AMD's announcement of its AMD Software Preview Driver for May 2022 carried with it substantial performance claims for games built on the now-superseded DX 11 API. AMD's claims of a 10% average performance increase across a suite of games deserve testing, especially considering the more substantial performance increases, which the company said could reach a 28% uplift in Assassin's Creed Odyssey and a 30% increase in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. And according to OC3D, who tested the preview driver in a suite of games, AMD's claims are not only accurate: they're like voodoo magic for the "fine wine" narrative.
OC3D's results for the RX 6800 they tested with paint an excellent picture for AMD's May preview driver, starting with one of the most optimized-for applications out there: 3D Mark's Fire Strike benchmark. The improvements aren't extraordinary, but benchmarks are examples of GPU-bound workloads that are exhaustively optimized for by manufacturers (since they're frequently used as marketing instruments when comparing against other providers). Even still, AMD's driver team managed to improve scores across the board, unlocking a couple hundred points across all performance modes (Ultra, Extreme, and standard), even if mostly by an under 2% improvement. An extra year for AMD's fine wine.
The improvements do reach the black magic category in games such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey. While average frame rates see an already substantial 16.7% performance boost in 1080p (from 77.4 fps to 90.4), 1st percentile framerates increased a staggering 30%, from 57.2 up to 74.3 frames. The previous average became the new low - arguably improving one of the most critical metrics for gaming experiences. 1440p results follow along with these results, but 4K eases up on the performance improvement. Even so, an 11% performance improvement in 1st percentile frames brings them above the 60 FPS barrier - once again unlocking a measurable improvement in the gaming experience. But there are more games with significant performance improvements.
|Title||AMD Performance Improvement Claims||OC3D Testing Results|
|Assassin's Creed Odyssey||28%||17.8%|
|Far Cry 5||4%||1%|
|God of War||-||2%|
|Total War: Warhammer III||5%||2%|
It seems that AMD's performance claims have turned out pretty accurate, all things considered. While the average performance increase in Assassin's Creed Odyssey didn't reach the claimed 28% performance improvement, the performance uplift for 1st percentile frames jumped by a higher amount, arguably providing a more substantial impact to experience.
Looking at OC3D's choice of tests - particularly when it comes to the 17% performance improvement in Crysis Remastered - it seems that AMD-toting gamers could be in for a few more surprises than AMD let on. The company can't test every DX11 game with its new driver release. But the fact that this game, which wasn't listed as being on the receiving end of performance optimizations, saw such a substantial improvement means that there are likely a few diamonds in the rough to be found yet in gamers' catalogs of DX 11 games.
At the end of the day, AMD is feeding the "fine wine" narrative by unlocking performance improvements that are free of charge for users - and for games that aren't the latest and greatest AAA experiences. Owners of AMD-based graphics cards can already download the AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022 at AMD's website. It's still unclear when an official driver release will follow, and the Preview nomenclature should put users on notice of potential bugs in the software suite. Your mileage may vary - but with AMD's latest performance driver, the variation tends to be an immensely positive one.