Radeon Software 18.5.1 brings the pieces back together


Unless you're just joining us here in the PC hardware fandom, you're likely aware that AMD called its last driver update a "unified" release. That supposedly meant that the Adrenalin Edition Q2 2018 driver would work for Raven Ridge APUs as well as discrete Radeon graphics products. However, that driver only officially supported the desktop Raven Ridge chips. Now, just six days later, we've got the proper unified driver. Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 boasts support for almost every GCN-based Radeon product ever made.

I say "almost" because these drivers don't actually list support for the mobile Raven Ridge APUs (or technicalities like game consoles.) Most likely, that's a matter of AMD passing along the responsibility for supporting those systems onto their respective OEMs. In any case, the 18.5.1 release supports every extant discrete Radeon going back to the HD 7000 series and every APU going back to Kaveri.


Ancestors Legacy

Along with adding the new chips to the list of supported hardware, driver version 18.5.1 adds game-specific support for Ancestors Legacy. AMD says performance in that title improves as much as 13% on Radeon RX 580 cards, while RX Vega cards get a smaller 6% boost. Perhaps more exciting for the majority of users, this driver also adds final, official support for Microsoft's PlayReady 3.0 DRM scheme. That means that folks with compatible AMD hardware can finally enjoy Netflix 4K playback.

PlayReady is only supported on Radeon RX 400- and RX 500-series graphics products. If you want to watch Netflix streams in 4K, you'll have to satisfy the litany of other requirements including an HDCP 2.2-capable display, a minimum internet speed of 25 Mbps, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and of course a Netflix plan that supports 4K streaming. You'll also have to use Microsoft's Edge browser or the Netflix applications from the Windows store—other browsers and players need not apply.

Fixed issues in the 18.5.1 driver include increased load times in Destiny 2 after extended play, tearing in FreeSync mode when the Radeon Overlay's performance metrics are enabled, corruption in browser-based Netflix playback on Polaris cards, and an error related to Facebook Live streaming using Radeon ReLive. AMD also notes that High Bandwidth Cache Controller options in Radeon Settings should properly reset to factory defaults.

After installing 18.5.1, you may note that Radeon Overlay doesn't present all of its options in games running in borderless or fullscreen-window mode. The Radeon ReLive Instant Replay and Frame-Rate Target Control features may not play nice together, causing stuttering when both are enabled. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may also stutter in gameplay with this driver. Finally, if you try to open Radeon Settings immediately after installation, it may hang the entire system. A workaround is simply to reboot after driver installation.

If you have a Radeon or APU made in the last 6 years, this driver almost certainly works for you. You can read the full release notes for yourself if you like, although we've pretty much covered everything above. Here's a direct link to the Windows 10 64-bit edition. Iff you need another version, head on over to AMD's download site to grab Radeon Software version 18.5.1.

 

 

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