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AMD's New Radeon Preview Driver Brings Double-Digit Performance Gains

Radeon GPUs
Radeon GPUs (Image credit: AMD)

AMD has released the AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022, which is now available to all Radeon graphics card owners. The latest driver comes with new features and substantial performance improvements for both new and old games.

The AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022 offers up to 10% higher graphics performance (opens in new tab), on average, in various DirectX 11-based games on AMD's latest Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards. According to AMD's internal tests, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands showed 28% and 30% better performance, respectively.

The new driver also brings Smart Access Memory (SAM) optimizations, specifically for  Death Stranding and Watch Dogs: Legion. As a result, AMD recorded performance uplifts of 10% in Death Stranding and 13% in Watch Dogs: Legion at 1440p on a Radeon RX 6950 XT. With a Radeon RX 6750 XT, the chipmaker saw 12% better frame rates in Death Stranding and 24% in Watch Dogs: Legion. Meanwhile, AMD only observed a 6% increase in Death Stranding and Watch Dogs: Legion on a Radeon RX 6650 XT. The company used a Ryzen 7 5800X3D to power its test systems and used the AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition 22.5.1 driver for comparison.

GamesPerformance Gains
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands30%
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey28%
Total War Saga: Troy17%
Grand Theft Auto V11%
Watch Dogs: Legion10%
Valorant7%
Total War Hammer 35%
Apex Legends5%
Far Cry 54%
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds3%
The Witcher 33%
Farming Simulator 223%
Overwatch3%

Other games, which AMD failed to mention in the release notes, will also benefit from the AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022. The developer of CapFrameX (opens in new tab), a famous frame times capture and analysis tool, did some of his own testing and discovered some significant DirectX 11 performance upgrades in Crysis Remastered and God of War.

The developer used a Core i7-12700K and an overclocked Radeon RX 6800 XT. The results revealed up to 24% higher performance in Crysis Remastered and up to 41% in God of War. He noticed 34% better lows in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

In other news, the AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022 now comes with the "sharpen effect" for Radeon users to tweak the sharpness of the image when using AMD's Radeon Super Resolution (RSR) 1.1 technology. AMD has also integrated the AMD Bug Report Tool directly into the Adrenalin software.

Radeon graphics card owners can download the AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022 at AMD's website (opens in new tab). It is a preview driver, though, so there are bound to be some bugs. AMD didn't share when the final driver will be ready for prime time.

Zhiye Liu
Zhiye Liu

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • hotaru.hino
    Kind of annoyed AMD didn't provide the FPS values. For all I know, that 30% on WoW means it went from 40 FPS to 52 FPS

    I mean sure I could go try to extrapolate what the performance is from reviews, but I shouldn't have to.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    hotaru.hino said:
    Kind of annoyed AMD didn't provide the FPS values. For all I know, that 30% on WoW means it went from 40 FPS to 52 FPS

    I mean sure I could go try to extrapolate what the performance is from reviews, but I shouldn't have to.

    If you are on RX6000 series hardware download the driver and check it yourself you don't need to wait for AMD.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Makaveli said:
    If you are on RX6000 series hardware download the driver and check it yourself you don't need to wait for AMD.
    I don't have an AMD graphics card. And even if I did, it may not be applicable to the card that I have. The point is that percentages without any sort of absolute value to compare against is meaningless. What if I had some performance requirement? I still can't tell if the driver update allows the cards to get the performance I want.

    Also what's with reporting low percentage gains like 3-5%?
    Reply
  • SunMaster
    hotaru.hino said:
    I don't have an AMD graphics card. And even if I did, it may not be applicable to the card that I have. The point is that percentages without any sort of absolute value to compare against is meaningless. What if I had some performance requirement? I still can't tell if the driver update allows the cards to get the performance I want.

    Also what's with reporting low percentage gains like 3-5%?

    It's a driver update, not a major piece of new hardware. Like all software updates it's probably safe to assume the performance gains for the most part are minor.

    No reason to get upset over anything.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    SunMaster said:
    It's a driver update, not a major piece of new hardware. Like all software updates it's probably safe to assume the performance gains for the most part are minor.
    So why report it at all?
    Reply
  • SunMaster
    hotaru.hino said:
    So why report it at all?

    Did you even check out the link provided in the article? While it's not like a press release causing your whining, they did provide some numbers.

    If you're waiting for anyone (at all) to do a driver version test vs driver version test I think you're going to get very disappointed.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Is it really a performance increase, or is it a quality reduction disguised as a performance increase?
    Reply
  • mitch074
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Is it really a performance increase, or is it a quality reduction disguised as a performance increase?
    You can't really have that any more with newer cards : most of the performance is eaten away by the shader computations, and reducing quality would mean corrupted graphics in some places.
    On the other hand, since shaders need to be compiled, a key optimization in shader compilation may yield huge performance improvements. If we use the AMD open source drivers as a reference, sometimes an optimization is left aside because it's buggy, but when enough workarounds actually allow it to run, it is then enabled - and we see such performance increases across the board.

    I wouldn't be surprised if AMD's Windows driver team took a look at how the open source driver developers performed some operations and ported them inside the Windows driver. Since both use differing code bases there will necessarily be a delay in such a port, especially on DX11 that is far more complex than Vulkan, but considering how many games ran better on the Steam Deck with Steam OS than with Windows, it wouldn't be a stretch that they took note of what bottlenecks were found by Valve and the community and decided to implement them.
    Reply
  • Diceman_2037
    mitch074 said:
    I wouldn't be surprised if AMD's Windows driver team took a look at how the open source driver developers performed some operations and ported them inside the Windows driver. Since both use differing code bases there will necessarily be a delay in such a port, especially on DX11 that is far more complex than Vulkan, but considering how many games ran better on the Steam Deck with Steam OS than with Windows, it wouldn't be a stretch that they took note of what bottlenecks were found by Valve and the community and decided to implement them.

    This is exactly what happened, AMD has adopted PAL as an abstraction layer that sits between API and Kernel for D3D11, and possibly opengl.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    Diceman_2037 said:
    This is exactly what happened, AMD has adopted PAL as an abstraction layer that sits between API and Kernel for D3D11, and possibly opengl.
    Then such a performance boost is no surprise, indeed - considering the 30-60% performance difference one can see between the Windows and Linux OpenGL driver for AMD cards (Doom 2016 openGL mode on a Polaris GPU), a 5-25% performance increase in DX11 is almost underwhelming, actually.

    EDIT : someone on Reddit reported a 15% performance gain on Overwatch for a RX480, so it really does look like an overall driver optimization. Not that I care much about Windows drivers, but it really looks like "AMD gets better with age" verifies itself once again - it would be interesting to run a RX4/580 vs Geforce 1060 6Gb benchmark again and see how these still popular cards now scale.
    Reply