After a brief detour for AMD’s driver team where they diverged their drivers for the Radeon 300 series and R9 Fury X launch, AMD has reunified their drivers with the release of Catalyst 15.7. The WHQL release, the first such release from AMD since Catalyst 14.12 in December, includes a number of major feature additions and performance improvements relative to both the previous 15.6 drivers for AMD’s older cards, and the even older 14.12 WHQL drivers.

Overall here are the major additions to AMD’s drivers that Radeon owners will want to be aware of:

  • Performance improvements for older cards
  • Frame Rate Target Control for older cards
  • Virtual Super Resolution has been extended to the 7000 series and AMD APUs
  • Crossfire Freesync is now supported
  • Preliminary “technical preview” Windows 10 support (WDDM 2.0)

The driver build, 15.20.1046, is based off a slightly newer branch than the one used for the 300 series launch (15.15). As that driver already incorporated most of these improvements, for new 300 series owners the changes compared to the 15.15 launch driver will be minimal other than the fact that WDDM 2.0 drivers are now available.

As for existing Radeon owners, this means that the functionality that was previously limited to the latest Radeon products has finally been backported. Frame Rate Target Control, which allows capping framerates between 55fps and 95fps, is now available on most GCN cards. And Virtual Super Resolution, previously only available on certain members of the 200 series, has been backported to all Bonaire, Pitcairn, and Tahiti GPUs, meaning that the R7 260 Series, HD 7790, HD 7800 series, and HD 7900 series all support VSR. So do AMD’s latest APUs, with the 7400K and above getting VSR support.

Meanwhile Crossfire Freesync, after being held back by AMD earlier this year due to outstanding issues, has finally been enabled. We have not had a chance to test this yet to see how well it works, though AMD notes that it’s working for DirectX 10 and higher (which implicitly excludes DX9 and OpenGL applications).

As for performance for older cards, we’re still running numbers, but for the games in our benchmark suite it looks like there are consistent performance gains in The Talos Principle, with further minor upticks in performance in Total War: Attila, and in the minimum framerates for Shadows of Mordor. AMD’s notes also mention a number of new Crossfire profiles, though this is relative to the 14.12 release. Finally, since I’ve had a few people ask me about this, according to AMD’s notes they have not yet resolved the anti-aliasing corruption issues with Crossfire in The Witcher 3.

Last but not least, AMD has also released a Windows 10 driver package that includes WDDM 2.0 and DirectX 12 support. While earlier driver releases were available through Windows Update, this is the first external WDDM 2.0 driver release for the company, and the first WDDM 2.0 driver to support recent products like the R9 Fury X. For the moment AMD is covering their bases and calling this a “technical preview” driver, with official driver support to come on the 29th when Windows 10 launches. The driver is for all GCN video cards, as older Radeon 5000 and 6000 products will not be getting WDDM 2.0 support and will continue using the existing WDDM 1.x drivers on Windows 10.

Finally, for this driver release you’ll want to check out AMD’s master driver download page. The company has released individual driver packages for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 (in both 32-bit and 64-bit varieties), so you’ll want to grab the right package for your operating system.

Source: AMD

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  • Gigaplex - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    I've seen forum threads where the problem is most frequent on GCN cards, with many suspecting the ZeroCore functionality as a contributing factor. Another symptom I forgot to mention was that occasionally the system forgets to wake the screen back up again. I usually need to unplug then replug the DVI cable (and hearing the Windows hotplug event sounds) before I get a signal to the display again. I've also seen the issues on clean installs of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, so DDU won't be of much help. Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    ROFLMAO - AMD IS OVER IT'S DRIVER ISSUES !

    HAHAHHHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Reply
  • DEF1ANT - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Just to let you in on an IT secret in my experience a BSOD is mainly caused by a bad ram stick check all ram 1 at a time and double check once you found the bad one, btw its very rare that a driver on a gpu gives you BSOD because if the vendor driver fails you will just reboot into the oem windows driver oh and also a bad harddrive will also give BSOD but yeah ram is the #1 problem 99% of the time. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    I got BSODs when undervolting the GPU too much with Afterburner as I recall. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    I've run several passes of memtest and it's all clear. I've used windbg on the memory.dmp file from the BSOD and it clearly identifies the atikmpag.sys module. Reply
  • Lunisford - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    My r9 290 had regular BSOD,tried everything. And it was almost impossible to do something(BSOD AT STARTUP!)
    What fixed it?
    Flashed that card,I simply asked for the bios so I can flash .They didn't want at first. But I said, I know i'm not allowed and I can srew this up but its too late both ways. and tada.
    NO issue at all!
    Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    ISN'T AMD WONDERFUL ?

    hahahhahha OMG the suckage is unbelievable - how did you not kill yourself ?
    Reply
  • twtech - Monday, July 13, 2015 - link

    AMD's drivers can have issues with updating where some of the old driver components stick around. I had a persistent driver crash issue which I eventually determined to be caused by a component DLL that was much older than the installed driver.

    I recommend uninstalling the driver, running a driver cleaner program, and then installing completely fresh. You can't even trust the option to do a clean install.
    Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Exactly, and that doesn't always work, but amd drivers have been over there problems for years now - that was like 4 years ago when amd had problems with drivers...

    BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Reply
  • Fastvedub - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I am having an issue.I am not seeing the VSR on my 7950.I have done a uninstall twice now,not with DDU,wondering if that is the issue,been an Nvidia guy most my pc years,but loving AMD so far,anyways,Uninstall twice,reinstall twice,still not seeing it,i see the frame rate limiter,and i see i have catalyst 15.7 installed,driver packaged version 15.20.Anyone else having this issue? Or is it me not using DDU? Any help would be much appreciated, thanks in advance. Reply

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