AMD has released a new graphics driver – albeit still in testing – but the new version is very notable in terms of the performance improvements it offers gamers running a Team Red graphics card.
The boost that AMD’s May 2022 software preview driver brings to the RX 6000 GPUs – which were just joined by a trio of new offerings earlier this week, including a refreshed flagship RX 6950 XT – is considerable for DX11 games, and around 10% on average, according to AMD.
This includes some pretty incredible gains for some games, especially World of Warcraft: Shadowlands which runs up to 30% faster with this preview driver (beta), and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey does almost as well with an increase of up to 28% (compared to Adrenalin graphics driver version 22.5.1).
Total War Saga: Troy also shows an impressive 17% increase, while GTA V hits up to 11% and Watch Dogs: Legion hits 10%, with Valorant at 7%, according to AMD’s own tests.
Along with these core performance improvements, AMD has made a few other moves with this beta driver, including the introduction of a new version 1.1 of Radeon Super Resolution or RSR, which is Team Red’s frame rate booster that Works across a range of games (as opposed to FSR, which must have in-game developer support). RSR 1.1 adds a slider for “sharpness effect” which, as you might guess, sharpens the image, so you can adjust the look to your liking.
Additionally, some Smart Access Memory (SAM) optimizations have been implemented for Death Stranding and Watch Dogs: Legion, with up to 10% better performance promised in the former and 13% in the latter (at 1440p resolution). with a Radeon RX 6950 XT graphics card). SAM facilitates frame rate gains by giving the Ryzen CPU full access to GPU memory (it’s basically Team Red’s take on Resizable BAR).
Analysis: big wins, but remember: this is still a beta version
As Tom’s Hardware spotted this, away from AMD, other people have already run benchmarks that show even more impressive results for increases in DX11 frame rates in some cases.
Namely the developer of CapFrameX (a tool used for capturing and analyzing frame times) who found that God of War ran up to 41% faster with the new driver (on a 6800 XT), and Crysis Remastered ticked with up to 24% gains. With Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the developer also observed that there were attenuated lows – the maximum drop in frame rate experiences – with a 34% improvement on this score.
So AMD has clearly done a good job with this May driver release, but obviously keep in mind that as it’s still in beta, you may encounter unpredictable issues or outright bugs – there are no still doubt problems to solve (which is the whole point of a test version).
In other words, if you don’t want to experience any issues with your game, wait for now and grab the fully-finished driver version when it appears. As for when that will be, we don’t know, as AMD hasn’t provided us with any expected time frame; but that shouldn’t be too long, hopefully.