Earlier this week, we showed you how microstuttering taints the appeal of AMD's latest Radeon HD 7990 graphics card. We also saw a prototype frame pacing feature smooth out that uneven frame delivery, resulting in noticeably more fluid graphics in some games. At the time, we didn't have a good sense of when the prototype tech would make it into a publicly available beta, let alone a WHQL-certified release. In a Twitter Q&A session yesterday, however, AMD shed more light on when a beta can be expected. Here's the exchange:
@AMDRadeon when will the new prototype driver will be ready for the public to download? as in, the driver that is addressing frame metering
AMD Radeon Graphics
.@ILoveHitMarkers We're anticipating a beta release in the June/July timeframe. I should note that single-GPU pacing is already fixed. ^RH
Folks with CrossFire configs and dual-GPU Radeons like the 7990 may have to wait 2-3 months for the first public beta driver with frame pacing support. While it's nice to see AMD taking steps to address the microstuttering problem, we should note that Nvidia has had similar frame metering tech since our original inside-the-second article back in 2011. The Radeon team is playing catch-up on this front.
Because techniques like frame metering and frame pacing are applied at the end of the pipeline, they may not be a silver bullet for multi-GPU stuttering. Uneven frame dispatch early in the pipeline can impact in-game animation, causing jitter in the contents of the smoothed-out frames. The effectiveness of frame smoothing implementations may vary from game to game depending on how the engine maintains its internal timing.