Radeon Software 19.6.2 brings FreeSync 2 to Vulkan

Amidst all the fuss of trade shows and new product launches, it’s easy to forget that day-to-day life must proceed. Part of that eventuality in the PC hardware world is the continual march of graphics card driver updates. So saying, AMD released Radeon Software version 19.6.2 yesterday, adding support for some important Vulkan extensions and patching up a few problems.

For those who don’t develop graphics-heavy applications, “extensions” in Khronos parlance are essentially flags that tell the application accessing the graphics API that the underlying hardware and software support a given feature. The specific Vulkan extensions gaining support with this driver are enumerated below:

  • VK_EXT_host_query_reset
  • VK_EXT_full_screen_exclusive
  • VK_AMD_display_native_hdr – allows Vulkan applications to use FreeSync2
  • VK_EXT_separate_stencil_usage
  • VK_KHR_uniform_buffer_standard_layout

Those may not be as exciting as, say, VK_NV_ray_tracing, but whatever the case, further support for Vulkan is good for everyone.

This driver fixes a bug where users might get a Timeout Detection & Recovery (TDR) error when exiting a DX12 game that is cloned across multiple displays. Microsoft’s PIX debugging tool should work properly on external Radeon GPUs now. Crackdown 3 should stop crashing on Radeon R7 370 cards, and the Radeon Overlay’s performance metrics display should work properly now. Finally, this driver should resolve mysterious performance drops in games played on wireless VR headsets using Polaris cards.


I’m glad that guy playing Crackdown 3 got his bug fixed.

Persistent problems include inaccurate readings in Radeon Wattman and the performance metrics overlay on Radeon VII cards, uninstallation issues when using “express uninstall” on Ryzen APUs, and a specific issue when using discrete GPUs with the Asus TUF FX505 laptop. There’s also a problem where Acer Swift 3 machines with Ryzen CPUs may be unstable if you install this driver using the “custom clean installation” option. Finally, streaming to Facebook using Radeon ReLive is not working at this time.

This driver should install on just about everything Radeon that you’ll find in the market today. It goes all the way back to the original GCN products, the Radeon HD 7000 series, and it supports both desktop and mobile Ryzen APUs—not to mention older APUs. If it’s got GCN, this driver will probably work. Read the release notes to see if I missed anything, or just grab the driver from AMD’s download site.

Comments
    • DPete27
    • 4 weeks ago

    *Layman*
    To be clear, this doesn’t just enable these features on any/all Vulkan games. Said games would need to have (or be patched to) these extensions for these features to work.

    Correct?

    Reply
      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 weeks ago

      From what I can tell games specifically need to use the extension, but maybe I’m reading it wrong.

      Reply
      • RAGEPRO
      • 4 weeks ago

      Yeah, that’s right. Games will have be aware of the extension, and coded to use it. But now that’s [i<]possible[/i<], where it wouldn't have been before. 🙂

      Reply
    • not@home
    • 4 weeks ago

    I was a little surprised to see that this driver supports my 7870. That card is getting long in the tooth. I may need to upgrade soon though. One of my Samsung 214t monitors died the other day and I may need to replace both for a symmetrical dual display setup. If I do, I will probably go with two 27″ 1440p monitors and I do not think my 7870 will be happy trying to push that many pixels.

    Reply
      • JustAnEngineer
      • 4 weeks ago

      If you’re not gaming, the HD7870 will be fine.

      P.S.: Since your remaining SyncMaster 214T has a PVA LCD panel instead of nasty TN, you could rotate it into portrait mode (1200×1600) next to a single new super-duper monitor.

      Reply
        • not@home
        • 4 weeks ago

        I do some occasional gaming and I am sure the games I play will be too much for the 7870.

        Reply
          • JustAnEngineer
          • 4 weeks ago

          The new Navi Radeon 5700XT and 5700 should be decent cards for gaming at 2560×1440 at 90+ Hz. If you go up to 3840×2160 for your new gaming monitor, you’re likely to want a GeForce RTX2080 or faster graphics card for smooth gaming performance.

          Reply
            • LostCat
            • 4 weeks ago

            If they’re usin a 7870 still I doubt they’re maxing details on anything. Or planning to do high refresh.

            • DoomGuy64
            • 4 weeks ago

            The older GCN cards held up much longer than people initially thought, albeit at lower resolutions / detail settings. 1440p is clearly too much to ask from those cards though. A cheap 580 would be enough to do light 1440p gaming, and I wouldn’t bother with Navi, as those cards are overpriced. Nvidia will drop RTX prices as soon as Navi hits retail. You also have a lot of techtubers saying to skip Navi and buy a Vega on sale considering the cost, so I’m not putting a lot of stock on it. AMD may have put a lot of improvement into Navi, but it doesn’t have RTX level of new features, and the performance is still unknown. Maybe. Wait for reviews, and the 580 is still a good buy.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 4 weeks ago

            Radeon R9-290 still plays games pretty well, and HD7950 is even mostly okay at 1080p. The HD7870 is starting to show its age (and it’s meager 2 GB of memory). My HD7770 has been relegated to nothing more demanding than HTPC use for quite a while.

            Radeon RX Vega56 at $270 is a good performer for 2560×1440, but I’m expecting Navi 5700 (non-XT) to fill that market niche before the summer is over.

            • DoomGuy64
            • 4 weeks ago

            I would hope so, but the reported ROP specs have varied wildly, so I strongly question it’s actual specs and capabilities. The performance improvements seem real, but it also sounds like they come at a compromise of the original GCN architecture, which means games strongly coded for GCN may not see as much improvement as games coded for Navi, which means waiting for newer game engines and console ports for any meaningful improvements.

            If Navi has 64 ROPs, then it might be a good alternative to Vega, over 64 will be even better, but if it’s really a high clocked 32 ROP card then AMD can DIAF for releasing such garbage for ridiculously high prices, and it’s better to buy any of the other available cards. Also, I’ve heard that Navi has both a locked bios and the Wattman modding capability of Vega has been removed. Some professional overclocker was complaining about that, so it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a good overclocker like Vega was.

            The 290 was definitely a long lasting card, but mostly because it was AMD’s best resource balanced architecture. 64 ROPs with decent graphics capability, and most game engines are well optimized for it, outside of gameworks effects. That said, Polaris is cheaper priced and more efficient, while Vega doesn’t have any downsides either if you can get it on sale. I want to be hopeful for Navi, but the secretive spec data and high prices don’t appear promising. Definitely waiting for reviews to have any positive opinion of it. Both Nvidia and AMD have mislead people before with false specs before release.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 4 weeks ago

          Here’s an attractively-priced 2560×1440 gaming monitor:
          [url<]https://techreport.com/news/34643/bargain-basement-a-32-144-hz-lg-32gk650f-b-monitor-for-310-and-much-more[/url<]

          Reply
      • TwistedKestrel
      • 4 weeks ago

      It’s a weird feeling to experience actual hardware obsolence, instead of parts just getting EOL’ed and having support dropped

      Reply
    • LostCat
    • 4 weeks ago

    Hmm. Now I want to play more Crackdown 3.

    Reply
    • enixenigma
    • 4 weeks ago

    On the subject of VR, I have found myself wondering if the Navi changes would lead to a markedly better experience in VR versus GCN/Vega.

    Reply

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