The Adrenalin Edition - AMD Build On Radeon Software's Successes

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅12.12.2017 14:21:32

Early every Winter for the past few years AMD have pushed the boat out with a major driver release. First was the Omega Edition, which was a cracking performance update. Next came the Crimson Edition, which created a new paradigm for their UI development and ever-growing list of enhanced features. Just last year we were treated to the Crimson ReLive Edition, offering native DVR and game streaming as a headline feature. Today, the latest chapter is named for the Adrenalin Rose – enter Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.

The Adrenalin Edition is a continuation of a very successful series of software launches for AMD. User satisfaction has consistently been rated highly, hitting over 90% for over a dozen consecutive months, and that’s down to both robust features and a regular stream of updates to support new games as they’re launched. It isn’t a fluke, just a whole lot of hard work on the part of the software engineers.

Because performance updates now tend to be made on a per-game basis, AMD’s Adrenalin Edition is not a so-called performance driver update. Furthermore, the major new APIs (namely DirectX 12 and Vulkan) leave a lot the performance levers in the hands of developers. As a result AMD believe that these sorts of updates, where a single yearly or bi-yearly release provides large across-the-board performance improvements, are a thing of the past.

Like Crimson ReLive Edition, the Adrenalin Edition instead builds on the toolset available to users of Radeon Software. Most especially, feature support is broadened to include more games, and where possible more GPUs, whilst those aspects of performance still on the driver level such as latency can be smoothed out. And sometimes these features become so ubiquitous that merely streamlining interfacing with them becomes a critical aspect of an update.

Radeon Overlay

The major update incorporated within the new Adrenalin Edition is the brand new Radeon Overlay. You may have seen a few beta screenshots, and although it had gone unmentioned to a certain extent it was in fact revealed back in August.

As the name indicates, Radeon Overlay is in-game overlay that provides control options for the majority of features within Radeon Software, allowing you to choose many on-the-fly. Additionally, it also allows a certain amount of performance monitoring, including logging. No games are excluded from support, making it an excellent tool with broad appeal for all users of AMD graphics.

Through the use of Radeon Overlay, ReLive DVR functionality can be controlled though remappable hotkeys far more intuitively, negating the need to utilise menus. Even more advanced aspects of the display can be changed, including colour balance and even FreeSync toggles.

However, that’s not all.

AMD Link – AMD’s First Mobile Gaming App for Smartphones

Launching alongside the Adrenalin Edition today is AMD Link, the first mobile gaming app for smartphones and tablets from AMD. Available on Android and iOS, this application allows control of specific Radeon Software features – most notably ReLive functionality – and monitoring of the same performance metrics as the main software.

The App also incorporates AMD’s News Feed, App Notifications and Driver/Software Package notifications, bringing them all under one roof in a way that won’t clutter the UI. Even so, the broad range of information potentially available to the App makes it particularly ideal for Tablets due to the real-estate available to the UI.

One word of caution however: functionality is restricted to a system and peripheral device on the same wireless network. No remote monitoring and control over the internet is as yet possible, both for security reasons and in an effort to keep the scope of the app focussed.

Additional Core Technology Updates

Over the course of Radeon Software’s lifetime AMD have integrated features which they deem to be ‘core’ to the product. Keeping these features relevant and available to as wide an audience as possible is critical not only in maintaining the all important satisfaction rates but also positioning Radeon as brand that innovates in software as well as hardware.

For the Adrenalin Edition AMD have made improvements to these core technologies in three key areas which have been voted as most important by the Radeon community. Refreshed every six months, this broad feedback keeps the engineers grounded even as they add new tech. to the software suite.

#3 – Radeon Wattman Profiles can now be saved and shared among the AMD community. This allows expert users to share ideal configurations for their system which can then be adopted by those in similar situations.

#2 – Radeon Chill now available in all games. Previously limited to 40 games, the power-saving feature is now unlocked for all games. Rather than whitelisting, compatibly is now assumed with a blacklist of poorly supported titles keeping it away from where it doesn’t appear to operate cleanly. That said, currently no titles are on the blacklist.

#1 – Enhanced Sync is now available across the GCN range, supported in their Vulkan rendering pipeline, and in multi-GPU and multi-monitor configurations. Previously this feature was exclusive to Polaris and Vega architectures on relatively straightforward system specs.

The improvements to Radeon Chill in particular are notable because the key adopter isn’t the average Western PC gamer, but actually iCafe businesses in China. Radeon Chill substantially reduces electricity costs, and demand is so strong that AMD even release a unique driver version for that market where the feature is enabled by default.

Associated Improvements

Alongside the broad range of headline and component updates are a series of tweaks to features which are a little more niche in their application.

- Firstly, Frame Rate Target Control, a means of limiting in-game frame rates to reduce power consumption where it makes sense, is now available in games that use the Vulkan API.

- Earlier this year AMD released a series of drivers optimised specifically for compute tasks such as cryptocurrency mining. Now those optimisations have been incorporated into the main driver, and are selectable as a profile within the driver software.

- The main Radeon Sofware UI now includes a ‘Resources’ tab. This highlights tutorials and other guides helpful for setting up your version and getting you started streaming or otherwise optimising your system.

- FreeSync is now configurable on a per-game basis (through profiles).

- Finally, AMD are also releasing an AMD Vulkan open-source driver for Linux, providing a new framework for future developments by that community.

Radeon Sofware Adrenalin Edition is available with official releases for Windows 7 and 10. Users of Windows 8/8.1 are not supported officially, however they are unofficially supported by the Window 7 release.

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