The majority of the development effort that is put into graphics drivers these days, whether it be by Nvidia, Intel, or AMD, is focused on new application programming interfaces (APIs) such as DirectX 12 or Vulkan, increasingly sophisticated upscaling technologies, and specific improvements for newly released games. But this year, AMD has also been concentrating on improving OpenGL performance, which is an older trouble area for the company’s graphics drivers.
A new OpenGL driver was made available for download by AMD in the summer, and the company claimed that it would improve the overall speed of Minecraft by up to 79 percent (independent testing also found gains in other OpenGL games and benchmarks, though not always to the same degree).
Now, the same enhancements are coming to AMD’s officially verified GPU drivers for its Radeon Pro-series workstation cards. This will provide significant performance improvements for professional applications such as Autodesk Maya and Solidworks.
According to a blog post published by the business, “The AMD Software: PRO Edition 22.Q3 driver has been evaluated and certified by Dell, HP, and Lenovo for stability, and it is accessible through their driver downloads.” AMD is committed to working with third-party software developers to ensure that its drivers are always up to date.
AMD claims that its new drivers may boost the rendering performance of Solidworks by up to 52 or 28 percent at 4K and 1080p resolutions, respectively, when using a Radeon Pro W6800 workstation GPU as the testing platform. The performance of Autodesk Maya improves by 34% while working at a resolution of 4K, and by 72% when working at the usual resolution.
AMD’s testing shows significant, consistent improvements across the board on the Radeon Pro W6800, W6600, and W6400 GPUs. These are improvements that AMD says will help those GPUs outpace analogous Nvidia workstation GPUs like the RTX A5000 and A2000 and the Nvidia T600. The size of the improvements varies depending on the application and the GPU.
The release notes for the 22.Q3 driver contain a comprehensive list of the Radeon Pro-series graphics processing units (GPUs) that are compatible with it. In addition to desktop cards, the driver is compatible with the mobile GPUs found in a variety of laptops manufactured by Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Panasonic.
AMD did not provide any performance figures for Radeon Pro GPUs that were older than the 6000 series; nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume that any GPUs that are supported by the new drivers will enjoy at least some degree of improvement.
Even though it’s been around for a long time, the OpenGL application programming interface (API) is still used in a significant number of places, including older games (the PC version of Minecraft being a notable example), professional apps, and as a rendering backend for game console emulators, amongst other places.
Although AMD revised its DirectX 11 drivers earlier this year, the speed benefits in most games were often far lower than the improvements delivered by the new OpenGL drivers. AMD also rewrote its OpenGL drivers earlier this year.