AMD Radeon VII Compute and Pro Driver Performance Over Time

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AMD Radeon Pro drivers on AMD Radeon VII?
Oh Yes We Did.


This evaluation is a follow-up to our previous review: AMD Radeon VII Then vs. Now Gaming Performance.  If you have not read that review, please do so now.  That review linked above focused on real-world gaming performance of the AMD Radeon VII.  We compared the press driver at launch February 7th, 2019, to the most recent driver at the time of the review.  That review focused completely on gaming, and told us how performance has or has not evolved since its launch. 

Today’s review is going to focus on other aspects of the AMD Radeon VII video card.  This review today is going to use synthetic benchmarks to test specific features.  The purpose and goal of testing the video card using these benchmarks is to test the content creation aspect of performance in relation to compute/GPGPU, API, and video encoding.  The benchmarks shown in this review today will tell you nothing of the gaming performance, please keep this in mind. 

More Than Just Gaming

In our AMD Radeon VII Then vs. Now Gaming Performance review we talked about the AMD Radeon VII being a “dual-wielding” video card.  This means that the video card is built for gaming as well as professional/content creator type of workloads.  While we tested the gaming part of the video card in the previous article, we will now focus on that other part of the video card that is so often overlooked.  We are going to test its performance when it comes to professional compute workloads. 

We have to keep in mind that not everyone buys a video card for the same reason.  Many people are looking for video cards to help them accelerate compute or GPGPU workloads.  Others are looking for the best video encoder performance.  While others still want the most efficient API acceleration for certain workloads like OpenGL, Vulkan or OpenCL.  These are all aspects of the AMD Radeon VII that it is capable of, and the word on the street is that it is very good at these things.

Our Focus and Setup

Today’s review is very focused, and similar to the previous one.  We are going to test performance from the launch date to now to see how performance has improved.  Only this time we are looking at compute performance, not gaming performance.  We are going to the test the Adrenalin Press Driver version 19.2.1 released on January 22nd, 2019 versus the latest Adrenalin release driver which right now is Adrenalin 19.6.2 with a date of June 24th, 2019.

Radeon Pro Drivers

In addition, we are taking things one step further and testing the video card with AMD’s Radeon Pro drivers as well!  To our knowledge, no one has actually done this yet, even though it is now supported.  Back in February AMD announced it was opening up support for the AMD Radeon VII to be able to run AMD’s Radeon Pro Enterprise suite of drivers.  You can read those announcements here and here.  Though it was revealed that the Radeon series would not necessarily be getting the direct workstation optimizations like the Pro series of GPUs would receive with the drivers. 

However, the Radeon VII would still benefit from the stability support, and standard feature set and security features as well as “Commercial Application Performance.”  Even though it isn’t necessarily getting the “Workstation” optimizations it still needs to ultimately be tested to find out once and for all if the Pro drivers improve performance or not in compute workloads.  We are going to tackle that today.        

Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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