As 2018 winds down, once again it’s time for AMD’s annual major feature update for their graphics drivers, Radeon Software. Going by the unassuming title of ‘Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition’, today’s release is more of an evolution on last year’s Adrenalin Edition, bringing improvements and further integrations with AMD Link and Radeon Overlay. The headlining feature is the new capability to game stream to a mobile device or VR headset, powered by ReLive and AMD Link. AMD is also addressing highly-demanded user requests as collected on their feature voting and feedback page, now checkmarking 7 out of the top 10 requests.

Additionally, Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2 also brings WattMan overclocking/undervolting profile presets, WattMan controls in AMD Link and Radeon Overlay, ReLive improvements for streamers, and ‘Radeon Advisors’, the latter which are new game/settings optimization tools for entry-level users.

For those just catching up, AMD’s cadence of an annual ‘big bang’ driver update started back in 2014 with Catalyst Omega, following up with the introduction of Radeon Software in 2015 and its inaugural Crimson Edition, and subsequent yearly updates with Crimson ReLive Edition in 2016 and Adrenalin Edition in 2017.

This contemporary approach has hotfixes and performance updates occur throughout the year, punctuated by large feature updates and overhauls, with an overall emphasis on user experience (UX) and quality assurance.

The consistency of the UX is clearer with the latest discrete GPUs, but the same couldn't be said of AMD’s APU offerings. On that note, recent complaints on the status of outdated Ryzen Mobile drivers led AMD to release a statement on the matter. Adrenalin 2019 Edition doesn’t bring any changes on that front, and AMD has nothing to add to their original statement.

The new developments are however far from being irrelevant, as these annual feature updates, better zero-day game support, and cited stability metrics began as a move to stave off from the reputation of older AMD/ATI drivers. More directly, a consistent UX presumably also incorporates mobile APUs as well, especially since OEM vendors would have little interest in being involved in that aspect. A meaningful percentage of mainstream users will continue to have their experience with AMD drivers solely dictated by OEMs and without the ability to leverage AMD’s improvements in their driver development strategy.

Elsewhere, there’s no official updates on Radeon support for hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing, but with NVIDIA’s recent launch of Turing-based GeForce RTX series, it’s a topical theme.

Looking forward, there will be increased competition in the GPU space, and a lot of AMD’s incumbent advantages will be in software/driver maturity as well as feature support. With Adrenalin and now the Adrenalin 2019 Edition, there’s been a good deal of increased emphasis on streaming/social uses and mobile devices, and over the coming pages we’ll be taking a look at the specifics of each of the new features.

Adrenalin 2019 Improvements (1): WattMan and Performance
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  • overseer - Friday, December 14, 2018 - link

    Can't believe they still haven't fixed the frequent hanging issue with RX 480, and I have to roll back to 18.9.3 WHQL.
  • Manch - Friday, December 14, 2018 - link

    I never had issues with mine. Even before undervolting. Have you tried logging it? Are you unstable only under the new ones?
  • bernstein - Friday, December 14, 2018 - link

    real shame amd link isn't available on android tv / apple tv...
  • silverblue - Saturday, December 15, 2018 - link

    Problems, if somewhat minor... I undervolted my RX 590 in 18.12.1 from 1168mV to 1075mV with a power limit of -10%, which allows it to successfully get through Unigine Heaven 4.0. In 18.12.2, undervolting to the same level just causes the card to reset to normal. Oh, and it thinks the card is 1150mV by default now, not sure which is correct.

    Another issue is that settings aren't applied on restart, so I have to manually go back to Global Wattman to apply them as well as to Display for my HDMI scaling (which is set, but not applied until you change the slider).

    Back to 18.12.1 for now, then.
  • benzosaurus - Sunday, December 16, 2018 - link

    Me, on first reading this article: "Oh, cool, I wonder if they fixed the bug where the overlay won't open at all!"

    Me, after installing the update: "Oh cool, they addressed that by making it so the entire settings pane doesn't open to allow you to turn the overlay on."
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