AMD's Radeon Software Crimson 16.3 Drivers Offer Performance Improvements, New Features

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅10.03.2016 01:48:19
Keeping up the pace of one significant release per month in 2016, AMD have this evening published the latest Radeon Software Crimson Edition drivers for GPUs and APUs. The new driver set is Crimson Edition 16.3 (listed as the March 9th update on the driver page), and barring minor bug-fix patches will be the major release for this month. Unlike smaller incremental driver updates however, AMD are also debuting new features with the 16.3 package which should serve to improve performance and reduce lingering issues introduced with the first Crimson Edition drivers.

Performance and Profiles

Perhaps the most eye-catching selling points for the new drivers are those for improved performance in both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gear of War. The former, which has already been through at least one patch cycle, gets an estimated boost of ~16% on the Fury X series of GPUs; meanwhile the latter sees an astounding up to ~60% improvement is you're using Fury-series card. Although these benefits are with AMD's flagship GPU one should also expect to see improvements throughout their product stack.

As is traditional the driver update also includes Crossfire profiles for some of the latest games, in this case Hitman. The 16.3 drivers are also the suggested drivers for the new Hitman when it's released on Friday, so look to update if you have your eye on Agent 47's most recent adventures.

New Features

A constant concern for AMD users utilising enthusiast-class GPUs on the bleeding edge of performance has been short-term down-clocking activated through the power efficiency modes within the GPU architecture. Crimson Edition 16.3 introduces a new toggle for these modes which will disable some of these modes, smoothing out performance and reducing sharp frame drops. This feature is available to users running AMD R9 300 and Fury-series GPUs.

Crimson Edition 16.3 also introduces official support for the new Vulkan low-overhead API. The successor to AMD Mantle and developed by the Khronos Group, Vulkan should improve performance in games compatible with the API. It's noteworthy that Steam's Source 2 engine is already baking-in Vulkan, so its impact on the industry is set to go wide indeed.

The final feature we'll touch on is support for AMD XConnect technology. Designed for providing plug'n'play connectivity with external graphics enclosures over the Intel Thunderbolt 3 interface, this is functionality is currently in early iterations. It requires supporting hardware, including a system BIOS that supports external graphics such as that on the Razer Blade Stealth, but should be a technology to keep an eye on if laptop gaming is of interest.


As with most driver packages from AMD these are classed as non-WHQL, having not gone through Microsoft's certification process. Download the package for Windows 7/8/8.1 or 10 via this link to the driver page. The latest WHQL release is Crimson Edition 15.12, from December 2015.

Release Notes

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD's revolutionary new graphics software that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphics performance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines the overall user experience. Every Radeon Software release strives to deliver new features, better performance and stability improvements.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 Highlights

Updated Crossfire Profiles available for

The Park

Support for​


Performance and Quality improvements for:

Rise of the Tomb Raider™(2)
- Up to 16% on AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury X Series vs AMD Radeon™ Software Crimson Edition 16.2.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition(3)
- Up to 60% on AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury X series vs AMD Radeon™ Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1
- Up to 44% on AMD Radeon™ R9 380 series vs AMD Radeon™ Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1

Vulkan™ Support(1): Vulkan™ is the successor to OpenGL and a descendant of AMD's Mantle. Vulkan™ is a powerful "low-overhead" graphics API that gives software developers deep control over the performance, efficiency, and capabilities of Radeon™ GPUs and multi-core CPUs. More information on Vulkan™ can be found at

Per-Game Display Scaling: A new feature introduced in Radeon™ Settings that allows per game Display Scaling to be set within the Radeon™ Settings Gaming tab under "Profile Options".

Language Menu: A new feature introduced in Radeon™ Settings that allows the end user to select their preferred language from a drop down menu under the "Preferences -> Language" tab.

Two Display Eyefinity: Two Display Eyefinity is now an available option under the Eyefinity tab in Radeon™ Settings.

AMD Crossfire™ Status Indicator: A new feature in Radeon™ Settings that allows users to toggle an AMD Crossfire™ status indicator on their screen when running in AMD Crossfire™ mode.

Updated Social Links: New Social links are now available for Radeon™ Settings home page and have also updated based on geographical region.

Power Efficiency Toggle: A new feature introduced in the Radeon™ Settings Gaming tab for select AMD Radeon™ 300 series and AMD Radeon™ Fury X available under "Global Options". This allows the user to disable some power efficiency optimizations.

AMD XConnect™ technology: This driver provides initial support for external GPU enclosures configured with Radeon™ R9 300 Series GPUs are now supported over Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C) connections. AMD XConnect™ technology additionally provides plug'n'play support and an integrated management interface. Base system must have BIOS support for external GPUs (e.g. Razer Blade Stealth).

Resolved Issues

Core clocks may not maintain sustained clock speeds resulting in choppy performance and or screen corruption (Fixed with new Power Efficiency feature toggled to off)
Gears of War Ultimate Edition - Random freezes may be experienced during gameplay
Ashes of the Singularity 2.0 Benchmark now supports DirectFlip
XCOM 2 flickering textures may be experienced at various game locations
Rise of the Tomb Raider™ - The game may randomly crash on launch if Tessellation is enabled

Known Issues

A few game titles may fail to launch or crash if the Gaming Evolved overlay is enabled. A temporary workaround is to disable the AMD Gaming Evolved "In Game Overlay"
Installing via command line may not work for some users. As a workaround please use the default GUI installer
League of Legends may experience some graphical corruption on characters death animation in AMD Crossfire™ mode
Rift may experience a hang when playing with FRTC and V-Sync enabled. As a work around users are suggested to disable V-Sync
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 may experience some flickering in AMD Crossfire™ mode
Rise of the Tomb Raider may experience graphical corruption in some cinematics
The Division may experience flickering in AMD Crossfire™ mode
Star Wars Battlefront users may experience flicker in AMD Crossfire™ mode on battle and tutorial loading screens
Star Wars Battlefront users may experience ground texture issues in certain locations on Survival Hoth missions

Package Contents

The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 Driver contains the following:

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 Driver Version 16.15

Related Stories

Recent Stories

« GIGABYTE's FORCE K85 Keyboard Hits Minimalistic Sweet-Spot · AMD's Radeon Software Crimson 16.3 Drivers Offer Performance Improvements, New Features · Synology Release The DS216J, A Power-Efficient Dual-Bay Home NAS »