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AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition

Conclusion

There you have it, AMD is keeping to its promise and delivering another big Radeon Software update here at the end of 2019.  The new AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition brings with it some new features and updates to existing features, plus a completely new interface app.  While this year’s update doesn’t necessarily focus on raw performance, it does bring a new feature that could improve performance in certain games.

What We Like

One thing that we like very much about this new software update is the improved installer.  It is very easy to use and should be simple for anyone to just install the software and go.  It doesn’t require much user-input upfront, you don’t have to select components, the easy install just works.  In addition, it has a Factory Reset that should help provide clean driver installs upon each driver installation.  The improved install time is also very welcomed as we all can appreciate that.

Re-Designed Interface App

There are many launch applications these days that games are tied to.  Steam was supposed to stop this, but it only got worse with every production company now having their own launcher and some games are bound with exclusives to certain launchers.  The idea of the new software app showing all your games and having one place to launch them all can be a benefit if you are a big gamer. 

We also like the fact that it shows your last sessions average FPS.  This lets you know how the game is performing overall.  Since Radeon Software options are built into the application you can tweak each game and launch it with specific Radeon settings.  IN this way you can compare performance with your last playthrough and see if you are helping or hurting FPS with certain features.  It’s a great way to compare performance.

Updates

All of the updates to AMD Radeon Software’s other features are welcome.  We see that AMD has made each option a global option now, instead of per-game which makes it easier to just enable and run.  We like the inclusion of the slider for the image sharpening and the ability to toggle it in-game will allow you to compare it off and on to see if you want it. 

AMD Wattman has been changed in name to the Tuning Tab.  It has new novice presets for easy overclocking, this should help you get an easy overclock.  The new ability for it to track and record information over time will be useful for seeing what’s going on with your clock speed and so forth. 

We also have to give a shout out to AMD Radeon Software’s live streaming capability.  It’s easy to access now, has a streamlined interface and can be accessed easily in-game.  We have to say AMD’s streaming in its Radeon Software is one of the best.  Paired with a Radeon GPU it has very little overhead and really works well with robust features that streamers need.  If you have a Radeon GPU you owe it to yourself to try the streaming in Radeon Software rather than OBS or some other third party.    

Radeon Boost

Now to the big one, Radeon Boost.  This one is tricky; it has the potential to be interesting.  The main issue is that it requires driver support.  If the game isn’t listed for support it won’t work.  It also only benefits a fraction of what you do while gaming.  It operates on fast camera movements, fast-moving of the mouse, but in terms of actual real-time gameplay, it doesn’t change.  The idea is that it lowers resolution on fast camera movements since you don’t see those details.  It’s an interesting idea, but without a lot of experience with it yet we really can’t say how advantageous it really is.

What We Don’t Like

User Profiles

For novice users, the user profile idea is sound. It enables features they might not know exists. As enthusiasts or knowledgeable gamers or hardware reviewers, it gives us pause.  While some may find benefit in having built-in Radeon Software profiles that you select, it can also introduce some problems.  With the new User Profile feature, you select between a Gaming profile, an E-Sports profile or Standard Profile.  The Gaming and E-Sports profiles enable certain features.  These features will change the performance of your gaming.  The question is though do you exactly want all those features on? 

How we feel it should work is that perhaps it should show you the list of things it is changing.  In that way, you can uncheck the items you don’t want to be enabled with that profile.  As it is now you don’t really know what it’s enabling, and so you don’t know what to turn off if you manually go in and do that. 

In addition, it can be a nightmare for reviewers.  If a reviewer is to chose Gaming or E-Sports this will skew their results.  If a reader of said hardware review website is reading a video card review, they may get the wrong impression about video card performance.  It is now very important that reviewers are on the up and up and actually select the Standard profile or just not launch Radeon Software at all and don’t lie to you.  It is also important that they write down or mention what Radeon Software profile they are using. 

So be warry as a reader, make sure you know what profile setting they are using or not using.  We here at TheFPSReview will always use the Standard profile if we launch Radeon Software. Otherwise, we will just install the driver and not even touch Radeon Software.

Radeon Boost

The other thing that gives us pause from a review perspective is Radeon Boost.  This is another feature that could skew review results if it is enabled by the reviewer.  If it is turned on, and those games in the list are tested with manual run-throughs then the results will be different than with it off.  It is once again on the burden of all reviewers to make sure it is off and to be on the up and up about that.  Make sure when you as the reader read reviews that it is mentioned if that feature is on or off.  We here at TheFPSReview will keep it off to make a fair comparison. 

The other component of Radeon Boost that we don’t like is the fact that it does require driver support.  This means only a select amount of games will support it, and it will be up to AMD to include new game support in their drivers.  This means if a new game is released it could be a while before we see a driver that supports that game, if ever.  It reminds us of CrossFire profiles all over again.  Anything profile-based, or requiring specific driver support is typically frowned upon due to slow integration, or never being integrated.

Performance

While performance has increased in drivers overall in the last year, it would have been nice to have one of the feature updates be an actual performance increase across the board.  I guess we can’t always have that, but with a big driver release like that, it would be nice to see.  We’ve seen it before in past annual updates.  Stay tuned though because we are going to test 2019 driver performance from AMD for our year-end driver performance testing.

Final Points

To sum it up we are happy to see AMD continue its annual driver update package.  New features have been introduced, a new interface, new updates to features.  It’s a complete package and AMD has one of the best software packages culminated from its driver install.  AMD ReLive and streaming really are impressive for those that do YouTube, Twitch and or streaming.  We are happy to see the new interface and the information it provides.  It’s also great that AMD offers a Tuning Tab that allows overclocking, that’s unique. 

You really do have to commend AMD for its robust software.  AMD has come a long way from the ATI days of lackluster and unstable software.  AMD provides the best package of features in drivers you can get for its video cards.

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