Performance Charts & Conclusion

The Summary Chart

Below are the summary charts of 38 games and 2 synthetic tests.  The games’ performance are charted to compare the driver progression of the RX 590 from its press launch Adrenalin 18.8.40 to 18.12.1 and then 18.12.2; and RX Vega 56 from 18.9.1 to 18.12.1 to the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2. The highest settings are chosen and the settings are listed on the charts.  The benches were run at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.  Open each chart in a separate window or tab for best viewing.

Most results show average framerates and higher is better. Minimum framerates are next to the averages in italics and in a slightly smaller font.  A few games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the minimums are expressed by frametimes in ms where lower numbers are better.

The first three columns represents the RX 590’s performance. Column one shows the latest 18.12.2 driver performance, column two represents 18.12.1, and column three represents the launch drivers 18.8.40.  The fourth column, fifth column, and final sixth column represent the RX Vega 56’s performance – column four uses the latest 18.12.2 driver, column five represents 18.12.1, and column six represents 18.9.1.   An “X” means the benchmark was not run or compared.

The Red Devil RX Vega 56 shows mostly positive performance improvements and some of them are rather substantial in some of the newer games.  There are a few regressions with some games, however, but they appear to be relatively minor except for Far Cry 5 and especially with Forza 7.  NVIDIA cards also show a performance regression with Far Cry 5, so there may be more at play than the Adrenalin 2019 drivers here.  And Wolfenstein cannot be compared directly as we lowered the preset from “Mein Leiber” to “Uber”.

On the other hand, there was very little performance improvement with the RX 590 using the latest drivers, and they tend to be mostly incremental.  There are also some minor regressions except with Far Cry 5 and especially with Forza 7.

Unfortunately, we were hit with the same Vulkan bug in DOOM (only) when installing the latest driver with the RX 590 that previously crashed all Vulkan games to desktop as we reported with earlier drivers.  It was never a problem with the RX Vega 56, however.

This Vulkan issue that we experience appears to be dependent on specific system configurations and it does not affect all cards nor all Vulkan games now.  It has been acknowledged by the Vulkan developers, and it was not possible for us to fix it short of editing the Windows Registry.  Reinstalling the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.12.2 after running DDU in safe mode did not help with launching DOOM nor did installing the Vulkan SDK, and we unsuccessfully tried several other recommended fixes.

There is one other issue to be aware of.  A Reddit r/AMD post reported that there is an issue with the date of Adrenalin 2019 SW driver written as 12/6/2018.  The Windows Update published driver uses an older version 25.20.14021.6002 with its driver date of 12/13/2018.  So the Windows Update may overwrite the latest driver with its own driver as detailed here.  This will probably be addressed by the Radeon driver team as they are aware of it.

The Bigger Picture

We compare the Red Devil RX 590’s performance in column one using the latest Adrenalin 2019 Edition drivers with the EVGA GTX 1060 SC, its main rival, in column two.  We also compare the Red Devil RX Vega 56 in Column three versus the RTX 2070 Founders Edition in Column four.   Both NVIDIA cards are using GeForce Game Ready drivers 417.01.

Let’s head to our conclusion.


We would definitely recommend upgrading to the latest Radeon Software 2019 Adrenalin Edition 18.12.2 from any previous driver set because there are advantages that are sometimes quite significant, depending on which game you are playing as we found especially with the RX Vega 56.  The RX 590 saw less of a performance increase but the regressions are generally incremental.

The new features of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 annual software update are welcome and are really worth exploring, and its advantages outweigh any disadvantages.

This week we will explore DLSS and DXR further with the Turing cards, and you can expect a new entry to BTR’s “Retro Series” by next week.

In the meantime, join BTR’s Community for great tech discussions and also feel free to comment on this Performance Analysis in the comments section below.

Happy gaming!