AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition Performance

We take the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and AMD Radeon RX 580 and test performance in 13 games (DX11, DX12, Vulkan) from video card launch press drivers to the latest AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 driver released in December. We will see how performance in old and newer games has changed over the course of 2017.


On December 12th, 2017 AMD released the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition video card drivers. This new driver replaces the Crimson ReLive Edition which was introduced in December of 2016.

For a year we’ve been gaming with the Crimson ReLive Edition which contained many new core technologies. With the new AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition those core technologies have been improved further with new features and functionality. In addition, a couple of really neat core driver technologies were added. You can check out our Introduction article first to learn all about the new driver.

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From here on out it is the Adrenalin Edition driver umbrella AMD will be using moving forward. The specific driver version for the initial release of Adrenalin Edition is 17.12.1, and the package version is 17.50.02.

Performance Testing

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While AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition is not a specific "performance" driver, it does culminate the year with the best performance to date. Over the course of driver improvements AMD claims performance has improved in some games since the Crimson ReLive driver introduction in December of 2016. The slides above show some games where AMD has quoted performance gains up to 10-19% depending on the game. Now this is taken from the Crimson ReLive Edition Launch driver in 2016 to the new Adrenalin driver one year later. Therefore, in one year, on a Radeon RX 480 this is what AMD is seeing.

What we want to find out though is how much performance has improved in 2017. We have already previously looked at AMD driver performance in 2016 with our big AMD Video Card Driver Performance Review - Fine Wine? article.

Now that we are at the end of 2017 we need to look back at 2017 specifically and see how driver performance has improved, or not, on video cards released in 2017. To that end we have two video card launches that happened in 2017 that will culminate the improvements in two different GPU product positions from AMD.

Terry Makedon did explain that AMD would likely never again release a "performance driver," as it intends to stay on top of performance through the life of its driver stack rather than focusing on that at specific times during the driver's lifespan.

AMD Radeon RX 580

The first is the launch of the AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU based on the Polaris architecture. In April of 2017 AMD launched the AMD Radeon RX 580 video card. We evaluated the PowerColor Red Devil Golden Sample RX 580 video card at that time.

While the architecture remains same as the Radeon RX 480, it does represent the latest launch of a Polaris GPU in 2017. We can therefore test driver performance from back then in April with the press driver for this video card up to now with the new Adrenalin driver. This will tell us if Polaris performance in general has improved at all in 2017.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

Second, this year in 2017 AMD released the new Vega line of GPUs. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 was released 4 months ago on August 14th, 2017. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 was also shortly thereafter released.

These GPUs are based on the newer Vega architecture. We can therefore test one of these Vega video cards from the initial press launch driver to the new Adrenalin driver to see how performance has improved. We really only need to test one Vega card, this will tell us if Vega performance in general has improved in the past 4 months. Therefore, we will use the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64.