AMD’s new GPU driver improves Vulkan support for Radeon graphics cards

Heads up, Radeon GPU owners—AMD is pushing out a new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.6.2 driver release, and the main thing it introduces is support for a handful of new Vulkan extensions.

Vulkan support is not new by any stretch of the imagination, and so the wording in the release notes is a bit confusing in that regard. From what we can tell, the new extensions are for use in future games, and/or to improve performance in existing games (if they're patched to use the extensions).

There are five new Vulkan extensions in total. They include:

  • VK_EXT_host_query_reset: Allows resets of queries from the host, rather than on the GPU.
  • VK_EXT_full_screen_exclusive: Gives applications explicit control over exclusive full-screen modes (this is for instance useful for HDR support).
  • VK_AMD_display_native_hdr: Exposes FreeSync2 capabilities for improved HDR support.
  • VK_EXT_separate_stencil_usage: Separates the usage flags for depth/stencil aspects of a depth/stencil image making it possible to restrict/expand the usage relative to the depth aspect.
  • VK_KHR_uniform_buffer_standard_layout: Provides more flexible alignment for uniform buffers, enabling among other things, the usage of std430 layouts in Vulkan.

AMD also included five bug fixes in this new driver package:

  • Wireless VR may experience performance drops across multiple game titles on some Radeon RX 400 and Radeon RX 500 series graphics products.
  • Performance Metrics Overlay may fail to enable or may be disabled when toggling Radeon Overlay while in game.
  • A TDR may occur when exiting some gaming applications that are using DirectX 12 API when multiple displays are connected and in clone mode.
  • Microsoft PIX tool may fail when a GPU is connected using AMD XConnect Technology.
  • Crackdown 3 may experience an application or game hang on Radeon R7 370 series graphics products.

"Five" is the key figure for this go-around, because that's also how many known issues still exist. They include:

  • Radeon ReLive streaming and uploading of videos and other content to Facebook is currently unavailable.
  • Asus TUF Gaming FX505 may experience discrete GPU connection issues with devices disappearing from device manager when the system is idle.
  • Performance Metrics Overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.
  • Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen Processor may experience system instability when upgrading to Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.6.2 using the Custom Clean Installation option.
  • Graphics driver may not uninstall correctly when using the express uninstall option on some Ryzen APUs.

Either AMD is having a bear of a time fixing the two issues affecting Asus TUF Gaming FX505 and Acer Swift 3 laptop owners, or they're just not a priority. Either way, they've occupied the known issues section of the past several driver updates.

Follow this link to grab the new driver package.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).