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  • waldoh - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Its unfortunate it a competing company to shine light on an issue for another to address it. Reply
  • waldoh - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    took* Reply
  • tackle70 - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    I'd say it's more like expected than unfortunate. This is why competition is a good thing and why you never want one company to blow away another - competition makes all companies serve their customer better.

    Big time kudos to AMD for their work on this; it's nice to see real competition available again in the $500+ market.
    Reply
  • Rezurecta - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Excellent and well said. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    I think he was referring to the fact that this issue was present for many years and not only did reviewers not catch on despite common complaints (and HardOCP) discussing the issue, but the company making the card was apparently completely blindsided by it after years and years of Crossfire sales. That's why people who own only one company's cards should try the other side to see that sometimes when someone says something like, "The nVidia cards are smoother in SLI than CF," sometimes--just sometimes--that's not fanboyism. Sometimes, it really is just smoother.

    No, I think the, "it took a competing company to shine a light on an issue," was more in reference to the fact that nVidia had to basically take AMD by the hand and slowly walk them through how to detect a problem highly prevalent on their products after years and years of waiting for them to get it.

    They had to take out their own measurement software they built custom in-house and actually hand it over to the other team just to help them get it. This isn't typical competition teaching the other guy what to do.

    This is like Pepsi-Cola taking Coca-Cola by the hand and saying, "Okay, so soda is supposed to have sugar and caffeine. Here is where you get it. Here is our supplier. Try it."

    That's why he's saying it's sad. If AMD had figured it out on their own and fixed it, then yeah, that's competition because they FIGURED IT OUT. Instead, they didn't. It took TechReport slamming them on it with DATA after years of HardOCP just slamming them without data and thousands upon thousands of users saying, "Crossfire is not very good compared to SLI" and then nVidia hand delivering them FCAT for them to get it.

    Before that, they were clueless. AMD is a company that produces discrete GPU's for the gaming market and not only did they have no clue how to test for this problem, they didn't even know there WAS a problem they were so clueless.

    And that truly is very sad.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Not sure that it was as much present in past products, I owned crossfire 6850s for a while then switched to a single 660ti to gain not much except lower temps and a little more FPS. Only game I could tell there was a real noticeable difference in smoothness was Skyrim and that was mainly because of thextures taking more than the mere 1gb my 6850s had. Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Can't really agree with this, microstutter was documented and covered significantly in the German press for years, largely ignored by the NA press. 4870X2 microstutter problems were the first time the issue was really brought to light by PCGamesHardware, there's tons of documentation about it about if you search, here's the original test by PCGH:

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,653711/PCGH-pro...
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Multi GPU stuttering was well known about pretty much a few months into having multi GPU solutions. The issue with single GPUs also experiencing uneven frame pacing is much newer. And the believe among AMD was that it was an issue that affects AMD and nVidia equally, which is why they never thought about changing it in their drivers. Until Scott made the revelations. Reply
  • taltamir - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    I personally documented single GPU multistuttering years ago (caused by lack of CPU power (C2D 8400, problem resolved going to a Q6600; using nvidia GPU), with hard data. (fraps individual frame render times record).

    I posted it on anandtech forums and there was a brisk discussion of it. It wasn't well known, but it shouldn't have completely blindsided the so called professionals. HisDivineOrder really said it best
    Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Yes I remember, there was a lot of user testing that stemmed from the initial reports on PCGH and the FRAPS frametime methodology became standard in allowing virtually any user who could download FRAPs and work a spreadsheet illustrating microstutter.

    I do agree though, the pros and press kept ignoring and sweeping it under the rug as if it didn't exist despite countless requests from end-users asking for more detail on it.
    Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    There was discussions of microstutter on various forums associated with multi-GPU, but PCGH was the first site to publish it's findings in detail with both video evidence and hard data. From what I remember, they were the first to develop the methodology of using FRAPs frametimes and graphing the subsequent results to illustrate microstutter. Reply
  • BrightCandle - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    One of the most shocking revelations to me is that AMDs quality assurance did not include checking the output of their cards frame by frame. I had always assumed that both NVidia and AMD had HDMI/DVI/VGA recorders that allowed them to capture the output of their cards so they could check them pixel by pixel, frame by frame and presumably check they were correct automatically.

    Such a technology would clearly have shown the problem immediately. I am stunned that these companies don't do that. Even FCAT is a blatantly blunt tool as it doesn't say anything about the contents of the frames. We still don't have any way to measure end to end latency for comparison either. All in all there is much to left to do and I am not confident that either company is testing these products well, its just I couldn't believe that AMD wasn't testing theirs for consistency (it was obvious when you played it something was wrong) at all.
    Reply
  • krutou - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    AMD is in the business of being the best performance per price entry in every market segment. Technology and quality come second.

    How often does AMD introduce and/or develop technologies for their graphics cards? The only two that come to mind are Eyefinity and TressFX (100 times more overhyped than PhysX).
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    I think ATI had tessellation in their old DX8 chips. nVidia bought PhysX, so that shouldn't count. But I don't really see how having exclusive technology usable by a single GPU vendor is anything good. We need standardization and everybody having access to the same technologies (albeit with different performance deltas). Look at the gimmicky state of PhysX and imagine what it could be if nVidia would allow it to be fully utilized by CPUs and AMD GPUs? Reply
  • krutou - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Because OpenCl and TressFX are doing so well right? Reply
  • bigboxes - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    March on, fanboi. Reply
  • JamesWoods - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    If you think that is all AMD/ATI has ever done for graphics then you sir, are ignorant. I was going to use a more degrading word there and thought better of it. Reply
  • Will Robinson - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    LOL...what a load of tosh.
    "NVDA had to take them by the hand"?
    You and Wreckage ought to post in green text.
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Agree with pretty much of all of this, although I would direct a lot of the blame on AMD's most loyal, enthusiastic supporters as well. Every time microstutter was mentioned and identified as being worst with AMD solutions, AMD's biggest fans would get hyperdefensive about it. If those most likely to have a problem were too busy denying any problem existed, it really should be no surprise it was never fixed.

    And this is the result. Years of denial and broken CF, finally fixed as a result of the scrutiny from the press and laughter of Nvidia fans which brought this to a head and forced AMD to take a closer look and formulate a solution.
    Reply
  • EJS1980 - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    "Truth favors not one side." Reply
  • chizow - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Written on the walls at AMD Driver HQ I'm sure, quickly referenced when questioned about microstutter being worst on CF. Reply
  • krutou - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    BUT, BUT, BUT, RADEON PRO?!? Reply
  • LordOfTheBoired - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Took them by the hand? Looks more to me like "waited until people cared, then released a benchmark to prove they didn't have the problem, while offering no constructive commentary."

    And the hell of it is... AMD's stance makes sense. This IS a market that hates VSync because ZOMG LAG. "The market" has made it ABUNDANTLY clear that they have no interest whatsoever in technologies that improve the visual experience at the (real or imagined) cost of responsiveness.
    But apparently that's only true when there's the visual equivalent of a record skip on your screen and not when it's a subtle frame rate fluctuation. The former is a good thing because it means you "aren't lagged", the latter is a horrible thing because it means you "aren't lagged".
    Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    @LordOfTheBoired - this is the type of indignant attitude that got AMD and their fans in this predicament to begin with. Reply
  • mikato - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Well one result of Nvidia releasing the software was to allow tech journalists to shine a bright spotlight on a problem of their competitor's products. Your "holding AMD by the hand" idea is pretty amusing. Reply
  • novastar78 - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    What's sad is that AMD has ripped ATi to shreds to the point where they are spread pretty thin. Just getting a working product out the door is a task. You are being waaay too hard on them.

    They were using traditional methods to test and frankly it's not so unimaginable that they were caught by this. Granted, maybe it should have been caught sooner, but to demonize them or put them down for it seems a bit harsh.

    They know now that it's a big problem are definitely committed to fixing it. You can clearly see that they are trying to stabilize the company and there is lots of turmoil. The moves they are making and the people being brought on board are a good sign. There is definitely a process change that needs to happen but when the tree is being shaken so many times too many apples can fall.

    Give it some time, I think we will see great things form them over the next few years.
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    It did not help that certain people were claiming that AMD does not have a stutter problem. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    The problem is that AMD didn't think they had a stutter problem; or more precisely, until 3rd parties shoved the reality in their face they assumed (without testing) that they and nVidia had equal amounts of the problem.

    I suspect at one point in the past they were right; and that the genesis of nVidia's "years in the making" tool to measure the problem dates back to when they discovered it was a problem internally and began working on fixes so that they could announce the same tool at the same time that their drivers had a negligible impact from it. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if someone tested SLI card/driver configurations from a few years ago to see how well nVidia did at the time.
    Reply
  • BrightCandle - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    NVidia has had this fixed for a lot longer than that. The 680's were noticeably smoother on their release day compared to the 7970 crossfire. NVidia has claimed they have been fixing this since the 8800 and there is no reason not to believe them as HardOCP and other review sites have been noting the difference for years. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Exactly. This has been a problem for as long as there has been Crossfire. I think a lot of people are so shocked by this fact (because some of them owned Crossfire and just dealt with it and didn't realize they were getting shafted) they can't accept it.

    Yes, you got reamed. Yes, for years, you were using Crossfire and suffering from microstutter when you needn't have to. Yes, AMD took you for a ride. It's so infuriating it drives people not to want to believe it because to believe it would be so horrible as to suddenly be intolerable.

    Do what most people do. Just stick with nVidia since you know they do proper testing. Boycott AMD for a five year period and come back once you're sure AMD's got their act together.
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Agree for the most part, but I wouldn't go as far to say boycott AMD, I'd say it's a good learning experience for AMD fans. In order to better their own products, they need to be forthcoming and honest about their experiences. If something's broken, demand a fix, don't sit there and dismiss or minimize the problem, or worst, deflect the issue toward the competition in denial. In the end, they just end up hurting themselves by gimping the products they enjoy. Reply
  • Will Robinson - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Please go back to spamming the comments section at Tech Report with your NVDA shill buddy Wreckage.
    Its beyond boring having to read it here too.
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Tom Petersen, Technical Marketing Director for Nvidia, has stated Nvidia has had built-in frame metering provisions since at least G80. Nvidia invented modern day AFR and they have clearly put a lot of thought behind it with the science to back it up. Every time you see them talk about AFR/microstutter/runtframes you see a lot of detailed technical slides and backup. Not so much from AMD. It should be obvious why Nvidia has had less of an issue with microstutter, they actually knew what they were looking to fix.

    http://techreport.com/review/22890/nvidia-geforce-...

    "Nvidia's Tom Petersen threw us for a loop by asserting that Nvidia's GPUs have had, since "at least" the G80, a built-in provision called frame metering that attempts to counteract the problem."
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Tech Reports is a competing company to AMD?

    While it is very good to see AMD making progress here, it is far from over for both AMD and Nvidia. Both companies have work to do to get frame rates to be consistent and high.
    Reply
  • BryanDobbins - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    my neighbor's mom makes $72/hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for 7 months but last month her pay check was $19114 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site... http://goo.gl/qHdAQ4 Reply
  • Mondozai - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Always liked Ryan's articles but I hope he gets to write more for this site in the future. For example, he should write more about mobile GPU's now that that area is gaining importance(this year we get to see PowerVR's newest generation, Rogue and next year we get to see Kepler in Tegra 5). Yet he didn't write anything on Tegra 5's Kepler story on this site even if he is the expert on GPU's.

    Doing a story on AMD drivers is all well and good but honestly, would like to see moar.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    We have some in-depth mobile coverage scheduled for later this year, though I can't go into any more detail on it at this moment. Reply
  • mwildtech - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Great write up! Thanks Ryan! Reply
  • SeeManRun - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    It wasn't totally clear from reading, but is there any point in upgrading to this driver if you have a single graphics card? It doesn't appear so. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Release notes aren't out yet; but the 3rd page mentions that it adds full OpenGL ES 3.0 support as well as other not yes specified improvements. Most likely they include the obligatory few games to get a performance boost; but it's not purely a crossfire update. Reply
  • boot318 - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    I've read a couple people got "black screened" when they did this update on one GPU. I'm not saying that will happen, but you better prepare for it if you do. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    I may have missed this when I skimmed through the results, but have you heard anything about rough estimates from AMD about a frame pacing release supporting Eyefinity (e.g. Q4, H1 2014, etc.)? I know it's still a tiny percentage of users, but there are relatively cheap 1080p IPS panels now so building a nice looking 5760x1080 setup is pretty affordable these days. After playing games this way, it's something I wish I had done earlier, and I'm eager to see a frame pacing driver supporting this setup. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Sorry, AMD didn't give us an ETA on that one. Let me see if I can still get one out of them. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    HardOCP says DX9 and Eyefinity support should be available in a driver update later this month.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/08/01/amd_cata...
    Reply
  • DeviousOrange - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    I am hoping this will also improve Dual Graphics, will give it a test over the weekend. Reply
  • Homeles - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Well I'll be damned. They did it. Not quite as good as Nvidia, but at this point, the difference isn't really one worth mentioning. Reply
  • xdrol - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    The link is bad for the driver, please remove "-auth" from the URL. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Like watching a baby crawl. Good first step for AMD, but still a long way to go.

    AMD and their fans can thank the press (mainly TechReport and HardOCP, sorry Derek, you guys were way late to the party and still not fully onboard with FCAT measurements) and Nvidia fans for making such a big stink of this. Lord knows AMD and their fans were too busy looking the other way to address it, anyways.

    Hopefully AMD and their fans take something away from this: if you want to improve your product, don't try to sweep it under the rug, address it, own it, and demand a fix for it.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Sorry my above post should reference the author Ryan, not Derek (was thinking of your predecessor), when referring to AT not being at the forefront of this runtframe/microstutter issue.

    Also, I feel the accolades given to TechReport, while not completely undeserving, should also be given to PCPer's Ryan Shrout and some of the German publications like PCGamesHardware. While TechReport did start the ball rolling with some new ways to measure frame latency/microstutter, Ryan Shrout really harped on the runtframe issue until Nvidia worked with him in unveiling FCAT. Also, the German sites have been hammering AMD for years about their much worst microstuttering in CF, largely ignored by the NA press/blogs. And finally Kyle at HardOCP has said for years SLI felt smoother than CF with some Pepsi challenge type user testing, but not so much hard evidence as presented here as well as other sites.

    Finally Ryan, are these new metrics you've done an excellent job of formulating going to make it into future benchmarks? Or are you going to just assume the issue has been fixed going forward? I would love to take AMD's word on it but as we've seen from both vendors in the past, driver regression is commonplace unless constantly revisited by users, reviewers, and the vendors alike.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    "Finally Ryan, are these new metrics you've done an excellent job of formulating going to make it into future benchmarks?"

    They'll be in future articles in a limited form, similar to how we handled the GTX 780 launch. It takes a lot of additional work to put this data together, which isn't always time we have available. Especially if it becomes doing hours of extra work to collect data just to say "yep, still no stuttering."
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    That makes sense, but I guess the bigger concern from the outset was how AMD's allowance of runtframes/microstutter in an "all out performance" mentality might have overstated their performance. You found in your review that AMD performance typically dropped 5-10% as a result of this fix, that should certainly be considered, especially if AMD isn't doing a good job of making sure they implement this frame time fix across all their drivers, games, APIs etc.

    Also, any word whether this is a driver-level fix or an game-specific profile optimization (like CF, SLI, AA profiles)?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    The performance aspect is a bit weird. To be honest I'm not sure why performance was up with Cat 13.6 in the first place. For a mature platform like Tahiti it's unusual.

    As for the fix, AMD has always presented it as being a driver level fix. Now there are still individual game-level optimizations - AMD is currently trying to do something about Far Cry 3's generally terrible consistency, for example (an act I'm convinced is equivalent to parting the Red Sea) - but the basic frame pacing mechanism is universal.
    Reply
  • Thanny - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Perhaps this will be the end of the ludicrous "runt" frame concept.

    All frames with vsync disabled are runts, since they are never completely displayed. With a sufficiently fast graphics card and/or sufficiently less complex game, every frame will be a runt even by the arbitrary definitions you find at sites like this.

    And all the while, nothing at all is ever said about the most hideous artifact of all - screen tearing.
    Reply
  • Asik - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    There is a simple and definite fix for tearing artifacts and you mention it yourself - vsync. If screen tearing bothers you, and I think it should bother most people, you should keep vsync on at all times. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Vsync or frame limiters are certainly workarounds, but it also introduces input lag and largely negates the benefit of having multiple powerful GPUs to begin with. A 120Hz monitor would increase the headroom for Vsync, but also by nature reduces the need for Vsync (there's much less tearing). Reply
  • krutou - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Triple buffering solves tearing without introducing significant input lag. VSync is essentially triple buffering + frame limiter + timing funny business.

    I have a feeling that Nvidia's implementation of VSync might actually not have input lag due to their frame metering technology.

    Relevant: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2794/3
    Reply
  • chizow - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Yes this is certainly true, when I was on 60Hz I would always enable Triple Buffering when available, however, TB isn't the norm and few games implemented it natively. Even fewer implemented it correctly, most use a 3 frame render ahead queue, similar to the Nvidia driver forcing it which is essentially a driver hack for DX.

    Having said all that, TB does still have some input lag even at 120Hz even with Nvidia Vsync compared to 120Hz without Vsync (my preferred method of gaming now when not using 3D).
    Reply
  • vegemeister - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    The amount of tearing is independent the refresh rate of your monitor. If you have vsync off, every frame rendered creates a tear line. If you are drawing frames at 80Hz without vsync, you are going to see a tear every 1/80 of a second no matter what the refresh rate of your screen is. The only difference is that a 60Hz screen would occasionally have two tear lines on screen at once. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Sorry, not even remotely close to true. Runt frames were literally tiny shreds of frames followed by full frames, unlike normal screen tearing with Vsync off that results in 1/3 or more of the frame being updated at a time, consistently.

    The difference is, one method does provide the impression of fluidity and change from one frame to the next (with palpable tearing) whereas runt frames are literally worthless unless you think 3-4 rows worth of image followed by full images provides any meaningful sense of motion.

    I do love the term "runt frame" though, an anachronism in the tech world born of AMD's ineptitude with regard to CrossFire. I for one will miss it.
    Reply
  • Thanny - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    You're not making sense. All frames with vsync off are partial. The frame buffer is replaced in the middle of screen updates, so no rendered frame is ever displayed completely.

    A sense of motion is achieved by displaying different frames in a time sequence. It has nothing to do with showing parts of different frames in the same screen refresh.

    And vsync adds a maximum latency of the inverse of the screen refresh (16.67ms for a 60Hz display). On average, it will be half that. If you have a very laggy monitor (Overdrive-TN, PVA, or MVA panel types), that tiny bump from vsync might push the display lag to noticeability. For plain TN and IPS panels (not to mention CRT), there will be no detectable display lag with vsync on.
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    No it makes perfect sense. Use a camera if you have to capture how the frames are updated with Vsync Off normally. You will see the "tear" or refresh line differs from frame to frame, with either the top or bottom being refreshed relative to the previous frame. The key distinctions vs runtframes are that the next frame updates where the last one left off and there is significant differentiation between the frames, giving the sense of motion, with tearing.

    Unlike with runtframes, every other frame is a runt or partial followed by a more fully formed frame, so you basically get the effect of 2 similar frames followed by an updated frame due to the runt. This results in the irregular cadence known commonly as microstutter.

    Please see the videos here at PCPer to better understand, all videos were done with Vsync Off, and as you can clearly see, Vsync Off with runts and without are clearly not the same thing.

    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-...
    Reply
  • krutou - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Runts are due to screen tearing...

    What isn't shown in most reviews because it is difficult to evaluate objective, but the most apparent to the average user is animation smoothness. PC Perspective had a whole slew of videos comparing CF to SLI over most 7000 and 600 series cards and the difference in smoothness between the two solutions was obvious, even though there was no screen tearing.
    Reply
  • vegemeister - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    Agreed. It seems to me that this whole kerfuffle is two camps debating what kind of garbage output they'd rather see. The only reasonable way to use frame time logs in a review is discussing the percent of frames that take "too long" at a variety of refresh rates (144Hz, 120Hz, 85Hz, 60Hz, 48Hz, 30Hz, and 20Hz would be a good sampling). Perhaps you would also scale to the refresh rate, to examine how frequently a user would likely see dropped frames. Reply
  • Omoronovo - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Fantastic article Ryan.

    I did however have a query regarding the comments made regarding the odd issue of FCAT recording high dropped frames and the changes you implemented to prevent this error skewing results. Did you re-run any of the tests on the nVidia results to see if the changes you made to fcat had any noticeable change in the results generated from nVidia cards? Particularly regarding runt frames; as you mention yourself, AMD has reduced runt frames to zero in many cases which is an impressive achievement if accurate, and I would hope by redoing the tests on nVidia data that it proves to remain true (rather than skewing nVidia results as well, which would indicate that the FCAT changes to fix one problem would introduce variancy in the comparion outside the changes made in the driver).

    Like usual, fantastic article from Anandtech, and you in particular Ryan. Hope to read more articles from you soon.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Indeed I did, and it made no difference on NVIDIA cards. The FCAT miscounts only occur on AMD cards with the frame buffer issue as outlined in the article. Reply
  • airmantharp - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the great work Ryan-

    I'm still waiting for TR's results to put this all into perspective (always need multiple datapoints), but this bodes very well for those looking at 4k setups in the future. Before this driver was proven, AMD wasn't even in the running, regardless of price.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    The statements here are hilarious (expect nothing less from Ryan these days). He frames it as a 7990 problem, but in reality it was every pair of AMD cards you could throw at a PC. ALL MULTI-GPU situations on AMD are affected and have been for at least a year and a half (always?). 2x7950, 2x7970 etc etc...

    And 7990 wasn't a rough launch. It was awful. We are still waiting for Ryan's FCAT articles. I expect we'll start to see more now, just as I said before many times, AFTER AMD FIXES their problems. Here we are...LOL. No bias at anandtech though...ROFL. Still missing FCAT part 2 article from march. IT was promised in 2 weeks, never happened. Tons of FCAT results left out of most articles due to drivers changing, game problems, patches etc...blah blah...PCper does it for every article and had NONE of these issues. Hmm...Funny that...

    This leaves us with 2 options:
    1. You're either too dumb to use the tool and should just lose your job (say it ain't so).
    2. You're hiding the truth from your users and should have your traffic reduced further as Alexa shows it's off half or so since the 660TI article in sept last year when Ryan said silly things like 'a lot of people are buying Catleap 1440p monitors from ebay from some dude in korea'...ROFL. Umm, no they are not. Still not many today since even in your own 1440p article (again with ridiculous conclusions like buy an AMD A8-5600 for any single gpu card - no Buy Intel!) shows the steam hardware survey which shows less than 1.25% of us use above 1920x1200 and most of those use TWO video cards...LOL.

    No driver launch should be important for a company...ROFL. It's extremely important we don't HAVE TO TALK about your crappy drivers because they didn't take a year or two to make them work. Right? The important thing is that the product is launched WORKING out of the box as advertised.

    "What’s not being addressed in the first driver are the Direct3D 9 and OpenGL rendering paths, along with Eyefinity in any scenario."

    So it's still not working for some people in multiple scenarios (all xp users right? They all use DX9). You act as though high FPS=stutter free. NOT SO. Just because you're hitting 60fps in rage or 90fps etc, that does not mean the customer isn't affected. The problem is SEEING the stutter, not if the game is fast enough when it ISN'T stuttering.

    "and is periodic to the point where it occurs at most a few times per minute."
    So a few times per minute you have to deal with this...Get back to work AMD. NV doesn't do this.

    To summarize, AMD is still stuttering a lot at 20% (assuming you picked 15-20 so they could squeak inside for most games...LOL). But reality is they only made it UNDER 20 for 2 games of the 6 right? BF3 and Crysis3, otherwise they are STILL over even your worst end at 20% (nowhere near 15 on the low-end of that range right?). Also note the card runs 5-10% slower now.

    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-...

    Better off reading the article at PCper above. AMD said Ryan Shrout was wrong 1/2 dozen times...LOL. That's changed now :) Also as they show Skyrim is affected with or without mods even with the new driver. But the point on this is you don't have to mod it to see stutter.

    Pcper also shows it's been affecting 7970CF (and all other CF users) for ages up to now. Finally they get some relief. However TRIPLE card owners still suffer the same problems:
    "there is a lot of work AMD can do to improve the experience for users tripling their investment."
    "I will be curious if its even possible for AMD to fix the frame pacing issues with CrossFire and Eyefinity this generation.

    Even worse though is that with all the excitement over 4K displays and in particular the ASUS PQ321Q 4K 60 Hz monitor I recently reviewed, the Eyefinity limitation will pop up again in this niche case too. "

    So due to bandwidth he doesn't even think they'll be able to fix this..OUCH AMD. An even bigger OUCH to AMD buyers. He notes in the same paragraph AMD didn't want to discuss it (shocking). WOW.
    "Not only does this driver validate everything we have worked on for the last two years but the fact that AMD has decided to enable the frame pacing fix by default emphasizes that fact even more."

    Funny anandtech didn't start saying anything until March and remained mum on FCAT stuff basically until the fix just as I said they would do.

    http://hardocp.com/article/2013/08/01/amd_catalyst...
    Hardocp isn't as kind to AMD either IMHO.
    "Far Cry 3 was the most inconsistent and choppy. Even with Frame Pacing turned on, it was stuttery feeling, but this lagginess was reduced slightly with Frame Pacing."

    Still having issues.
    "This is definitely a foot forward in the right direction from AMD though, but work still needs to be done."

    Let me know when AMD gets done with all these PHASES so users actually get a REAL DONE driver that should have been in the box or downloadable all along. Working products people, is the reason NV owns 65% of the discrete gpu market today despite all the free games AMD gives away to get you to buy & wait for their drivers to work (which also happens to be why they make ZERO on their gpu division). No mention of AMD's quarterly report again here...Too depressing I guess now. I expect Ryan to cover their Q report again if consoles make them some cash...LOL. But he'll continue to refuse to cover NV's quarters because all that shows is they are giving AMD a whipping in each one.

    Some hardocp conclusions:
    "It also has to be said that NVIDIA has been doing this for years. Though we don't know the exact name for what it does in its drivers, it is known that NVIDIA is doing something to smooth out frame times and make SLI feel good while gaming. There is a reason that we have been saying for years how NVIDIA SLI felt smoother. AMD is just now playing catch up, and it is quite late in the game in our opinion to be playing this kind of catch up. In our opinion this type of technology should have employed years ago. If AMD is serious about improving the gameplay experience, this is one area that needs a lot of attention."
    "In our personal gaming observations, we still observe that NVIDIA SLI is smoother and more consistent than AMD CrossFire with Frame Pacing."
    "AMD has improved its own consistency. We still feel that it lags behind whatever NVIDIA is doing."

    Years later AMD finally getting in the game. Jeez. I'll also remind you ~38% of the public is STILL running windows XP so all of these are forced to DirectX 9 paths. So all of them should by Nvidia cards correct? That sort of blows your whole DirectX9 exclusive (as if nobody would run there) titles out of the water. They don't have to be exclusive if the person running the game can't run dx10 or dx11 (at that point it's DIRECTX 9 exclusive for an XP user right?). Get it? Of course you do Ryan, but it sounded better for AMD saying 'um, well, this never happens so who cares about phase two, everyone is solved today'...I digress...
    Reply
  • boozed - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    What happened in your life to cause you to be so bitter and mean? Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    No argument with the data though ;) It's comic the first things people do when there is no argument against the data is a personal attack. So stating the facts means you're bitter and mean to you?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
    Please review the chart from Graham, then come back with something at the top of his pyramid instead of the bottom :)
    Reply
  • DeviousOrange - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    TL;DR maybe someone will give you the F&*#s you wanted in posting this crap but im allegic to fanboy troll. Reply
  • anubis44 - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    TheJian, you seem to be suffering from verbal diarrea. You might want to take some immodium for that.

    What you could have said in about 1/10th the space is: you harbour an inexplicable hatred for Ryan Smith, because he's ever said anything positive about an AMD product, and that you think that despite AMD's huge stride forward in one driver revision to address and fix a problem with multi-GPU crossfire smoothness (let's face it, a fairly obscure problem, too), nothing AMD will ever do will be good enough for you, because you harbour an inexplicable hatred of AMD, too.

    There, I summarized your entire rant in one sentence. Short and sweet. Concision is bliss.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
    Please review the chart from Graham, then come back with something at the top of his pyramid instead of the bottom :)

    You seem to be suffering from the inability to make a coherent response to a valid argument, thus attack me instead :) It's always amusing to see fanboys flounder when faced with the facts (no matter if I argue for or against a company, it happens on both sides).

    I own a radeon 5850...ROFL. I don't care about NV and will state they suck when or if they do. There is a reason I bought the 5850 :) The only thing I hate about AMD is management taking a total dump on one of my favorite companies (probably mostly due to spending all the R&D on consoles, thus screwing my PC choices and driving them directly into the ground). Having said that, I'll buy maxwell next unless something is terribly wrong with it if only for money backing the drivers. You can google my posts here and see I've been begging people to STOP asking AMD for price cuts and free games so they will start making money. I have done this MANY times. I'm not looking forward to NV owning the gpu world and making it too expensive for me to upgrade as much as I please.

    No fan of Ryan or Anandtech these days. I'd hope their alexa traffic numbers forces them to start acting like they did pre Sept last year (which are off by half, as people see the points I and others make). People are not being fooled.
    Reply
  • transphasic - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Excellent points, and well said!
    The AMD fanboy sure is a grumpy one when their feelings get hurt at the fact that their beloved company has DROPPED the ball AGAIN for the hundredth time.
    The loudly proclaim to the world that they finally recognize a problem with their CF setup, and have supplied a minor tweak here and there to get a few games fixed, and that we as AMD owners should start cheering loudly for all through the night.
    LOL. It has taken them forever to finally see a problem, and then they take forever to fix it after all this time, even when it hasn't been fixed.
    AMD reminds of me Kramer from Seinfeld, who tells Jerry that he will give back to him the pliers he borrowed (that he also broke into pieces and destroyed) but only when Jerry does what he wants him to do, and in so doing, makes Jerry feel like he should be happy about it.
    Like Kramer, AMD tries in vain to make us very happy about something that should already had been fixed long ago- just like their Enduro nightmare which STILL after 18 months has not be fixed, and when they do come out with a PARTIAL and incomplete fix- as is THEIR obligation after these many years, we are told to feel happy that we at least got SOMETHING.
    They took almost 2 1/2 months to come up with a minor fix for some games, and it's still only Beta, and those with single CPU setups got nothing, all the while Nvidia keeps cranking out the WHQLs, and improved Drivers for a wide variety of games- including AMD-based games.

    There's a REASON why AMD is so much cheaper, and far less expensive than Nvida GPU's and Intel CPU's, and we all know why- crappy drivers that are slow to come out, poor attention to detail, weak performance across the board on all their product lines, and a lack of motivation about fixing the problems in a timely manner that they chose to ignore in the first place.
    As the saying goes, you get what you pay for...
    Reply
  • TheJian - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    "Ultimately we have to give AMD the kudos they deserve. They have come forward about their issues"

    No we don't have to give kudos to a company with a beta product who hasn't even fully fixed it yet today. It's like shipping cars with 3 tires. Kudos to the company for putting on a 4th tire for the users today...Seriously? NO WAY. And since it doesn't fix everything (XP users see nothing, eyefinity again nothing), it's really just a 4th tire that is FLAT still...ROFL. They didn't come forward either. They were FORCED INTO THE LIGHT. See PCper's comments in my previous post. They told them he was wrong 1/2 dozen times...ROFL. That isn't coming forward, it's denying you have issues.

    "For users who have a reasonable level of faith in Crossfire scaling and are satisfied with AMD’s frame pacing improvements, a $799 7990 is a very good deal at the moment."

    If you're stupid enough to still believe BEFORE seeing, well you get what you deserve ;) He keeps printing stuff like this. We're not talking Jesus Christ here (whom I guess you need faith in forever right?), this is a company who can't seem to fix problems that have been dogging them for years (not just since april - they've been claiming they had no problem as hardocp shows this is why NV created FCAT to prove AMD wasn't stutter free for years). They still wouldn't discuss the issues with PCper that are ongoing.
    "When I asked AMD for more details on WHY Eyefinity wasn't fixed with this release and why it technically was presenting more of a problem, they didn't want to get into it."
    Shouldn't they be coming forward with what is going on? Still hiding:
    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-...
    " My theory still revolves around the compositing engine that AMD is using for CrossFire and the amount of bandwidth it can handle. Moving a fame of 2560x1600 pixels 60 times a second is taxing but 5760x1080 uses about 50% more pixels is where things seem to break down for AMD."

    Of course 4K won't help this situation as he notes later (I pasted that previously). Be careful if you're just reading anandtech people. Read other sites when AMD vs. NV/Intel is the topic being discussed here. You should NOT buy a A8-5600 as Ian suggests in the 1440p articles for single gpu cards, over Intel. It is foolish as I pointed out in the comments on those articles (and I wasn't alone). I can't believe anyone would recommend AMD over Intel for all but extremely poor people. To recommend it for all single gpu people though is just ridiculous (Titan with a $100 cpu? 780, 7970 etc all show Intel running away BELOW 1440p). I listed the games and links to the articles showing this in the 1440p comments sections. GO LOOK then judge anandtech yourself. I'm not sure what they get promoting AMD, and giving them kudos but I hope it's a LOT of $$. Destroying your reputation isn't worth it IMHO.
    Reply
  • DeviousOrange - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.... yeah you are like a broken record. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    But always right :) Thanks for verifying it. Reply
  • gi_ty - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Whoa there fella, you shouldn't go out on the internet with your stupidity showing like that. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Personal attacks instead of anything about the data. Shocker.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
    Might want to read that and look in the mirror when done. I don't think you made it out of the pink or orange bar in graham's chart ;)

    Come back when you can at least crack the top 3. Then we can talk ;) I'm guessing none of you people took debate class (note I didn't just call you stupid, I'm insinuating you're ignorant) :) It's ok to throw in junk from the bottom of the chart (I'd ignore it anyway most likely) but at least give me something to think about. You know, a valid counterpoint backed by something...Otherwise why bother?
    Reply
  • Slugbait - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Remember back in the day, when the ideal video setup was a Matrox card paired with a couple of Voodoo2 cards? We were all bashing ATi for their drivers back then.

    Remember when ATi released the Rage, and it didn't come close to the performance that was advertised? (well...Tom's loved it). ATi said it was because they shipped with beta drivers, because their customers really, really, REALLY wanted the hardware NOW. But every subsequent driver release was "beta", and then they cancelled driver development so they could concentrate on a new line called "Radeon". A lot of people here at Anand's (and FiringSquad, Rage3D, AGN3D, etc) were quite peeved.

    Remember when you bought any ATi consumer card for your NT Server machine, only to find out that ATi has never written drivers for NT Server, and you had to use Windows generic drivers (no dual-monitor, etc). Want NT Server support? Buy a FireGL or FirePro.

    Remember when your CAD program consistently crashed, but everything was perfectly fine after replacing your ATi card with a card from any other company?

    "Catalyst" is often used as a dirty word on the forums here.

    They have always known that they write poor drivers. This is not some revelation...this is a public spanking by one of their competitors.

    Will they finally wake up and turn things around with their drivers? My confidence is...well, it's kinda low.
    Reply
  • boozed - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    If there're two things I've learned from the internet, it's that Nvidia drivers are terrible, and also ATi drivers are terrible.

    Meanwhile I've had little trouble with either. Am I doing something wrong?
    Reply
  • mwildtech - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Are you still signed into AOL...? ;) I also haven't had many issues with either, at least from a single GPU perspective. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    What a surprise, the AMD-bashing trolls are out in force with long rants that nobody will read.

    Give it a rest guys.

    Anyways, great write-up Ryan. Good to see AMD is getting the issue taken care of.
    Reply
  • chizow - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Except in this case, "AMD bashing trolls" helped fix your CF drivers. A simple "thank you" would have sufficed. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    ROFL...I sincerely thank you for the laugh ;)

    I liked many products over the years but have been saved by vocal complainers pointing out things to make me run, or at least wait until fixes come. I waited for RROD to get fixed with Jasper. Years of complainers finally got a fix (it took so long I started doubting I'd ever own one). My friend who jumped on x360 early shipped his back multiple times in the first year. I believe it spent more time at MS than in his house...LOL. He was a vocal complainer in their forums etc but I never called him a MS bashing troll for it. I laughed and thanked him for being one of the people who saved me years of that frustration :) He only thought that was funny after some beers...LOL

    Thankfully he has a great sense of humor. He's ready with forum accounts everywhere he thinks the complainers will be for xbox1 this time (complainers have value people). But he expects to be a reader this time rather than the complainer ;) I think he'll go PS4 in the end despite the MS love he has vs. Sony. His wallet has no trouble voting against his fanboy thoughts.

    I'm torn over the consoles though. I'd love to see AMD start making some cash, but at the same time I'm pretty unhappy they blew a wad of R&D money on something I want completely dead instead of cpus/gpus/arm socs. Had that R&D went to PC's I don't think I'd be making these statements dissing AMD. At the least they could have kept the layoffs from happening (losing 30% of your smartest people will shaft us on PC's for a few years at least and longer if consoles don't take off by the millions), and had good drivers all last year. That also might have given them a better reputation thus not needing to give out free games that are clearly wiping out profits (Q report shows this). AMD has a great gpu. It's a pity they didn't have enough funding for R&D to pair it with a great driver from day1 and funding to avoid the Fcat disaster. Even if it affects a small group it causes a lot of people to paint your other products with that image.
    Reply
  • Steveymoo - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Interestingly enough, I seem to remember my GTX 460s having microstutter and performance issues in SLI. To the point where your experience in twitch games would be better if you just disabled on of the GPUs. However, over the years, and many driver updates, I don't seem to notice it any more. Nvidia really must have quite a talented software team, who communicate well with the hardware division. I would say there might be some kind of company structure issues for an issue such as this to go unnoticed, and un-fixed for such a long time. Reply
  • anubis44 - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Ssshhhhh! TheJian will be all over you like a duck on a june bug! Remember, Nvidia's drivers are always perfect! They never make any mistakes...

    ...well, except for the chronic problem I had with the GTX670 card I bought for my 3 monitor setup - kept requiring about 20 steps to get all three screens to display due to bad default refresh rate/synch issue in the Nvidia driver. Got so frustrated having to go through 20 steps every time I updated to a newer driver that I sold the card for close to what I paid (~$400) and bought a Gigabyte 7950 for about ~$100 less and flashed the bios to 1050MHz. 3 monitors in eyefinity set up in about 5 minutes in the Catalyst control panel and not a problem since.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Are you using display port monitors or an active DP-DVI adapter for your third monitor? If the latter, has it finally gotten plug and play vs the problems when it first came out? I was never able to get an adapter to work with my 5870; and since my setup wasn't EF compatable anyway (2x 1200x1600 1x 2560x1600) ended up cutting my losses with a 5450 for the 3rd monitor and went nVidia for my next GPU in response. Reply
  • krutou - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Nvidia is known to suck at multi-monitor support because AMD was the first to develop the technology. One of AMD's few strengths is Eyefinity support. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    From the article (and this is repeated at every site reviewing the drivers):
    "So what’s being addressed in phase 1? Phase 1 is being dedicated to Direct3D 10+ games running on a single display. What’s not being addressed in the first driver are the Direct3D 9 and OpenGL rendering paths, along with Eyefinity in any scenario."

    So Eyefinity has issues and isn't even touched with phase1. At the very least AMD is the opposite of strength with eyefinity for now. Phase2 maybe? ;)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Graham%27s_Hier...
    You've stated a point without backing it (4th, green).

    Refutation:
    I found your mistake and explained why it is one and backed it with a direct quote (from this article no less...ROFL) thus proving my point ;) That's the purple one :) But I'm pretty sure I made it into the grey anyway. Your central point is debunked. But I can live with purple if it makes you feel better.

    Being first has no bearing on who is better later. Horses got us from point A to B first, long before cars right? But that didn't stop a car from blowing them away later. I could say the same about the first car engine vs. say a Lamborghini engine today. First doesn't mean best.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Why, he's pointing out reality and what most sites point out. All multi cards had issues for a while and still do. NV just spent a lot more to come up with the tools/software to fix it as best as possible (and I'd still go single potent vs. even NV multi given a reasonable choice). You're mistaking an accurate product complaint for fanboyism. That is not what my complaints are. There is no reason to attack his comment as I already know it's at least partially true for all CF/SLI and the fix is proven (so is AMD's lack of it up to now, and still having issues with 3 cards).

    Would you feel better if I ranted on Bumpgate for a few paragraphs? When a company sucks I point it out. I don't care who it is. Caminogate anyone? I ranted then too. Win8, don't get me started, Vista...(fista? Nuff said). I have equal hate for all crappy releases no matter how much love or hate I have for a company (I hate apple's tactics & pricing, but they do generally have a good polished product). If AMD releases a great 20nm product and NV sucks I will RAVE for AMD and shout at the top of my lungs how NV's product sucks. Based on R&D I doubt NV will suck but AMD can still get out a good product, I just need proof at this point due to lack of funds/engineers pointing to a possible problem launch again.

    Comically you miss the entire point of any of my posts (which are backed by data from other sites etc), then rant yourself on NV. Congrats though, at least you made it to the 4th rung here (well sort of):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
    But not without making the 2nd worst type of argument first...ROFL. You're not outing me here, you're outing yourself.
    Reply
  • Feellia - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    Not aimed at anyone, but flat out in any competitive game play the kind that has tourneys and pays out cash, Mostly fps such as quake..etc everyone has vsync off it flat out adds input lag...all the pros turn it off no matter what monitor is used, but no one is running a SLI/CrossfFire set up during these events.

    The pros typically lower settings quite damn low so they can push a steady 125fps and screen tearing is absolutely no concern. And if i have vsync on my aim % takes a nearly 25% dip

    Anyway this is review is about duel+ cards, and kudos to AMD even though they still need a bit of work before going on a official non beta release = )
    Reply
  • piwo - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    can you check a10- 5750m with hd6670? Reply
  • dew111 - Friday, August 02, 2013 - link

    I just got a second HD 7950, and this driver makes a HUGE difference! They should have done this earlier, but their timing was great for my first CrossFire setup :P Reply
  • JamesWoods - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    It's a crying shame they won't jump back to HD 4000 series or even HD 3000 series and fix these problems. I'm sure there is still quite a large loyal fanbase using these cards. I happen to own several systems with HD 4850's in them, and they can still set pace on a lot of modern games. Crossfire is another story. They never really felt optimized running in X fire. Reply
  • medi02 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Is it me, or does nVidia have much lower min fps on a number of charts? =) Reply
  • transphasic - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Well done, AMD! You didn't bother to do anything about creating fixes for the single GPU setup, and basically ignored those w/o CF setups.
    You had 2 1/2 months without any new driver fixes, and THIS is the BEST you can do?
    Major fail once again.
    Thanks for nothing....
    Reply
  • medi02 - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Exactly which single GPU setup is giving you micro stuttering problem? Reply
  • usrevenge - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Basically, AMD did a lot to fix the problems, but still leaves a lot of work to be done. I call these drivers a success. Reply
  • Nearox - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Does this technology also apply to the HD6000 series (and in particular the HD6950)? Could anyone say if this will also work for Skyrim? Thinking about getting a 2nd hand hd6950 to go xfire with this, seeing the good results from this AnandTech test. Reply
  • lopper - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    A question: Does this driver fix stuttering on dual graphics configurations like A10 +6670? Reply
  • bl4C - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    Hello Ryan,
    It would be interesting to see what this new FCAT testing system can learn us about the Lucid Virtue technology:
    I don't think I've seen any conclusive benchmarking yet, because traditional frame rates reported are not "real" when using Lucid Virtue ... Any idea if FCAT can learn us something meaningful, any change you could shed some light on it ?
    Reply
  • DerekPDX - Friday, October 04, 2013 - link

    Does this address the frame pacing issue with dual graphics and Richland APUs? Reply

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