AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Video
AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition : Faster, Smarter, Sleeker And Packed
Full Of FeaturesWhen an overhaul of AMD’s Radeon graphics software was first beingconceptualized there were five fundamental things that the software teamwanted to accomplish. These pillars include a more seamless user experience,introducing new features and pushing on the performance and efficiency fronts;all of which built on a foundation with razor-edge focus on stability.We’ll discuss each of the five areas of focus in detail in this article andwe’ll kick things off with the foundation, Stability, and all the work thatAMD’s teams have done to improve upon and reinforce this area.
Radeon Software Crimson : Stability
AMD states that Radeon Software Crimson Edition has gone through a moremeticulous quality assurance process than any other previous driver revision .This includes twice as many automated tests compared to last year’s Omegadrivers, 25% more manual tests, 15% more system configurations as well as -and for the first time – the addition of specific quality assurance measuresfor brand new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality.In addition to the previously mentioned internal QA measures AMD has also paidvery close attention to the feedback of Radeon users. As a result acomprehensive list of the most common issues that were pointed out by thecommunity was created and a dedicated software team was tasked withidentifying these issues, reproducing them, debugging them and fixing them.As a result more than 10 of the most requested fixes by the community havebeen delivered with Crimson.
Radeon Software Crimson : User Experience
For Radeon Software Crimson Edition AMD built an entirely new control panelfrom the ground-up that replaces Catalyst Control Center, this new controlpanel is dubbed Radeon Settings and carries several significant improvementsover CCC. The most remarkable of which is the nearly instantaneous start-uptime, down from over 7 seconds to less than a fraction of a second all thanksto an entirely new design built on QT rather .NET.Radeon Settings also carries a re-designed user interface that’s moreintuitive, seamless and versatile than we’ve ever seen before. The userinterface includes a new game manager, a more versatile overdrive built-inoverclocking engine in addition to new video, monitor and Eyefinity managementhubs. And these aren’t just aesthetic overhauls, the new driver will recognizeand initialize a monitor five times faster than before. Eyefinity users willalso be able to connect their monitors and set them up with one click. Thefeature will recognize the majority of setups, including asymmetricalconfigurations with multiple monitors featuring varied resolutions.If you’re the sort of person that’s afraid of change – and let’s admit it mostof us are – worry not, AMD states that comprehensive usability tests wereconducted to make sure that the new user interface is as easy to use and is asintuitive as possible. And while it’s not mentioned in the slides we were toldthat over 99% of users who have tried the new UI found everything where theyexpected it to be and found the UI easy to use. We personally have only hadthe drivers for one day to play with but this has been largely our experienceas well.Finally, there’s one important addition before we move onto the most excitingaspects of Crimson Edition, namely the performance improvements & brand newfeatures that were not shown before. AMD will be introducing a clever cleanuninstall utility which will attempt to remove any previously installed AMDCatalyst display and audio drivers as well as clean up left-over AMD files andregistry entries from your system.It’s important to point out that AMD still recommends using the regular methodof removing the drivers via the standard windows unstallation process for themajority of cases. However in case of system file or registry corruption orfor any other good reason users might have, the clean uninstall utility maycome in handy.
The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition contains the following:
– AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Driver version 15.30.1025
Highlights of AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition
– Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD’s revolutionary new graphicssoftware that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphicsperformance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines theoverall user experience.
What is AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive?
In late 2015, AMD launched a completely new version of its graphics driver andgraphics settings software. Out was AMD Catalyst and in was AMD RadeonSoftware Crimson Edition. The new driver, and in particular the AMD Settingsinterface for controlling it, was far quicker to load, largely more intuitiveto use and just generally was a big improvement.Over the last year AMD has been steadily improving that software, addingfeatures such as the Wattman overclocking tool, but a year on from launch AMDthought it was time for another big launch, in the shape of AMD RadeonSoftware Crimson ReLive.The headline feature here is the addition of in-built game capture andstreaming, which had previously been handled by AMD Gaming Evolved that wasessentially a rebranded version of Raptr’s software. There are several otherchanges too, so let’s take a deeper dive to see what’s new.The new AMD Radeon Software Crimson driver is free to download and iscompatible with all existing AMD graphics cards so you can go and try ittoday.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive – Radeon Settings
The single biggest new feature of the original Crimson software launch was thenew AMD Settings app, which was quicker to install, faster to load (up to 10xfaster) and far sleeker looking than the Catalyst Control Center of old.This remains largely unchanged with the ReLive version, in terms of overalllook and feel, but there are plenty of tweaks and new features in this latestupdate.The most visually obvious change is the removal of the superfluous Eyefinitytab – it did nothing unless you had more than one monitor – to be replaced bythe ReLive tab. Multi-monitor tweaking is now done via the Display section.Related: AMD Radeon RX 480 Dive into one of the sections and it fills the whole window – which can beresized and made fullscreen – presenting all the various options. Oddly,though, the main navigation buttons move from the top to the bottom when youenter each section, which we found a bit unintuitive.Helping to keep things tidy is that certain options are kept hidden untilneeded, such as the number of samples used in anti-aliasing. If you select“use application settings” it keeps this option hidden but if you select tooverride the application settings then the extra option appears.This works quite well though isn’t perfect. For a start, it can sometimes befrustrating that you can’t find the setting you’re after because you haven’tturned on the parent setting that enables it. Also, the whole grid ofrectangles that makes up each option is dynamic so you can resize the windowand they all shuffle around and restack to fit.Combined with the new blocks appearing for otherwise hidden options and thefact the blocks are in no obvious order (not alphabetical etc) and it cansometimes take quite a bit of scanning back and forth to find the optionyou’re after. Some settings are hidden… …until other settings are turned on.Still, it’s mostly quick and easy to use and a big improvement over bothNvidia’s current driver and previous AMD drivers. We just wish there was anoption to stop the AMD Settings icon appearing at the top of the context menuwhen you right click in a folder or on the desktop.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive – Gaming settings
Hit the Gaming tab and you’re presented with what initially looks like just alist of your games. However, the top left tile is labelled global settings andits here that you can setup your preferred settings for whatever games you’rerunning.If you then want to set specific options for certain games you can select thecorresponding tile. This is a much more intuitive way of managing gamespecific settings than the previous CCC version and the driver does a good jobof automatically detecting all the games you have installed.Jump into any of the game settings and you’re presented with essentially thesame list of options as the global settings, with things like anti-aliasing,anisotropic filtering and tessellation mode on the left tab and the newWattMan overlocking settings on the right tab.The latter is AMD’s graphics card overclocking tool that replaces AMDOverdrive. As well as having a far more clear layout, it’s also much moregranular with a host of options for balancing performance, power consumption,noise and heat.WattMan was only available for RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 cards but with theReLive launch it’s now available for R9 Fury, R9 390, R9 380, R9 290, R9 285,R9 260, R7 360 and R7 260 cards.One of the features of WattMan is Chill. This is a new addition that allowsyour graphics card to reduce its performance during times of low on-screenactivity. I.e. if you’re standing still or in a loading menu, the card willdynamically reduce its speed, saving power and reducing heat. It’s less of aconcern for desktop users but could make for much better battery life onlaptops.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive – Video
Moving onto the Video tab and this is where you can tweak how your graphicscard handles colour profiling and some video effects for making any video onyour PC look its best.You can quickly choose from a selection of presets that load what AMD thinksare the optimal set of features for films, sports and the like or hit Customand you can choose for yourself which to load.Most of the settings are ones that have been around for a while on existingversions of AMD drivers but one new feature is directional scaling, which isessentially anti-aliasing for video.AMD is also highlighting reduced power consumption with Crimson when playingYouTube videos. That’s quite a specific scenario but a useful one nonethelessand in my tests I did record around a 20W reduction in power consumption whenplaying the same Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer AMD used in its tests. Tohighlight its specific nature, though, I also tested with VLC and saw nodifference.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson – Display
Under the Display settings tab is a key new feature of Radeon SoftwareCrimson, which is the ability to use custom resolutions and framerates, ratherthan having to choose from a list of verified supported resolutions.This can potentially cause problems for your monitor so AMD makes you agree toa waiver before accessing the option, but once opened you can pick from alarge range of monitor options, even including detailed timing settings. Thisfeature has also now been fully updated to run within the Crimson interface,where earlier versions of the software opened an instance of CCC to changethese settings.Otherwise, it’s here you’ll find options for enabling AMD Freesync, virtualsuper resolution (this makes everything on screen smaller as you try toemulate your monitor having a larger resolution), GPU scaling and a new colourtemperature setting. The latter provides a quick way of manually tweaking howred or blue your display looks, with the default option set to the standard6500K temperature.If you have multiple monitors it’s here you can set them up with the usualEyefinity options.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive – System
The System tab is where you find all the information about your graphics cardhardware and AMD software. So if you ever need to look up your driver versionor find out how much graphics memory you have, it’s the place to go.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson – New features
As well as the Radeon Settings app, there are some key under-the-hood featuresin Crimson, one of which is Shader Cache.This works by storing the compiled shaders needed for the game on the harddrive. Normally these shaders are compiled on the fly, which can lead topauses in open world games as you move around the map, as well as other micro-stutters and generally longer game and level loading times. Shader Cache aimsto reduce all these issues.Enabled by default it will take at least one run of each game for the cache tobe filled and any benefits to be realised but thereafter the game and levelsshould load quicker, plus there should be reduced stutter from CPU overheadand from “map hitching”.However, in my testing I didn’t notice any difference in game and levelloading times using Battlefield 4. By its nature this isn’t the easiest thingto test, though, as it will vary greatly from game to game and even machine tomachine.However, the feature has been available on Nvidia cards/drivers for a whilenow and in general there’s a modest but welcome reduction in these issues whenthe setting is enabled so it’s reasonable to expect the same improvement forAMD cards.Another new addition is wider AMD XConnect support. XConnect is theThunderBolt-based technology for connecting a laptop of all-in-one PC to anexternal graphics card to boost graphics perforamnce, and previously it wassomething that only worked with specific hardware and specific driverversions.Now, though, AMD XConnect is supported across all Thunderbolt certified PCsand laptops and external graphics solutions. We’re yet to test this outthough, so the jury is still out on whether the holy grail of portable gamingis truly a viable option yet.AMD is also expanding its Linux support. Freesync is now supported as well asall discrete GCN graphics cards – that’s basically everything since the HD7000 series.Supported Linux distros include Ubuntu 16.04, RHEL 7.2, RHEL 6.8, Ubuntu14.04, RHEL 7.3, SLED/SLES 12 SP2 Linux.