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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.