Adrenalin Software Edition 19.1.2 Performance Analysis featuring the Liquid-cooler RX Vega 64 with 28 Games

As a BabelTechReviews regular feature, this driver performance analysis will chart the performance of 28 PC games using the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.2 which was released last week. We will compare these new drivers with the 18.9.1 drivers from last September using the liquid-cooled edition of the RX Vega 64 that we are benching in preparation for our Overclocking Showdown with the RX 2070 Founders Edition later this week.

We document the performance changes of the current Adrenalin Software 19.1.2 Edition on Windows 10 at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions.  Our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 10 64-bit Home Edition, and we are using an i7-8700K which turbos all 6 cores to 4.7 GHz, an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, and 16GB of HyperX DDR4 3333MHz. The games tested, settings, and hardware are identical except for the drivers being compared

For the performance changes of the Adrenalin 19.1.2 drivers from 18.9.1 using 28 games, let’s get to the test configuration, to the driver release notes, and then to our results.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-8700K (HyperThreading and Turbo boost are on to 4.7 GHz for all cores; Coffee Lake DX11 CPU graphics).
  • EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard (Intel Z370 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x), supplied by EVGA
  • HyperX 16GB DDR4 (2×8 GB, dual channel at 3333 MHz), supplied by HyperX
  • Gigabyte RX Vega 64 8 GB Liquid-cooled edition, at stock LC speeds
  • 480 GB Team Group SSD
  • 1.92 TB San Disk enterprise class SSD
  • 2 TB Micron 1100 SSD
  • Seasonic 850W Gold Focus power supply unit
  • EVGA CLC 280mm CPU water cooler, supplied by EVGA
  • Onboard Realtek Audio
  • Genius SP-D150 speakers, supplied by Genius
  • EVGA DG-77, mid-tower case supplied by EVGA
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

Test Configuration – Software

  • AMD’s Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.2 is compared with 18.9.1.
  • VSync is forced off.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified
  • Gaming results show average frame rates in bold including minimum frame rates shown on the chart next to the averages in a smaller italics font.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition. All DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths.  DX12 titles are generally run under the DX12 render path unless performance is lower than with DX11.  Three games use the Vulkan API.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 28 games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication
  • Wattman
  • OCAT
  • Fraps, latest version

28 PC Game benchmark suite & 2 synthetic tests

Synthetic

  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Time Spy DX12

DX11 Games

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • The Witcher 3
  • Fallout 4
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Battlefield 1
  • Resident Evil 7
  • For Honor
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Prey
  • Project CARS 2
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Destiny 2
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Far Cry 5
  • The Crew 2
  • F1 2018

DX12 Games

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Hitman
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided
  • Gears of War 4
  • Civilization VI
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Forza 7
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

AMD Control Center Radeon Settings

All AMD settings are set with all optimizations are off, Vsync is forced off, Texture filtering is set to High, and Tessellation uses application settings.  These same settings are used across all drivers so that driver performance of each edition can be compared identically.

We used Wattman to set power, temperature, and fan limits to their maximums to prevent throttling. Software Adrenalin 19.1.2 Edition can be found starting here.  The release notes can be found here.  The included highlights below are taken directly from AMD’s website.

Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.2 Highlights

Support For

  • Resident Evil® 2
  • Tropico™ 6
  • Anthem™ Early Access
    • Up to 7% faster performance in Anthem using Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.1.2 on the Radeon™ RX 580 graphics card than with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.1 at 1920×1080 (1080p).RS-284

Fixed Issues

  • Some displays may experience a black screen on reboot until the display is power cycled.
  • A toast message may intermittently popup incorrectly suggesting that a new driver upgrade is available.
  • Rocket League™ may experience flickering or erratic refresh rates when Radeon FreeSync is enabled.
  • Custom installations of Radeon Software may sometimes fail to install Radeon Settings.
  • Radeon Settings may experience an application crash when Upgrade Advisor is refreshed by the user multiple times.
  • Users may not be able to upgrade to an optional driver if the latest recommended driver was installed by AMD Link.

Known Issues

  • Battlefield™ V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived.
  • Mouse lag or system slowdown is observed for extended periods of time with two or more displays connected and one display switched off.
  • Game Advisor may fail to load compatibility information for games when the gaming library is very large.
  • Uninstalling Radeon Software may fail to remove Radeon Settings.
  • Pixel Format settings may not retain after system restart.
  • Scene Editor may have issues with scrolling when many elements are added to a scene.
  • Custom settings in Radeon WattMan may sometimes fail to apply on Radeon RX Vega series graphics products.
  • Radeon ReLive may intermittently experience captured recordings or Instant Replays with inverted colors.
  • HDMI Underscan settings may not retain after system restart.

Footnotes

RS-284 Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of January 23rd, 2019 on the 8GB Radeon™ RX 580, on a test system comprising of Intel i7 7700k CPU (4.2 GHz), 16GB DDR4-3000 Mhz system memory, and Windows 10 x64. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. With the ultra-preset setting on Anthem at 1920×1080, Radeon™ RX 580 scored 60.6 FPS with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.1, whereas the Radeon™ RX 580 scored 64.9 FPS with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.1.2. Comparing software versions, Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.1.2 has up to 7% faster performance in Anthem. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RS-284

Let’s head to the charts to compare the driver changes from the 18.9.1 Adrenalin Software Edition to the brand new Adrenalin Software 19.1.2 Edition which released last week.

The Summary Charts

Below are the summary charts of 28 games and 2 synthetic tests.  The games’ performance are charted to compare the driver progression of the RX Vega 64 from 18.9.1 to the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.2. 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.

Column one shows the latest 19.1.2 driver performance and column two represents 18.9.1.  Yellow text indicates a “win” for the higher performing driver and if the performance is equal, both sets of numbers are given in yellow text.

There were mostly incremental performance improvement with the RX Vega 64 using the latest Adrenalin 19.1.2 drivers over September’s 18.9.1 drivers.  Of the older games, GTA V, The Witcher 3, Rainbow 6 Siege, RE 7, and Shadow of War gained a little performance while several DX12 games mostly also gained some good performance.  There is still a Vulkan bug present with DOOM and with Strange Brigade that is not present with our RX Vega 56 that may be very difficult to resolve, so it may be easier to play them using the OpenGL and DX12 APIs respectively.

The RX Vega 64 shows mostly continued positive performance improvements, and a few of them are substantial in some of the newer games including Shadow of the Tomb Raider.  There were a few incremental regressions with the last driver set, but overall the performance continues to improve with Vega using the latest Adrenalin drivers

Let’s head to our conclusion.

Conclusion:

We would definitely recommend upgrading to the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.1.2 from any previous driver set because there are advantages that are sometimes quite significant, depending on which game you are playing.  We found this driver to be very stable and we encountered no significant issues with any of our games except with the Vulkan bug which is very specific to certain hardware configurations.

The new features of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 annual software update are continually being improved continuing with the 19.1.2 edition, and they are welcome and worth exploring.  The advantages of the latest drivers outweigh any disadvantages.

POLL: Do you want to see competing cards compared in future driver reviews?

We would like to ask BTR’s readers, do you want to see the performance of competing cards compared in future driver performance analyses?  For example, would you like to see the performance of NVIDIA cards, the RTX 2070, the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060, also compared with the RX Vega 64, the RX Vega 56, and the RX 590?  Please use Disqus to comment below, and/or use our poll that we are continuing from our last driver performance analysis.
[poll id=”1″]

This week we will continue our Overclocking Showdown series. We will compare the overclocked-to-the-max Liquid Cooled RX Vega 64 versus the overclocked RTX 2070 FE later this 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.  Please don’t forget to vote in our poll to let us know if you want to see competing NVIDIA cards in future AMD driver performance analyses and competing AMD cards in GeForce driver comparisons.

Happy gaming!