A few weeks ago, AMD took the courtesy of revealing the name (and nothing else) of their upcoming 2017 major feature update for Radeon Software. But today, the totality of AMD’s Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition is finally upon us. Succeeding Crimson and Crimson ReLive Editions, Adrenalin continues AMD’s yearly cadence of driver software features pushing, among other things, the user experience (UX) angle.

For the headliners, Adrenalin introduces the new Radeon Overlay and the AMD Link mobile app. Beyond that, this update is quite reminiscent of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.7.2, bringing a number of widespread improvements and expanded support for current features. Among the highlights is Enhanced Sync 'E-Sync' for all GCN GPUs, a generic Radeon Chill profile, WattMan profile saving/loading, a slew of new ReLive streamer features, and streamer-oriented social media integration. Otherwise, Adrenalin 17.12.1 comes with a bevy of bug fixes for games, including, yes, a fix for the Overwatch hanging issue.

Radeon Software in 2017: What’s Old is New and What’s New is New

To start, Adrenalin is in a curious spot considering that July’s wide-ranging 17.7.2 already brought a variety of enhancements and features. So as a yearly feature update, there’s less build-up than Crimson or Crimson ReLive. And in some ways, Adrenalin is less flashy than Crimson ReLive, which included so many hardware-dependent features that tables were necessary to make sense of it all.

While this might make Adrenalin seem less extensive, today’s release is simply more UX and streaming/social focused, building off of what has already been established in previous versions. For Adrenalin’s marquee features, Radeon Overlay and AMD Link, they are more about the different ways of presenting Radeon Settings features to the user, rather than features in and of itself.

As a set, AMD is pushing Enhanced Sync, ReLive, Radeon Chill, and WattMan together, and to a lesser extent Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC), most of which get wrapped up into Radeon Overlay (and AMD Link). We won’t be going too much in depth with the details of these technologies, but our earlier Crimson Edition and Crimson ReLive Edition coverage are worth reading if these terms are unfamiliar.

As for AMD’s promise of a minimum six annual WHQL drivers, they remain faithful. Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 is intended to be WHQL certified at launch, and would mark the 8th WHQL release of the year (after 17.7.2, 17.9.3, and 17.11.1). Though to be clear, not all of these releases were WHQL certified at launch-day, but were updated later with WHQL certification. However, as we have mentioned in the past, WHQL certification does not cover game-specific bugs. So 17.11.1 WHQL has no bearing on whether Overwatch crashes or not (though Adrenalin does happen to resolve that particular issue).

But What About Vega?

A good amount of readers, and not just ours, are strongly under the impression that Adrenalin is an RX Vega super driver. This is not the case. Adrenalin is explicitly focused on the broader Radeon user base; it does not bring any Vega-specific performance enhancements or documented changes to the behavior of Vega-specific hardware features. As for game-dependent enhancements to pre-existing games – features like Wolfenstein II’s Rapid Packed Math (RPM) support and to a lesser extent GPU Culling and Deferred Rendering – Adrenalin is not bringing any of those either. On that note, AMD commented that “any functionality or enhancements would have been made available with our day-0 game drivers and not held back for Adrenalin Edition.” This follows AMD's previous committment to immediate day-0 driver updates over larger update packages for performance.

Given the nature of Vega’s forward-looking hardware features, this might be seen as surprising. But since Omega, these major annual updates were never intended to be all-in-one wonder drivers. And as AMD has reiterated over the past couple years, their driver release methodology has shifted to immediate release for bug-fixes and launch-day drivers, while major annual releases focused on quality assurance, user experience, and software feature updates. Even at the time of last year’s Crimson ReLive, AMD stated that the days of 40%+ performance increase drivers were set to disappear.

So in short, Adrenalin details nothing Vega-specific and there was no information disclosed on what Vega optimizations are coming when. The focus is on interaction and availability of the features within.

Adrenalin Enhancements (1): E-Sync, Chill, WattMan & FRTC
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  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    I care about watts... Because although I live in a 1st world country... My electricity prices are trending towards 50' cents per KWH.

    With that... AMD ain't all bad as far as power consumption goes, VEGA for instance if you underclock and undervolt her, she can sip on the power... Still. I'll wait to upgrade from my Polaris card and hope Navi brings the goods next year.
  • Duckeenie - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - link

    "People like you care about Watts like you live in a 3rd world country."

    Donald Trump is broadening his horizons it seems, no longer is he content with trolling twitter.
  • Hurr Durr - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    If you`re triggered by what Trump says, you deserve it all.
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    MAGA! 8)
  • sonny73n - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    Only idiots would not care about Watts. Less Watts -> less heat -> less than noise -> better cooling -> better overclocking.
    Only idiots would not want greater efficiency.
  • BigCapitalist - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - link

    Also, Nvidia offers a rendering software for like $300 a year called Nvidia IRAY.

    AND offer ProRenderer for FREE, and guess what? It works with Nvidia GPUs unlike Nvidia not working with AMD GPUs.

    That's the kind of future we get with Nvidia, all they care about is money. A real business with a good business model cares about the consumer as well.
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    The consumer is free not to buy their products. Your name is ironic. Capitalism is simply don't steal and keep your word, the basic essence of free trade. "care" is an emotional concept, that's the sort of thing inferred by the customer, not implied by the seller. If NV is making pots, good, means they've found a market. Rule one of invention: identify a need.
  • JasonMZW20 - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - link

    "As for Vega, it's terrible in perf per W, perf per mm2 and much worse in perf per cost(note that cost and price are 2 different things). Vega 64 and 56 are a disaster for gaming and you are the one that lacks a clue, or objectivity."

    This just shows that you have never used one. I have 2 and they're both running within 200W* undervolted (Superposition can push this up to 250W due to the number of triangles it renders, but only if you raise the power limit). GTX 1080 is 180W, more if OC'd obviously.
    *165-212W in Wolfenstein 2 and Ashes of the Singularity, 4k60p. 1565MHz avg. @ 1.006-1.025v, 1100MHz HBM.

    If you want to brute force Vega, you obviously can with power limit increases and more voltage. I've found that that isn't worth it, unless you're going for outright performance or bragging rights in benches. Vega will easily pull over 300W (hit 306-326W in Superposition 4k optimized with auto voltages and +50% power limit), but it doesn't tend to gain a huge amount of performance. I'm more interested in its efficiency, and have been surprised by it. I'm not easily swayed by internet opinion though.
  • JasonMZW20 - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - link

    2 Vega64s*
  • Cellar Door - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - link

    "this is the beginning of the end for PC gaming" - you sound like some doomsday evangelist, the kind that is proven wrong repeatedly... every year.

    Your statements are two-part.
    a)something obvious that most can nod to
    b)absurd speculation to draw attention(probably a endorphin driven loop when you get replies)

    This site really needs an upvote system to weed out this sort of behavior.

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