AMD Owners Just Got A Ton Of Cool New Features

amd radeon new driversAMD CEO Dr Lisa Su holding up a piece of 7nm silicon from the Navi GPU generation. Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

Given Xbox and PlayStation's game streaming tech is powered by AMD hardware at various levels, it made sense that AMD would eventually get into game streaming themselves. And with the latest driver suite, AMD users will be able to stream games to their phones. But that's not all: from today, users now have the ability to basically remaster any retro game to decent quality with integer display scaling for no performance cost, as well as a motion-based dynamic resolution toggle for better FPS in certain scenarios.

We'll start with game streaming first. AMD aren't the first here: Nvidia's GameStream has been an option for years, although it's mostly effective between PCs or a PC to the Nvidia Shield streaming box. But AMD Link's main new feature is the ability to stream games from your PC to your mobile phone, all through the AMD Link app.

It's a new feature for AMD Link, which was largely a second screen app for monitoring PC metrics like temperatures, fan speeds and so on. Now, it'll be able to stream games at 50Mbps using x265 to your phone, with support for creating instant GIFs. The new AMD Link is available today for Android users, while those on iOS will have to wait until December 23 internationally.

You'll need an AMD GPU for all of this to work, so anyone who invested in a Ryzen/GeForce combo won't be able to take advantage.

For those that can — owners of the new Radeon 5700 XT cards, for instance — there's a bunch of other benefits worth talking about. Radeon Boost is a new toggle that adjusts resolution whenever the card detects motion on-screen. It's currently limited to a bunch of first-person shooters and some third-person action games, but AMD are touting up to 38 percent and 22 percent FPS increases in Overwatch and PUBG when enabled:

During an embargoed Q&A, press asked AMD how the drivers knew motion was happening. "Radeon Boost monitors user inputs, and so it looks at as you slide the mouse around in the game, and as you move a game controller around, that correlates to motion and so it responds to those inputs," AMD's Scott Wasson said.

The cool new feature and one that's becoming more popular is integer display scaling. Integer display scaling is a technique that scales up the number of existing pixels by a whole number. It's a technique that's designed to make a huge impact on retro games, giving them a much sharper look when viewed at higher resolutions. Nvidia introduced the feature into their driver set in August, and with AMD and Intel supporting the feature, retro gaming should look a lot better no matter what you're playing on.

AMD's Image Sharpening filter now supports DX 11 games as well, meaning you can toggle the feature on all DX11, DX12 and Vulkan games through the Radeon Software tab, with DX9 games supported for cards RDNA, GCN GPUs and all AMD APUs from Raven Ridge upwards. AMD says the performance hit is less than 2 percent.

The UI has been completely retooled as well, adding support for a in-game web browser that you can access direct through the Radeon Software Suite. Most games have this through whatever launcher you're using, but if by chance you're playing something that doesn't - a DOSBox game or something like Overwatch - then you have the ability in every game.

For comparison, here's what the Radeon Settings used to look like:

Lot busier, but more features too. The new AMD drivers are available now through the AMD website.


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