It does not seem that an article about device drivers is especially exciting, but the truth is that these pieces of code are much more important than it seems. Updates for the components of our PCs help keep them “fit” and to correct errors, but can also be crucial for performance.
That seems to be especially true for graphics card drivers, which NVIDIA and AMD engineers polish as weeks pass for our games to gain in quality and fluidity. And careful, because if there is a protagonist in recent times in that performance improvement, that is AMD.
AMD pampers its old users (and new ones as well)
Those responsible for this firm have been working on a new controller platform, and have gone from relying on the Catalyst archiconocidos to do its rebranded version, new and flashy Crimson. There seems to have been much more than a name change on that new platform, because the performance gain is remarkable.
Some have already given phenomenon unofficial name: AMD FineWine would be the “imaginary” and implicit in graphics technology that makes AMD, like good wine, are better as time passes. Evidenced by several recent articles that recent cards this manufacturer faced with similar choices of NVIDIA face like this in which HardwareCanucks compared a 1060 GTX 6GB RX 480 with 8 GB.
The tests compared performance with the AMD drivers of July and December 2016, and the results were surprising. In the DX11 tests the GTX 1060 was 12% better in 1080p resolutions and 8% better in 1440p resolutions. In December differences, they shortened, and the GTX 1060 was only 2% in 1080 and identical best (0%) in 1440p.
These data were confirmed with DX12 tests, half made the RX 480 were 3% higher in 1080 and 4% in 1440p with drivers July 2016, while the new versions cards were a 6% best in both resolutions. The conclusions of the analysis made everything clear:
AMD has not only proven that it can match the launch pace of NVIDIA drivers but with a successive pattern of key upgrades have made its card a full contender in DX11 and a success in DX12.
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Good today, even better tomorrow
The findings were similar when a few months ago appeared analysis in which the performance of old cards 3 years later compared. In BabelTechReviews they compared the Radeon HD 7970 with the GTX 680, and after analyzing the performance made it clear that while AMD cards had been overtaken by NVIDIA in the first two years, the progressive improvement in the drivers got the tide changed. According to this medium, the HD 7970 ended up being more “future proof” thanks to those drivers and to have more VRAM memory.
That little “trick” AMD has worked well, and over time we have seen how the graphs of AMD always included more video memory than rivals directly by NVIDIA. The 7970 offered 3 GB of VRAM for the 2 GB of the GTX 680, the 290 / X offered 4 and even 8 GB of memory for the 3 GB of the GTX 780 / Ti, the 390 had 8 GB for the 4 GB of the GTX 970, and the RX 480 is sold in configurations with 4 and 8 GB, for the 3 or 6 GB of the GTX 1060.
The same was true when comparing the GTX 780 to Radeon 290x: AMD showed more attention to their old cards, while NVIDIA seemed not give much importance to the old models and focused mainly on new architectures.
It seems that the trend is clear: although for the moment NVIDIA remains at the throne of peak performance, which is AMD is devoting more efforts to make their graphics cards continue compensating their users over time. The use of new APIs (such as DX12, where AMD stands out especially thanks to the good performance of GCN) and the optimization of the controllers make AMD graphics are especially praised the long term.