Introduction

AMD’s annual big AMD Radeon Software release is upon us.  What started in December of 2014 with AMD Catalyst Omega continues to this day, 2021 with a brand-new big software release with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.  The AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 Release is here.  This new driver version brings some big updates to the AMD Radeon Software suite to make your experience better.  It also brings new features and functionality, plus some improved UI elements. 

This driver isn’t so much about any big game performance updates, rather feature and user experience updates.  Although AMD emphasizes it continually updates drivers to improve performance over time for video cards, and it is important they have day-one support for new games.

AMD’s Past Updates

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 Innovation Never Stops Presentation Slide

Let’s first talk about some of AMD’s goals with AMD Radeon Adrenalin, and some big updates it made to the software not so long ago.  Starting back in July of 2019 some new features were added with the Radeon RX 5700 XT launch, Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Image Sharpening, and FidelityFX CAS.  Those technologies are still used today and have been expanded upon since release. 

Then in December of 2019 came a major change for AMD Radeon Software, it got an entirely new user interface.  The entire look and feel of the software was changed, this was a huge change from the previous look. In addition, Radeon Boost, Integer Display Scaling, and User Profiles were introduced. 

Then, in May of 2020, another big update came and new FidelityFX features added.  AMD FidelityFX Screen Space Reflections, Ambient Occlusion, HDR Mapper, and Downsampler.  There are SDKs available for developers to include these features in games. 

Then just recently, in March of 2021 with the launch of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Radeon Anti-Lag was updated to support DX12, there was a brand-new Performance Stress Test feature added and Frame Rate Target Control.

Performance

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 And Neither Does Your Gaming Presentation Slide

When it comes to performance, AMD releases frequent drivers every month, which fixes issues and gradually improves performance in some games.  The Radeon RX 5700 XT for example has seen some large improvements over its lifetime through driver released, like a 23% performance increase in Wolfenstein Young Blood since launch.  It has appreciated 30 game day-0 releases since its launch.  We hope to see these trends continue with the Radeon RX 6000 series.

Reliability

Other improvements made to the software are reliability-related.  There is an AMD Bug Reporting tool built into the software and AMD Crash Defender.  With the bug reporting when a bug is encountered it will fill in the information and make it simple to send that report which gets sent directly to the right people at AMD to get the problems resolved.  The Crash Defender can help keep your system running if a crash occurs due to driver issues. Crash Defender is only supported on Windows 10.

AMD is hard at work with the new driver stability methodology deployed for Radeon RX 6000 Series Graphics.  There is a community forum on AMD.com that addresses questions from the public.  Moving forward there will be new processes to help test stability and monitor issues and trends.

Vivid Visuals

The next big topic is improving visuals with AMD’s initiative called Vivid Visuals.  This includes Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Boost, and AMD FreeSync.  The other part of Vivid Visuals is AMD’s FidelityFX suite of features for games. 

One of these is AMD Radeon Image Sharpening.  You can turn this feature on in the driver and it will be applied for all games.  It supports DX9, DX11, DX12 and Vulkan games.  It does not need special coding from game developers, it operates simply by the driver and just applies the sharpening in every game.  This can make clearer details in games, removing blurry textures.

Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. Bored, installed new driver package on Pop OS.

    Didn’t see any difference really, but it’s comforting to see a bunch of lines whizzing by in Terminal. I’ma get me a cookie and some hot soup.

    It’s snowing here today!

  2. Looks pretty nice.

    I haven’t had an AMD GPU for a while, but when I last did (Radeon HD 7970 in 2012) I remember thinking the Catalyst Control Center was rather limited compared to Nvidia Control Panel I was used to.

    Looks like they have come a long way in narrowing the gap.

    I don’t claim to quite understand AMD’ driver naming though. It used to be Catalyst, now it’s apparently Adrenaline. What’s wrong with just naming them "AMD Radeon Driver <version number>"?

  3. Yeah AMD has put a lot into their driver team in the last 5 years. I’d put it ahead of nVidia right now. GeForce Experience can kiss my @ss.
  4. Yeah AMD has put a lot into their driver team in the last 5 years. I’d put it ahead of nVidia right now. GeForce Experience can kiss my @ss.

    Oh, I always select to not install the GeForce experience when I install Nvidia drivers. Its completely pointless to me. Everything I need is in the Nvidia control panel.

    That and GeForce experience only works properly when you run it under an admin account, which is poor security practice. I ahve an admind account that only gets used when I need it. I do everything day to day in a restricted user account. Just about every software out there works well by popping up a UAC dialogue and asking for the admin pass when it needs it, but GeForce experience has always failed in this regard.

    Same with Epic Game Store. I refuse to use it myself, but I have a young teenage stepson.

    Expected experience:
    1.) Run Epic game store under non-admin account.
    2.) If you try to do anyhting that requires admin rights (install game, dependencies etc.) pop up UAC enter password.
    3.) Software installs

    This just doesn’t work. If you want Epic to install anything at all, you have to log out of the restricted user account, and log in to the admin account and install it.

    It’s really stupid, but I guess that is to be expected out of Epic.

Leave a comment