AMD XConnect Technology Support

softwarebuck April 25, 2021 0 Comments

AMD Link

AMD Link has also been updated in this driver. The UI has a cleaner interfaceacross all devices. There’s a unified look with the new Radeon Software App.All the streaming functionality is now in one area for easy access. AMD Link now supports up to 50Mbps ultra bit-rate for better quality. It alsosupports x265 codec game streaming. There’s an instant GIF support from yourdevice.

AMD XConnect Technology Support

This is one of the surprises and main features of the new RSCE 16.4.2 drivers;support for AMD’s awesome XConnect technology. This allows full support forThunderbolt 3-based video card enclosures, like the Razer Core for the BladeStealth gaming laptop.Gamers can use the Radeon R9 Fury, R9 Nano, and 300 series video cards insideof the external video card enclosure, and thanks to Thunderbolt 3, super-powering your mobile gaming experience.

Continued DX12 Dominance

AMD has had an early lead over NVIDIA in DirectX 12, with the new RSCE 16.4.2drivers continuing that lead. The new drivers are faster than the previousdrivers, with some nice increases.AMD benchmarked the Radeon R9 Fury X against the GTX 980 Ti, where it’s up to16% faster in Quantum Break. Hitman has up to 24% more performance, whileGears of War is up to 16% faster under the new Catalyst 16.4.2 drivers. EvenGears of War gets a decent (up to) 16% performance jump.AMD also compared the Radeon R9 390 versus the GTX 970, with the R9 390beating out the GTX 970 by a decent margin, with up to 49% more performance inHitman.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson

When AMD announced their new Radeon Software drivers we knew big changes werecoming, AMD didn’t just promise us that they would be delivering us a new andimproved user interface, but also that they would improving the stability oftheir drivers, the performance of their drivers and will be continuing to addmore and more useful features to their software.AMD considers their new drivers not just to be mere drivers, but a full onRadeon Software suite, which will deliver users a greater experience than theyhave ever had previously with AMD, or ATI products.With the first release of AMD’s Radeon Software, AMD Crimson, AMD planned totackle not just performance, efficiency,the aging UI of their drivers orsimply add more features, but take a 4 pronged approach that will endeavor todo all this at once in a since, stable driver release.In effect what AMD’s Radeon Software is a massive redesign for AMD’s graphicsdrivers, leaving the ageing Catalyst name behind in order to bring userssomething which is not just new, but massively improved for AMD Radeon.One example of the many improvements can be seen as soon as your system isbooted, offering a greatly reduced boot time when compared to AMD old catalystdrivers with AMD stating a reduction in boot time from 8 seconds to a mere 0.6seconds.AMD’s first iteration of their Radeon Software will be called AMD CrimsonEdition 15.11, with all major revision getting a new name and all minorversion will get the usual AMD Year/month naming scheme.When it comes to stability both AMD and Nvidia get a lot of flak from fromenthusiasts from both sides, especially when it comes to playing some of thelatest games.AMD want to tackle the issue of software stability in their drivers and planto achieve this by conducting more testing on their new drivers and listeningto the problems which consumers face while using their drivers. AMD will beconduction 100% more Automated testing and 25% more manual testing with theirRadeon Software drivers and on top of that plan on using 15% more test systemconfigurations during this test.Hopefully these improvements in AMD’s testing suite and methodology willresult in increasingly stable drivers for AMD’s Radeon Software Group, asdriver instability is something which often turns people off PC gaming.Over 2015 many AMD users were very disappointing in the frequency of AMD’s GPUdrivers, especially when it came to WHQL, non-beta, driver, as there were only3 releases in the whole year of 2015.AMD plans on delivering us more major Radeon Software update next year,promising up to 6 major WHQL releases and additional Beta releases and Day 1game drivers.One of the best sources for information on what bugs and issues need to beaddressed in drivers often comes from the community, after all they are thepeople who use these drivers day after day and over a wider variety of gamesthan AMD could possibly test.With Last years AMD Catalyst Omega driver AMD had fixed the 10 biggest issuesthat AMD Catalyst users had requested to be fixed, and now around a year laterAMD has some so again, fixing many of the issues that their end users havebeen facing over the past year. Below are 10 of the most requested fixes forAMD, but they assure us that this driver has had plenty more bugs and problemsfixed.

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 ReLive – Relive

The big new feature of this release is ReLive. This is AMD’s new completelyintegrated live streaming and game capture facility that means you can do awaywith secondary software like AMD’s own Gaming Evolved app.It’s a comprehensive setup for a first outing, with options for recording yourgaming sessions manually or just recording instant replay clips. There arealso plenty of settings for changing the quality of the video, includingsetting a specific resolution or going with the in-game resolution, choosing30fps or 60fps and changing the bitrate.At the same time you can also stream straight to Twitch, YouTube or a customserver. Again you get plenty of options for tweaking quality and you canchoose whether to archive the stream.AMD claims only a 3-4% performance hit from enabling game capture, though thiswill depend on your exact hardware configuration. During our tests it didn’tnoticeably affect our framerate or responsiveness.You can also add an overlay to your stream or recording that can includesystem information, and a camera feed as well as include a custom overlayimage.All told, it’s a great addition both for its comprehensive and easy to useinterface and the fact that it means you have one less bit of software toinstall.It remains to be seen how this will work in conjunction with the upcoming gamecapture feature that’s being built into the Windows 10 Anniversary update butfor now it works well.

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.

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