Advanced Micro Devices is releasing its biggest consumer graphics driver update of the year as it aims to boost graphics performance for games, virtual reality, and content creation.

AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group is launching its Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2 driver update for its graphics processing units (GPUs) with the ultimate goal of creating better experiences for gamers. It should result in better user interface features, improvements in first-person shooter games, quicker load times, more responsiveness, and various bug fixes. Game image captures should be much better in terms of graphics quality.

Sasa Marinkovic, head of VR and software marketing at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD, said in a press briefing that the new driver software has the AMD LiquidVR 360 software development kit to enable better 360-degree 4K video playback for VR apps, with HD resolution in each eye.

The drivers also offer support for ambisonic audio, or six channels of audio for better immersion in VR apps.

The drivers have improved game responsiveness by reducing driver overhead, which resulted in up to 31 percent (50 milliseconds) quicker response time with Tom Clancy’s The Division.

The update includes Enhanced Sync, a display technology that helps increase gameplay responsiveness and decrease tearing, or image mismatches when one part of the screen refreshes faster than another part. It also provides up to 34 percent lower latency and 92 percent lower frame variance when tested with Overwatch.

And it has upgrades to Radeon Chill that interactively regulates frame rate and now supports close to 40 of the world’s greatest games. It is available for laptops, multi-GPU and Radeon XConnect-capable systems. Radeon Chill now offers extended battery life in the HP Omen by 30 percent when using Radeon Chill on the very high settings with the game League of Legends.

The company said it is doubling down the investment in GPU Open technologies, and it is adding a Radeon GPU Profiler tool that enables hardware thread tracing, which is a kind of a “bread crumb trail” for graphics processing. That gives PC game developers as much insight into graphics performance as console game developers have, Singh said.

“We are taking power from the driver teams and handing it over to the development teams,” Singh said. “They can understand what is happening inside the GPU. This has been a challenge for VR developers as they try to squeeze more performance out of their applications.”

AMD said its Crimson drivers have had a 90 percent user satisfaction rating in the last six months.

AMD also announced the Radeon Software Vanguard Beta Tester program, a new channel for selected participants to work directly with AMD on Radeon Software improvements. Participants, who will be both gamers and professionals, will be granted early access to Radeon Software and take part in play-testing prereleased versions and sharing feedback.

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