In the last week several of you have emailed us about AMD’s Crossfire Eyefinity frame pacing driver – their so-called “phase 2” frame pacing driver – looking for a status update on AMD’s second major frame pacing fix. The last time we talked to AMD about the driver was in late September, at which time AMD told us at the time that they expected to have the driver out for a November release. November has since come and gone of course, meaning AMD has missed their previous deadline.

Since then we’ve been working on chasing down AMD to get a status update on the phase 2 driver, which they have finally provided. The long and the short of it is that the phase 2 driver has been delayed by roughly an additional two months, with AMD now expecting to have a public release of the phase 2 driver ready at some point in January. Note that January coincides with the CES and the launch of Kaveri (AMD’s first GCN desktop APU), so while AMD hasn’t provided any further guidance we wouldn’t be surprised if the roll-out was post-Kaveri, so that AMD doesn’t have to juggle multiple projects at once.

AMD didn’t provide any insight into the latest delay for the phase 2 driver, so at this point it’s not clear whether the delay is due to technical issues, labor/time issues, or a combination of both. From a public perspective AMD’s driver team has already had a busy last few weeks, having been occupied with post-launch tasks for the R9 290 series including pushing out a driver roughly once a week while also making some very fundamental changes to how fan speeds are handled on the 290 cards to reduce fan speed variance. At the same time Mantle is also still in development – the latest Battlefield 4 Mantle ETA is still this month – as AMD is still hammering out Mantle to prepare it for BF4 and for public development. So it goes without saying that we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there’s a manpower issue on AMD’s end, though in our admittedly self-interested point of view it seems to us that the phase 2 driver should be the highest priority item on AMD’s plate.

Anyhow, we’ll have more on the matter once AMD is ready to talk about it in full detail. Hopefully once we’re closer to the launch date AMD will be able to provide us with further information on how the phase 2 fix works. We know from the launch of the 290 series that AMD is going to need to pass frames over the PCIe bus – something the pre-GCN 1.1 cards lack the dedicated XDMA hardware for – so it will be interesting to see how AMD will be implementing this and how it impacts Crossfire performance.

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  • anubis44 - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    Sorry, link got messed up and you can't edit comments on here, but here is the correct link:
  • freedom4556 - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    I'm still pissed about no Crossfire support for <=4xxx series in Windows 8.1. I have a Core 2 Quad computer rocking 1 Gib 4870s that I can't take of 7 now. (And before the haters go 'woooo, 7 4 eva!' I like 8.1)
  • freedom4556 - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    I've never had hardware become driver-obsolete on the same version of Windows it was launched on. It just REALLY rubs me the wrong way.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, December 14, 2013 - link

    4xxx wasn't launched after Win8. If you're referring to the LESS FREQUENT driver updates for them, there isn't much they can do to optimize drivers for old cards that are already pretty much tapped out. They still do roughly quarterly releases. I've still got one machine with a 4850 and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. The drivers for that are already nailed down as good as they're gonna get. The thing is ancient in the PC world.
  • Pastuch - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    I just switched from a GTX 670 to an R9 290 and I have to say it was a wonderful upgrade. All of the weird Nvidia driver issues I had with bitstreaming audio and crashing in BF4 vanished. I have had more problems with Nvidia drivers in the last year than ever before. They keep screwing with their monitor overclocking implementation too which drives me crazy.
  • anubis44 - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    "They keep screwing with their monitor overclocking implementation too which drives me crazy."

    No kidding. I bought a GTX670 last year, and sold it again less than a month later. Every time I installed a new nVidia driver, it broke my 3 monitor setup, and I had to go through a 17 step procedure to get the clock timings back to the correct settings so all 3 displays would show up. Sold the card for close to the $400 I paid for it, and bought a Gigabyte Windforce 7950 for $319. Not only did the Radeon drivers set up eyefinity in under 5 minutes without issue, and the 7950 has 3GB of memory vs. only 2GB on the GTX670, but I was also able to safely flash the bios on the 7950 (dual-bios feature) using a Gigabyte 7970 bios, which boosted the default clock rate from 900MHz to 1000MHz, and the memory clock from 1250MHz to 14750MHz. The card is still running flawlessly in my FX-8350 rig (4.5GHz using a measly $55 Antec Kuhler 620 CLW cooler), and the fact that my favourite RTS Company of Heroes 2 runs on my 7950 faster than it does on a GTX770 is just icing on the cake. Everybody I know who's buying a new graphics card right now is going AMD in one version or another. I might upgrade to a Gigabyte Windforce R9 290 myself if I can even remotely justfiy the performance improvement over the 7950

    At this point, nVidia looks to me like it's simply being beaten into submission by a surprisingly powerful AMD in the gaming graphics area. AMD finally seems deadly serious about dominating the gaming/graphics arena. The gaming console sweep, the R9 290(X) and now Mantle are proof of this.
  • The Von Matrices - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    You're using one desktop GPU, which has never been a problem with AMD. Try using multiple AMD GPUs or AMD's mobile discrete graphics, and you will encounter a plethora of problems.
  • Chrispy_ - Friday, December 27, 2013 - link

    Personally I think AMD are right to focus their manpower on Mantle and 290 issues. If the Steam Hardware Survey is representative of the consumer market as a whole, Crossfire is such a tiny percentage of the market that it may as well not exist. Mantle, on the other hand, may well affect 25-35% of the entire gaming market - and more specifically it will benefit the low-end most where it's really needed.

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