Published in Graphics

AMD officially launches Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition

by on12 December 2017


Plenty of new and improved features

AMD has launched its third big Radeon Software yearly update that aims to raise the bar when it comes to graphics card drivers and software - the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.

Earlier last week, AMD already teased its new big Radeon Software release, revealing both the Adrenalin Edition name as well as giving some heads up regarding what its driver team has been doing for the last couple of years. Before we dive in to the new Adrenalin Edition, we should give AMD some credit for what it's done so far.

In case you don't remember, the big yearly driver updates started back in 2014 with AMD Catalyst Omega drivers. The Omega drivers were followed by the Radeon Software Crimson Edition in 2015 and the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition in 2016. AMD has been on the path to significantly improve its drivers and it has pretty much done a great job, changing both the general feel for stability as well as keeping up with major game releases and updates.

According to AMD, it released over 70 driver releases since Catalyst Omega, brought support for over 75 AAA games at launch and introduced over 50 new or enhanced features. Its drivers have been downloaded over 250 million times all around the world and hopefully, AMD will be able to keep up the good work in future.

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Today, AMD has decided to raise the bar even further by launching the new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, and while it was keen to note that this is not a performance driver, as we expected, but rather a big update focused on improving some of the core features as well as introducing some new features.

When presenting the new driver to the members of the press, AMD has decided to separate features into the so-called Core Technologies, which include the Radeon WattMan, Radeon Chill, Enhanced Sync and Radeon ReLive, or simply, features/technologies that were available earlier and have been further tweaked or updated, and the new features, including the Radeon Overlay, OSD (On-Screen Display) control for Radeon Settings, and the AMD Link, a Android/iOS application which gives you access to Radeon ReLive, performance monitor, resource center and more on your favorite mobile device and/or tablet.

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Performance and related improvements

As noted, AMD was quite keen to note that this is not a performance driver update and further performance improvements will be available with smaller, monthly driver releases.

When it comes to actual performance, AMD has compared the new driver with the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition at launch, which means that these numbers include all the small performance driver updates released this year.

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What is more important and unique to the new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1, is that AMD has optimized responsiveness in in all DirectX 11 titles, bringing reduced latency in a lot of titles.

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Another novelty is the Borderless Windowed Multi-GPU support, which will now work on select games, be compatible with AMD Radeon GCN graphics cards, and should provide up to two times more performance.

The Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC) now got support for Vulkan API and should bring significant improvements in power consumption for games that support Vulkan API, like Doom, where AMD managed to get up to 74% lower average GPU power draw on RX Vega 64 graphics card.

AMD also included the new Compute Profiles option, which was also available in the earlier beta driver and should bring higher performance in compute workloads. According to AMD, by switching RX 570 4GB to Compute workload in Global Graphics settings, you should get up to 15 percent higher Hash Rate for mining Ethereum.

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Improved Linux support

With the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, AMD also focused a lot on Linux support, bringing a single Radeon Software suite that features both open- and closed-source software stacks.

It is also bringing AMD Vulkan open-source driver, which should both accelerate open-source Vulkan development on Linux, add quick support for new AMD hardware, bring access to Radeon GPU Profiler toolset, allow easy integration of AMD Vulkan extensions and enabled third-party contributions.

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Radeon Software Core Technologies improvements

AMD was quite keen to improve some of its already available features, now known as core technologies.

The list starts with the Radeon WattMan, the power management tool, which has been updated to get custom profiles. Standard and power users will now have a chance to create, save and load their own performance/Watt profiles, share them and even get community-driven profiles that should be best suited for their graphics card.

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Radeon Chill was one of our favorite features back when it was introduced by AMD's Terry Makedon and Andrej Zdravkovic with Crimson ReLive Edition, although it suffered from a lack of wider game support. Bear in mind that AMD apparently had to test each title and then release the Radeon Chill profile.

With the new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, Radeon Chill will get support for a bunch of new games as it appears that it simply works. Those games that behave strangely will be blacklisted by future driver release but so far AMD is saying that it basically works in every title they tried.

According to AMD, Radeon Chill brings significant power consumption improvements of up to 60 percent in some titles, which is an impressive achievement. It works with AMD FreeSync and can automatically lower power consumption.

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AMD Enhanced Sync was introduced for those that lacked AMD FreeSync monitor and meant to minimize screen tearing. With Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, AMD has brought support for all Radeon GCN-based graphics cards, support for Vulkan API, multi-GPU and Eyefinity support and support for notebooks powered by discrete GCN-based GPUs.

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AMD's earlier big update, the Radeon ReLive, capture, streaming and sharing part of Radeon Software, has been also updated. It got the new Connect tab, which, as you could have guessed allows you to connect and manage all your social accounts, including Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, Mixer, Youku, Sina Weibo and others, as well as manage, organize and upload your videos and screenshots. It also gets the resource center part which will include informative articles about Radeon features, technologies, etc.

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Radeon ReLive also got improved gameplay performance as with certain optimizations, AMD has managed to lower performance impact when Radeon ReLive is used, claiming up to 84 percent lower FPS overhead.

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Radeon ReLive also got Borderless Region Capture support, which allows users to select a window for streaming, new Chroma Key support which brings transparency for webcam backgrounds while streaming, separate audio tracks for easy microphone audio editing and AMD Eyefinity support.

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AMD also teamed up with Stage TEN, a third-party browser-based platform that allows streamers to edit and further direct/produce their live streams.



Radeon Overlay and AMD Link

The biggest updates are the two new features that are introduced with the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, the Radeon Overlay, and the AMD Link.

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The Radeon Overlay is a neat new feature which will give users an in-game control of most, if not all, Radeon Settings as well as performance monitoring. It will provide both system info and gaming performance metrics, as well as ability to control Radeon ReLive, Chill, Frame Rate Target Control, FreeSync and Color settings.

The Radeon Overlay is pretty self-explanatory and definitely a nice addition to Radeon Software suite, as users will no longer have to use third-party applications to monitor performance, temperatures and switch to adjust certain driver-level settings.

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The new AMD Link is Android/iOS application for mobile devices or tablets that will give users easy access to Radeon ReLive, Performance Monitors and Resource Center. The Resource Center is the same one from the ReLive tab, but having a performance monitor on your mobile device next to your monitor is a nice addition. Some users will certainly like the ReLive integration allowing them to capture, stream, replay directly from mobile phone or tablet as well as check out the gallery, or more.

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The AMD Link is available for iOS 10+ and Android 5.0+ devices and available on App Store and Google Play store.




AMD certainly invested a lot of time in developing its newest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and we certainly must give credit when credit is due, as their driver releases have never been better.

In three years, AMD has managed to significantly improve its driver image by improving general stability and performance, bringing new features, making sure they have day-one support for big titles and staying ahead of possible bugs that come up from time to time.

According to AMD's own internal data, its Radeon Software managed to get 4.5/5 average user approval rating for Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition and we are sure that those users will appreciate the new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.

In addition to the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, AMD has released the Radeon Pro Software as well, but we will leave that one for a different article.

As expected, the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition will be available for Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 10 OS, in both 32-bit and 64-bit version. AMD assured us that the Windows 7 driver works well on Windows 8 as well, although there is no official support.

You will be able to download the new AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition over at AMD's support page as it becomes available.

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Last modified on 12 December 2017
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