Following last week’s release of NVIDIA’s first Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling-enabled video card driver, AMD this week has stepped up to the plate to do the same. The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.5.1 Beta with Graphics Hardware Scheduling driver (version has been posted to AMD’s website, and as the name says on the tin, the driver offers support for Windows 10’s new hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling technology.

As a quick refresher, hardware acceleration for GPU scheduling was added to the Windows display driver stack with WDDM 2.7 (shipping in Win10 2004). And, as alluded to by the name, it allows GPUs to more directly manage their VRAM. Traditionally Windows itself has done a lot of the VRAM management for GPUs, so this is a distinctive change in matters.

Microsoft has been treating the feature as a relatively low-key development – relative to DirectX 12 Ultimate, they haven’t said a whole lot about it – meanwhile AMD’s release notes make vague performance improvement claims, stating “By moving scheduling responsibilities from software into hardware, this feature has the potential to improve GPU responsiveness and to allow additional innovation in GPU workload management in the future”. As was the case with NVIDIA’s release last week, don’t expect anything too significant here, otherwise AMD would be more heavily promoting the performance gains. But it’s something to keep an eye on over the long term.

In the meantime, AMD seems to be taking a cautious approach here. The beta driver has been published outside their normal release channels and only supports products using AMD’s Navi 10 GPUs – so the Radeon 5700 series, 5600 series, and their mobile variants. Support for the Navi 14-based 5500 series is notably absent, as is Vega support for both discrete and integrated GPUs.

Additional details about the driver release, as well as download instructions, can be found on AMD’s website in the driver release notes.

Finally, on a tangential note, I'm aiming to sit down with The Powers That Be over the next week or so in order to better dig into hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. Since it's mostly a hardware developer-focused feature, Microsoft hasn't talked about it much in the consumer context or with press. So I'll be diving into more on the theory behind it: what it's meant to do, future feature prospects, and as well as the rationale for introducing it now as opposed to earlier (or later). Be sure to check back in next week for that.

Source: AMD

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  • EasyListening - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    The ones with the least experience with AMD hardware somehow believe they know the most about AMD hardware. *psyduck
  • blppt - Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - link

    AMD, in my experience, does not do particularly well in FO76, with stuttering that does not occur with equivalent Nvidia cards at 4k. I actually have a second box with a 5700XT running Ubuntu right now, but the last time I booted it into Windows, FO76 didn't run particularly well.

    Never mind that AMD currently doesn't even make a GPU that comes anywheres near a 2080ti in any situation other than CPU-bound games.
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    "Any plans for benchmarking?"

    Yep. That's sort of the other half of the reason for speaking with Microsoft: to get more context to better understand what to look at and where.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Do you think this going to be a situation like DX12/Vulkan where slower CPUs will see a greater net benefit? I'm thinking older dual/quad CPUs.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, July 4, 2020 - link

    Sounds logical.
  • Cellar Door - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Thanks Ryan - at the moment, there are lots of sites that pretty much don't know what they are doing so many people are looking for Anandtech to really bring some proper understanding to this subject.
  • kulareddy - Monday, June 29, 2020 - link

    And my HDMI audio driver vanished just like that and it wont even show up in Device Manager.
  • neogodless - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    There's a reason it's in beta! Probably not worth the trouble unless you're interested in helping AMD troubleshoot and send in detailed bug reports with equipment lists and reproduction steps!
  • Hul8 - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    This version number is a bit stupid.

    The original 20.5.1 Optional (without the "with Graphics Hardware Scheduling" part at the end) was published on 10th June according to AMD's support page (or 25th May according to AMD software on my computer).

    Why not call this new package 20.5.2, or 20.5.1a?
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Any plans for a driver that fixes crashes and bluescreens? I mean, it is nice to have more features, but currently AMD has more basic problems. I truly hope they will get sued because of this whole driver situation, it is very bad for navi cards.

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