AMD really hit its stride throughout 2016, nailing software and driver releases - shifting from a company that was known for not-so-great drivers, to releasing solid drivers all year.
Today, the company has announced its new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers, a new initiative for 2017 - ready for the future of GPUs and games.
The new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers has a central theme of Features, Performance, and Stability - as well as the usual bug fixes, improvements, and more.
When it comes to performance, the new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers provide between 4% and 8% additional performance over the older Crimson 16.6.2 drivers on the Radeon RX 480 in games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Overwatch.
But there are other great touches in the new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers, where a bad HDMI cable can be detected - so that instead of fiddling around trying to work out what's wrong with your display, the new drivers will automatically detect a faulty or problematic HDMI cable.
AMD has also included VP9 Decode Acceleration, which uses GPU acceleration for 4K 60Hz streaming. This won't matter to much people right now, but it's showing that AMD is ensuring that if you buy a new Radeon graphics card today, you won't have to worry about your 4K experience in the future.
HDR gaming is something that AMD has put stock in from the beginning, with their new drivers supporting both Dolby Vision and HDR 10 - allowing for increased brightness, contrast, and color.
It wouldn't be an AMD driver release without some FreeSync love, with Crimson ReLive Edition now supporting borderless fullscreen mode with FreeSync - something that will come in handy for streamers and gamers who like to multi-task - like me.
Better yet, the new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers have up to 24% lower click-to-response time when in borderless fullscreen mode on a FreeSync display.
Another nice touch to FreeSync in the Crimson ReLive Edition drivers is that there's now a gradual refresh ramp. This means that the drivers will detect the maximum refresh rate of your display - let's say 144Hz, and it will save power depending on what's going on in the game on the display.
For example, you might be playing a game like Overwatch - which easily scales up to 144FPS, but what happens when you suddenly drop to 60-80FPS during those intense last-minute heroic game-changing plays? Instead of the frame rate plummeting instantly, it will be a smooth decrease, or increase, in FPS.
4K 120Hz, 5K 60Hz, 8K 30Hz
This is what has me feeling all tingly: AMD's new drivers now support DisplayPort HBR3, which allows for single-cable 4K 120Hz, 5K 60Hz, and even 8K 30Hz.
AMD is looking to the future with its DisplayPort support, which has me excited for 4K 120Hz displays in 2017.
Radeon Chill. It might sound like a one-liner from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman Forever, but Radeon Chill is a power-saving feature that "dynamically regulates framerate based on your in-game movement".
Radeon Chill will impropve power efficiency, meaning that your gaming rig won't use as much power - especially when it doesn't need to. Efficiency is a big thing these days, so this will also save some shelf life from your graphics card making it last longer.
It's not just power savings either, but we're also looking at lowered temperatures. AMD states that with Radeon Chill enabled, we are looking at around 77.3C on the Radeon RX 480 - while the card sits at 88.4C when it's disabled.
AMD has some magic inside of Radeon Chill, with a better way ot presenting frames - with a lowering of frame-time delivery to the display. The company is quoting up to 32% lower average frame-time delivery to the display, in milliseconds.
Radeon Chill doesn't work with all games just yet, but there are plenty of games that it does work with - including some of the most played games on the market. This includes Overwatch, CS:GO, and more.
Radeon WattMan Extended GPU Support
AMD's shift into WattMan was a big one, but it was super limited in the scope of graphics cards that it supported.
With the Crimson ReLive Edition drivers, AMD has extended support of WattMan into the AMD Radeon R9 Fury series, R9 390 series, R9 380 series, R9 290 series, R9 285 series, R9 260 series, R7 260 series, and R7 260 series.
Radeon ReLive In-App Toolbar
If there's one thing that GeForce gamers love that Radeon gamers have been begging for, it's a competitor to ShadowPlay - NVIDIA's custom software that runs over your game, allowing you to record footage.
AMD now has their Radeon Relive in-app toolbar, which is repositionable, provides up to 1 hour of instant replays, 1-click record/stream/screenshot, and custom hotkey support.
AMD has made continuous strides this year with its Radeon Technologies Group in all areas, with the software side of things receiving more love than ever before. The improvements included in the Crimson ReLive Edition release are massive, showing that AMD is more committed than ever before to Radeon owners.
Now all we have to wait for is AMD's next-gen Vega graphics cards, and Zen CPUs, and we're all set for the most exciting year in AMD's history in 2017.
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