AMD just released its Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.8.1 drivers, the 12th major release of the year — you can download them from AMD's drivers page (opens in new tab). Getting the most out of the best graphics cards requires up-to-date drivers, and while the past few months have been somewhat quieter than normal, things will likely start to pick up as we head into fall.
The big news for 20.8.1 is that they're game-ready for Horizon Zero Dawn, Hyper Scape and Grounded. We haven't had a chance to test performance with any of those games, but AMD's release notes (opens in new tab) claim that Grounded performs up to 9% better on an RX 5700 XT when using the Epic preset.
We're actually more interested in Horizon Zero Dawn, as there have been a few reports of spotty performance on the pre-release code. New drivers and a game patch will hopefully address those concerns before the official launch on August 7.
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the first DirectX 12 Ultimate games as well, and it requires DX12 — no DX11 here, folks. So if you're hanging on to a Radeon HD 6000 or earlier GPU, I guess you're out of luck (and I feel sorry for you). You'll also need Windows 10 64-bit.
The game uses the same engine as the recent Death Stranding port, so you might think it should run similarly, but the engine is only part of the equation. Level design and optimizations still make a difference, and there's a different team behind this port as well. We'll look to do some testing later this week once the game is officially out.
If you're having performance issues with any game, we also recommend doing a clean driver installation as a first item of troubleshooting.
Meanwhile, we're all still waiting for AMD's Big Navi to drop, with current rumors suggesting an October 7 reveal. Take that with a grain of salt though, along with potential performance targets of double the RX 5700 XT — we can only hope.
Fixes and Known Issues
The 20.8.1 drivers also fix a few problems, as per AMD:
- "With Radeon FreeSync enabled, task switching to another display or application may intermittently cause the desktop refresh rate to be locked to an arbitrary interval causing stuttering.
- Streaming and recording features are not working or are failing to enable on Radeon RX 5000 series graphics products in Windows 7 system configurations.
- Radeon Software may experience an application crash or hang when waking from sleep after joining the AMD User Experience program.
- DOOM™ Eternal may experience a very dark or dim screen when changing V-Sync settings in game with HDR enabled.
- Hot plugging a powered off HDMI display and then powering on the display, may intermittently cause a system crash or hang.
- Enabling Instant Replay may rarely cause a system hang or TDR on Radeon RX 5000 series graphics products.
- Compatibility Advisor may show an 'Unable to get requirements' error message when opened. Users will need to perform a factory reset of settings in Radeon Software for this fix to take effect."
AMD encourages users to submit bugs via the newly integrated Bug Reporting Tool if they experience any black screen or system lock problems. That's after rebooting, of course, which is what makes tracking down bugs of this nature so difficult.