tech2 News StaffDec 15, 2018 07:51:58 IST
While it can’t be denied that AMD makes great hardware, AMD has developed something of a reputation for struggling with the software side of things. The Adrenalin driver updates, now a yearly phenomenon, aim to address these issues by introducing a major overhaul of AMD’s software. The latest overhaul is called Adrenalin 2019 and here’s everything that’s new in the update.
VR and mobile streaming
Performance improvements aside, by far the most exciting update that AMD announced was support streaming games and even VR titles to mobile devices.
Mobile VR and gaming has always been limited by the hardware at hand. Take the Oculus Go for instance, powered by a 3-year old Snapdragon 821 mobile platform, one can hardly expect it to deliver a truly immersive VR experience. On the other hand, a proper VR experience requires a beast of a machine and expensive VR hardware (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, etc.).
With the latest updates to ReLive, AMD’s streaming software, users will now be able to stream games and VR content directly to an Android or iOS device. Pair that phone with a game controller (Android natively supports the Xbox One and PS4 controllers) and you can then take your favourite PC game with you anywhere around the house. Sadly, Android TV isn’t yet supported, so you’ll need to hook up your phone to your TV if you want to play games on the big screen.
These features aren’t new and Valve did introduce a similar feature called Steam Link. However, AMD claims that is solution is better because there’s no middle man – Steam Link needs the Steam app to be running – and the drivers are better optimised. According to AMD, their solution offers half the latency of the competition, which is a limiting factor when streaming. Here, latency is referring in the time delay between the a gamer’s reaction and the game actually responding on screen.
Speaking of streaming, ReLive also features some tweaks and updates, including the addition of a live in-game overlay when streaming and support for features like instant replay.
Performance gains: 15 percent
With the Adrenalin 2019 drivers, AMD claims to have squeezed out and additional 15 percent of performance on average over the older 18.61 drivers. These gains include a whopping 39 percent improvement in Battlefield V when using an RX 570 graphics card.
AMD also spoke about Project ReSX, which targets popular eSports games like Fortnite and Overwatch, boosting frame rates and lowering frame times for a much smoother and more competitive experience. To those not in the know, frame-time is a more reliable indicator of game performance as it can indicate if the performance is spiking and unstable. Average frame rate will not show this.
Radeon advisors: A helping hand
Yet another interesting update to AMD drivers is the introduction of so called “Advisors”. These are software guides that do things like suggest settings tweaks to improve game performance or image quality, give suggestions for hardware upgrades and so on.
Pressing Alt+R with AMD drivers installed throws up an in-game overlay, which is where you can find these advisors. The Game Advisor, for example, can be used to assess your game’s performance on your PC. If the frame times are inconsistent, you will be advised to tone down certain settings. If, on the other hand, your system performance is incredible, the advisor might suggest steps for improving image quality.
The Radeon Settings Advisor is another interesting feature that suggests settings that can be enabled based on your PC configuration. It could suggest that you enable FreeSync when you have a compatible monitor, say, or even a feature like Super Resolution (which boosts image quality) if your hardware can handle it.
Lastly, the Upgrade Advisor analyses your game collection and matches the requirements with the specifications of your PC. This tool will then suggest hardware upgrades depending on where your PC falls short.
The software also features tools for changing the colour settings of your display.
Of course, these tools are of no help to power users who already know what they’re doing, but that’s not who they’re targeted at to begin with.
Overclocking: More potential
This is another area that’s very exciting. Radeon WattMan, a tool that lets you overclock your AMD GPU, is now integrated into the overlay. It’s now far more powerful and includes tools like a fan-temperature adjustment curve – for adjusting fan speed at certain temperature thresholds – and even options for fine-tuning memory timings, which was a much-requested features.
Better yet, there are also options for automatic overclocking, which are conservative and won’t fry your card, and options for setting game-specific overclocks while playing. You could even link your phone to the app and overclock that way.
AMD’s Adrenalin 2019 drivers are available right now and can be installed from here. Owners of RX500 series and Vega series cards are likely to benefit the most from this update.