AMD has released its latest Adrenalin beta drivers and now supports hardware GPU scheduling for selected graphics cards.
It's been a bit of a slow journey for hardware GPU scheduling. While numerous GPUs have supported the concept for some time, it's taken longer for Microsoft and GPU manufacturers to implement the feature. The first key tentative step was when Microsoft added support in a May 2020 update tied to DirectX 12 Ultimate with Nvidia recently launching support too, but it's only now that AMD's Adrenalin drivers support the feature.
What is it, you ask? It moves GPU task scheduling from being a software-based task to hardware-based, allowing the GPU itself to directly manage how VRAM is used rather than rely on software solutions, i.e. having Windows do all the hard work. By allowing the GPU to work more efficiently and intelligently, managing its own resources, it's expected to improve performance quite significantly. As we all know, good drivers make a huge difference after all.
In the case of AMD's latest Adrenalin drivers, they're a beta version but they're considered to be fairly stable. The version number if you're curious is 20.5.1 which could be confusing because there's already a version 20.5.1 Beta. To make things even more baffling, there's now a second version 20.5.1 Beta in the form of 20.5.1 Beta with Graphics Hardware Scheduling.
Strange names aside, and it's worth remembering that the feature is very limited right now. It only works on the AMD Radeon FX 5600 and RX 5700 series of graphics cards, so not many people will be able to benefit from the improvements.
Of course, these improvements are somewhat theoretical right now as the cards need to be put through some benchmarks to guarantee what AMD is stating. Even AMD is being relatively quiet about what to expect from a performance boost, presumably because it's still trying things out.
When it came to Nvidia's inclusion of GPU hardware scheduling, not all games saw improved performance according to some outlets. Ultimately, that's probably down to software that needs tweaking so this is a big move in the right direction, even if it doesn't end up as awe-inspiring as hoped.
If you're keen to give the beta drivers a whirl, they're available now via the AMD website.
September 15 2020 | 14:00