Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 Performance Analysis for RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition versus the 19.7.1 Launch Drivers

As a BabelTechReviews regular feature, this Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 driver performance analysis will chart the performance of 40 PC games using these latest drivers which released yesterday. We will compare the 19.8.1 drivers with the public launch 19.7.1 drivers which released July 7 using the the Anniversary Edition (AE) of the RX 5700 XT.

When we reviewed the RX 5700 XT AE we found it to be a very capable card but with very immature drivers that caused us many issues:

“Drivers are immature.  Using WattMan caused many game lockups, crashes to desktop, and restarts.”

Since launch, AMD has released five additional beta drivers, and we want to document the changes in performance and stability from 19.7.1 to 19.8.1. We benchmark at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions using the latest games, and we also recently added Anno 1800, F1 2019, and Total War: Vermintide II.  In addition, Hitman 2 and TW: Warhammer II are run on DX11 and on DX12.

Our testing platform uses a Core i7-8700K which turbos all 6 cores to 4.8GHz, an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, and 16GB of T-FORCE XTREEM DDR4 at 3866MHz.  The games tested, settings, and hardware are the same except for the driver versions being compared.

We had to RMA our original RX 5700 XT because it had issues with our Oculus Rift, and the desktop would fade to black whenever we plugged it in.  Fortunately, the replacement RX 5700 XT has identical game boost clock characteristics as the original card.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-8700K (HyperThreading and Turbo boost are on to 4.8GHz 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
  • T-FORCE XTREEM (2×8 GB, dual channel at 3866 MHz), supplied by Team Group
  • RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition 8 GB, at stock AE speeds
  • EVGA Nu Audio PCIe soundcard, supplied by EVGA
  • 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
  • Edifier R1280T active speakers
  • EVGA DG-77, mid-tower case supplied by EVGA
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

Test Configuration – Software

  • AMD’s Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.8.1 is compared with 19.7.1
  • 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 v1903. 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; Hitman 2 and TW: Warhammer II are run on both pathways.  Three games use the Vulkan API.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication
  • Wattman
  • OCAT
  • Fraps

40 PC Game benchmark suite & 3 synthetic tests

Synthetic

  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Time Spy DX12
  • Superposition

DX11 Games

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • The Witcher 3
  • Fallout 4
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Overwatch
  • Battlefield 1
  • For Honor
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Prey
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Project CARS 2
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Destiny 2
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Far Cry 5
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Conan: Exiles
  • F1 2018
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Hitman 2
  • Just Cause 4
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Devil May Cry 5

DX12 Games

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided
  • Gears of War 4
  • Civilization VI
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Forza 7
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Total War: Vermintide II
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Battlefield V
  • Hitman 2
  • Metro Exodus
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  • F1 2019
  • Anno 1800

Vulkan Games

  • DOOM
  • Wolfenstein: The New Colossus 
  • Strange Brigade

AMD Control Center Radeon Settings

All AMD settings are set with all optimizations 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 the driver performance of each edition can be compared identically.  We used Wattman to set power limits to their maximum to prevent throttling.

Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 can be downloaded starting here.  The release notes are found here.  The included highlights below are quoted directly from AMD’s website:

  • Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.8.1 Highlights

    Support For

    • Microsoft® PlayReady®3.0
      •  Supported on Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products.

    Fixed Issues

    • Some system configurations may experience color corruption after install of Radeon Software when running Windows® 10 May 2019 update. Issue is resolved in the latest Windows® Update 18362.267 (KB4505903)
    • Radeon Chill settings may not sync with game profile settings when changed in-game through Radeon Overlay
    • Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products may experience a black screen or flickering when applying auto overclocking memory with games or applications running in fullscreen
    • Radeon AntiLag may slightly impact performance in select games
    • Radeon RX 5700 Series Graphics may experience a black screen during uninstall on Windows®7 system configurations. A work around is to perform uninstall in safe mode.
    • Recording clips with Radeon ReLive may result in blank clips on Radeon RX 5700 Series Graphics with Windows®7 system configurations.

    Known Issues

    • Stutter may be experienced when Radeon FreeSync is enabled on 240hz refresh displays with Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products.
    • Radeon Performance Metrics may report incorrect VRAM utilization.
    • AMD Radeon VII may experience elevated memory clocks at idle or on desktop.
    • Radeon Overlay may intermittently fail to appear when toggled in game.
    • Audio for clips captured by Radeon ReLive may be corrupted or garbled when desktop recording is enabled.
    • Enabling Enhanced Sync may cause game, application or system crashes on Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products.

    Important Notes

    • AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics FAQ for Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition can be found here.

    Package Contents

    The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.8.1 installation package contains the following:

    • Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.8.1 Driver Version 19.30.01.29  (Windows Driver Store Version 26.20.13001.29010)

    The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.8.1 installation package can be downloaded from the following links:

    By clicking the Download button, you are confirming that you have read and agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the End User License Agreement (“EULA”).  If you do not agree to the terms and conditions of these licenses, you do not have a license to any of the AMD software provided by this download.

###

Let’s check the charts to compare the driver changes from the public launch 19.7.1 Adrenalin Software Edition to the newest Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 drivers.

The Summary Charts

Below are the summary charts of 40 games and 3 synthetic tests.  Each game’s performance is charted to compare the driver progression of the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.8.1 from 19.7.1. The highest settings are chosen, the two driver versions and the specific 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.  The games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the minimums are expressed by frametimes in ms where lower numbers are better.

The RX 5700 XT AE 19.8.1 Adrenalin driver performance in column one is compared with the launch 19.7.1 driver in column 2.  Yellow text indicates a “win” for the highest performing result between the two drivers, and if the performance is equal, both sets of numbers are given in yellow text.

We see generally performance improvements from the public launch 18.7.1 drivers to the latest 19.8.1 drivers, and some of them are significant.  More importantly, stability has greatly increased over the past month since launch.

There are still some issues.  For example, Middle Earth: Shadow of War benchmark still exhibits a lot of stuttering and hitching, and we did have an occasional game lock-up, but no issues that required us to reboot our PC as with the launch drivers.

Let’s head to our conclusion.

Conclusion:

For RX 5700 XT owners, we would highly recommend upgrading to the latest Radeon Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 from any previous driver set because there are performance and stability advantages, especially depending on which game you are playing.  If we gave an award for driver software, we would be inclined to give Adrenalin Software Edition 19.8.1 the “Most Improved” award compared with the Navi launch drivers which released in poor condition last month.

Over time, Adrenalin software drivers usually demonstrate continued positive performance improvement which may be more notable with some of the newer games.  The new features of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 annual software update are being improved continuing with the 19.8.1 edition, and they are worth exploring.

We continue to add new games to our benching suite including Wolfenstein: Youngblood to replace The New Order, with an eventual goal of 50.  If you would like to make requests for games to be added or dropped, please let us know in the comment section below.

We are benchmarking in preparation for a PowerColor Red Devil RX 5700 review and will have it up before the end of this week.  After the follow-up overclocking showdown between the Red Devil RX 5700 and the RTX SUPER cards, we will head back into VR for a performance comparison featuring the Vive Pro and the Oculus Rift.

Happy gaming!