Radeon Pro 18.Q1 drivers bring newfound speed in multiple apps

Gamers are used to getting updated graphics card drivers from AMD and Nvidia just about every week, but the unique needs of professional users mean a more controlled quarterly pace is appropriate. AMD's has just released the latest iteration of its Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition, and the new 18.Q1 version packs big gains in selected professional applications plus new virtualization and security features.

The big news for workstation users is the promised performance increases. AMD claims year-over-year speed boosts of 47% in Autodesk 3ds Max, 25% in Siemens NX, 13% in Autodesk Maya, and 5% in CATIA. The company didn't comment on the magnitude of the boosts compared to last quarter's release.

The driver package includes new features for virtualized desktop infrastructures. MxGPU virtualization now works with Citrix XenServer. The company is also offering an open-source virtualized KVM host OS driver on GitHub for large-scale organizations that want to customize their Guest Interface Manager.

Radeon Pro Software's "Driver Options" now lets users change between Radeon Pro Software and the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition to help streamline game design work. Radeon Pro ReLive adds borderless region capture for windowed mode recording of professional applications.

The Radeon Pro Software driver now works with Windows Defender Device Guard on Windows 10 Enterprise Edition. Windows can also interface with the AMD Secure Processor found in the silicon maker's Vega professional graphics cards to validate the boot process and firmware. The driver stack even helps secure graphics-bound IP during shutdown.

AMD offers its Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition driver package for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 10, as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2016. The company also maintains a family of Linux drivers that just received a similar quarterly update. Most Pro users will probably want to read the release notes for the list of big fixes and lingering issues before installing.

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