, to target specific applications, but that's probably great for those who do.

As a final note: the Ashes of the Singularity 2.0 benchmark now supports DirectFlip.

If you have a recent AMD GPU, grab the drivers from AMD's website.

Source: AMD

March 9, 2016 | 08:41 PM - Posted by Evo01

My fury X would not run at max clock when gaming. I had to download an app that would trick it to max out.

March 9, 2016 | 09:03 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Is this common? I only have a GTX 670.

March 9, 2016 | 10:02 PM - Posted by Speely

Did/do you have Frame Rate Targeting Control turned on? That's what FRTC does - it rapidly changes clockspeeds in order to maintain a maximum FPS.

March 10, 2016 | 05:17 AM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

Nice, it is important to have finally the support for Vulkan. We still need to wait a little to support on Linux.

Alex Deucher (AMD): "The Vulkan driver is working fine on Linux. As we've said before, we have internal validation cycles related to releases and the Linux one did not line up with the Vulkan announcement. As to why it's closed source initially, the Vulkan driver is shared across OSes." - source

AMD posted quite interesting article about using Vulkan Validation Layers.

March 10, 2016 | 01:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Waiting for proper AMD-drivers to show up on Linux? Good luck with that.. Next big Ubuntu LTS launch is closing in fast. I don't have high expectations for AMD to deliver anything good to that platform. As usual, it's too late and not nearly enough... But that's the AMD way I guess.

March 10, 2016 | 08:32 AM - Posted by willmore

It requires a BIOS that support external GPUs, which AMD lists the Razer Blade Stealth as.

Did you mean to put a hanging preposition at the end of an active phrase?

March 10, 2016 | 11:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

XConnect is only supported on windows 10, and only on certian hardware.

"Along with today’s formal unveiling of the technology, AMD is also laying out the technical requirements for supporting XConnect. Not just any laptop/desktop with Thunderbolt 3 can support an external GPU, as there are specific hardware and software requirements, which is why the Blade Stealth is the first qualified laptop. In particular, laptops need to support what is being called the Thunderbolt 3 external graphics standard, or eGFX for short. The eGFX standard in turn requires that vendors implement the necessary extensions for external graphics into their BIOS, including functionality necessary to support plug ‘n play operation. Also required is v.16 (or later) of the Thunderbolt firmware, Windows 10, and an active (not passive) Thunderbolt cable for bandwidth reasons."(1)

If AMD ties all their new features to windows 10, and ignores Linux, and window's 7, 8.1 then I fear that AMD may not make it in the consumer market, here is hoping that AMD can get some revenues from the server market once again, because many are staying on windows 7, 8.1, and some are growing inpatient for AMD to get its Linux/Steam OS ducks in order!


March 10, 2016 | 11:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Am I the only one that wants to see TB3 on regular form factor laptops that have this support! I getting tired of even the gaming laptop OEMs becoming too focused on the Ultrabooks/thin and light form factor trash! If it's power savings that the OEMs want then just provide the ability for the USER to set the thermal/other laptop profiles for longer battery life, but don’t relegate the users to only having an Ultrabook/Thin and light existence wedded to an under-cooled and thermally constrained Ultrabook/Thin and light form-factor laptop.

College Students living in dorms will love this ability, and desktop GPUs are have a much better Price/performance ratio than the overpriced Mobile GPUs. Ultrabook/Thin and light laptops are not worth their high price points, and I would rather that the laptop be a little thicker with a better cooling solution anyways, as even the CPUs in the ultrabooks are gimped down a little too much with very little ability to drive gaming in the first place, external desktop class GPU or not!

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