Radeon Software 16.7.1 lands with power fixes for RX 480

There's been no small amount of talk in the past week or so surrounding the PCIe slot power draw from AMD's new Radeon RX 480 graphics card. Now AMD is releasing a driver specifically targeted at 480 owners who are concerned with the amount of power drawn from the PCIe slot on the motherboard. This update, update 16.7.1, was announced Tuesday, along with a number of details of the planned fix.

AMD doesn't put the power draw changes under the "Fixed Issues" section of the driver description, opting to keep the changes under "Highlights." The company does, however, explicitly call out power distribution changes on the PCIe bus for the card, and says that it is adding a "compatibility mode" option to its Radeon software options. AMD also highlights performance improvements on the RX 480 from this driver, which it says will "substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the 'compatibility' toggle."

Along with the added power options and general performance tweaks, the driver should fix a few known issues with popular games, including Grand Theft Auto V, Doom, and Hitman. Another fixed issue noted in the driver release is a nebulous statement about fixing "limited PCIe bandwidth" on the RX 480. If you are interested in downloading the new drivers or want to read the gory details in the release notes, they are available at AMD's support site.

All of these changes sound like a pretty good resolution to a rather shaky start for the 480, assuming the performance numbers really aren't changing much with compatibility mode turned on. The good folks over at PC Perspective have already released some power numbers with the fix applied, and their work suggests that things are looking much better for the new card. We're rushing to get you a few choice frame-time benchmarks and fresh power numbers with the new drivers, as well.

Comments closed
    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    Interesting that the regulator actually has options for this to be controlled through software.

    [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/223981/amd-releases-pci-express-power-draw-fix-we-tested-confirmed-works[/url<]

      • MDBT
      • 3 years ago

      Nice that someone actually tested this, thanks for the link.

    • Puiucs
    • 3 years ago

    A nice and timely fix. Glad that we can finally put this power issue to rest.

      • TheMonkeyKing
      • 3 years ago

      Tech Power shows that there is improvement but only to the point of not frying the mobos. There will most likely be further power enhancements this year. Also, once the vendors’ non-reference cards start appearing, we should be seeing better power characteristics too.

    • smilingcrow
    • 3 years ago

    It’s a relief to see that the chip itself isn’t to blame.
    I wonder if they can also reduce the idle power consumption via a new driver?
    I was starting to think that the 1060 was going to eat this for lunch especially when over-clocked but who knows what the custom 480 boards with 8 pin power will manage! Game on again.

    Some very red faces at the design and validation departments and even with red being the ATI color that might not help them. 🙂

      • watzupken
      • 3 years ago

      I think the chip is fine. I suspect that AMD wanted to avoid showing their card requires more power and therefore decided to go with a 6pin instead of 8pin. That will also help drive cost down somewhat with less wiring on the PCB. Just my thought, but I could be wrong.

      Anyway, its good to see AMD respond to this in a timely manner.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    In German but the graphs speak for themselves: [url<]http://www.tomshardware.de/amd-radeon-rx-480-polaris-grafikkarte-treiber,testberichte-242146.html[/url<] It looks like AMD solved the big problem with the motherboard overdraw. The card is now in spec, especially in the "compatibility" mode. It's right on the edge of that spec, but it complies.

    • Demetri
    • 3 years ago

    Judging from PCP’s numbers, they haven’t actually fixed it. It still exceeds the spec, just not as bad as it used to.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      It’s actually (edit) mostly compliant on PCI-E in “compatibility” mode, though overdrawing 6-pin but that should be fine (way over designed). 70W from the PCI-E 5.5A spec of 66 watts probably isn’t anything to think much of, and “Compatibility mode” makes it exactly 66/67W. I’d hope any board has at least 6% over provisioning at any rate, and the spec is built well past that.

      But I’d just go for compat mode anyways, there’s barely any performance hit

        • Leader952
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]It's actually fully compliant on PCI-E in "compatibility" mode[/quote<] Which is OFF by default. Oh and it is still not compliant on PCI-E even in "compatibility" mode [quote<]Current still doesn’t make it down to 5.5A in our testing, but the PEG slot is now pulling 5.75A in our worst case scenario, more than a full amp lower than measured with the 16.6.2 launch driver. [url<]http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-RX-480-Power-Consumption-Concerns-Fixed-1671-Driver/Power-Testing-[/url<] [/quote<]

          • DarkUltra
          • 3 years ago

          Strange AMD didn’t reduce it further, how much will the card draw over the PCI-e connector when over-overclocked?

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      I’d be curious to see how my old GTX660 would have handled it’s 140W draw from the PCIe slot and its single 6-pin….

      Given how spiky those lines are, and how they fluctuate +/- 20W or so, the 660 was probably pulling more than 75W from the 6-pin plug, or it was riding right up at the 75W motherboard slot limit too.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Kudos to AMD for getting the fix out in such a timely manner, and without negative impacts to performance (contrary to my earlier predictions).

    I’m really curious to see how the 120W 1060 fares against the “150W” (well, quibble, but pcper showing card still drawing more than 150W total power) RX 480 in games. Hopefully the NDA on the 1060 reviews lifts soon.

    • maxxcool
    • 3 years ago

    delete ..

    • wingless
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder if it will have an effect on performance (i.e. boost clock, overclocking, etc.).

    TR, will you be testing with this new driver?

    Thanks!

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 3 years ago

      We’re retesting a subset of the games we tested in our original review now. Hope to publish the results soon.

        • maxxcool
        • 3 years ago

        Thank you.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 3 years ago

      The default fix doesn’t change performance, just power source. Compatibility mode does, but is negligible. Helps if you read the PCper article linked at the bottom.

        • willyolio
        • 3 years ago

        actually the default fix includes a bit of optimization for some titles, so performance should improve a tiny bit here and there.

        • Puiucs
        • 3 years ago

        the default fix improves framerate and the “compatibility” mode reduces it at what they were before (+-1fps).

          • DoomGuy64
          • 3 years ago

          You guys don’t know what you’re talking about. The default fix is nothing more than a fix. The DRIVER UPDATE is what improves framerate. [i<]The two aren't related.[/i<]

    • Kaleid
    • 3 years ago

    Performance is about the same:
    [url<]http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/radeon_rx_480_performance_benchmarks_with_16_7_1_driver.html[/url<] Edit: Firestrike about same as 980 now.

      • wingless
      • 3 years ago

      Oh….you answered my question as I was typing it.

      Thanks

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      And thus ends PCI-E powergate, the last of his name

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        Pours one out on his homie Overwattage’s grave.

      • willyolio
      • 3 years ago

      PC-PER seems to confirm it too. pretty much unnoticeable difference with “compatibility mode” on, too. basically lower power consumption for free (at least for Metro, Tomb Raider, and Witcher)

      [url<]http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-RX-480-Power-Consumption-Concerns-Fixed-1671-Driver[/url<]

      • LocalCitizen
      • 3 years ago

      that link is useless.
      of course the normal mode is the same as the old driver. they just shifted the currents from one source to another, with total staying the same.
      it is more important to see how much impact the compatible” mode has, which they didn’t test at all.
      pointless.

        • kalelovil
        • 3 years ago

        Anandtech tested Crysis 3: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/10477/amd-posts-radeon-1671-drivers-fixes-power-consumption-issues[/url<] With the proviso that it is only 1 setting in 1 game, 19W lower power consumption for no noticeable performance impact is good to see.

          • LocalCitizen
          • 3 years ago

          that’s a better test article

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          The better “Standard” mode now even beats the old overwatting mode half the time in performance. Though compliant mode takes barely any hit either, I’d probably just go for that.

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