It’s been roughly 7 months since AMD released the Crimson ReLive Edition update for Radeon Software, the latest entry in their annual cadence for major driver revisions and feature additions. Today’s launch sees AMD/RTG bring the sequentially and demurely named “Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2,” but for all intents and purposes 17.7.2 serves as a major feature revamp to the original Crimson ReLive Edition, as well as refinement of Radeon ReLive and Radeon Chill. In addition to performance optimizations and feature changes, 17.7.2 also introduces AMD’s new Enhanced Sync (comparable to NVIDIA’s Fast Sync and Adaptive V-Sync) and Radeon GPU Profiler, a low-level GCN hardware tracing developer tool.

Taking a step back, 17.7.2 adds to the regular pace of AMD’s graphics overhauls in recent years: Catalyst Omega (12/2014), Radeon Software Crimson Edition (11/2015), and Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition (12/2016). While not a wholly new Radeon Software edition, 17.7.2 does show a commitment to improving graphics software features outside of those yearly ‘all-in-one wonder drivers,’ building on AMD’s ongoing efforts to improve user experience. On that topic, AMD today is also launching the Radeon Software Vanguard Beta Tester program.

Overview of Radeon Software 17.7.2: What’s in the Driver?

Similar to the original Crimson ReLive Edition, AMD has broadly outlined 17.7.2 into two areas: gamers and game developers. Many of the changes and improvements revolve around previously introduced software features; for readers unfamiliar with the mentioned features, more detailed looks can be found in Ryan and Daniel’s Crimson Edition launch piece, as well as Ian’s Crimson ReLive Edition launch piece.

For gamers, 17.7.2 includes quality-of-life changes for Radeon Software, fulfilling the top two most-voted feature requests: folding in Radeon Additional Settings into Radeon Settings, and bringing back advanced video feature options with new per-display color controls. AMD has also brought some quality-of-life and recording improvements to Radeon ReLive, as well as broader support for Radeon Chill in terms of more games/APIs and more GPU configurations (including Radeon XConnect). In the same vein, WattMan has been updated with memory underclocking and “per power state” control, while FRTC has been updated with DX12 and mGPU support. Rounding out these feature enhancements is Radeon Software support for AMD’s new Enhanced Sync, a V-Sync replacement that can mitigate latency and stuttering. Lastly, 17.7.2 brings general driver optimizations, as well as driver frame wait-time and shader caching improvements.

Moving on, the developer oriented changes fall under the GPUOpen umbrella. First off is an update to Open Capture and Analytics Tool (OCAT) – AMD's open source successor to FRAPS – which was introduced in Crimson ReLive. AMD stated that this is largely a stability update, particularly targeting certain misbehaving games, and additionally brings Windows 10 Creators Update support.

The second is a new tool for DX12 and Vulkan applications: Radeon GPU Profiler (RGP). Already in the hands of select developers and partners, RGP takes advantage of GCN hardware thread tracing to allow low-level event tracking and visualization of graphics workloads. In essence, RGP opens up GCN GPUs to developers in a way that compares to console development. RGP works hand-in-hand with another new developer feature, the Radeon Developer Driver (RDD), which allows creation of trace files and access to internal driver settings. As a unified consumer and developer driver, RDD enables RGP to “just work.”

Concluding the new developer features is the AMD LiquidVR 360 SDK. This enables end-to-end GPU-accelerated HEVC 4K x 4K VR video playback, as well as 6-channel spatial audio in the form of Immersive Ambisonic Audio.

User Feedback and the Vanguard Beta Tester Program
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  • ComputerGuy2006 - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    I read the title too fast, for a second I assumed they had tweaked the radeon software interface. I miss the old interface. The one that had a hierarchy on the left and the settings on the right. It was simple, intuitive and easy to use. Even after few years I am still not comfortable using this 'touch screen' type of interface, I often find myself frustrated while using it.... Reply
  • Cryio - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    Just W7 and W10 targeted improvements? No W8.1? Seems wrong. Reply
  • CBRworm - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    AMD doesn't support W8.1 with the RX 5xx cards. Reply
  • Cryio - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    Seriously? Reply
  • highlnder69 - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    Any particular reason you are still using Windows 8.1 over Windows 10? Reply
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    Computer plugged in, check. Display connected, check. Modern system with latest-gen discrete graphics, check. Free Windows 10 upgrade... darn it! I knew I forgot something!

    Alternatively, maybe alcohol was a factor?
    Reply
  • Ascaris - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    What do you mean "still?" I just migrated to 8.1 in February or April of this year.

    Once I saw that I could wall off, remove, block, or rip out the Metro stuff nearly completely, the six years of security support vs. the three for 7 made it easy. I can avoid 10 for more than half a decade now-- that's a really long time for an OS, as I think you would agree. Maybe MS will actually have a coherent thought or two by then and reverse direction. If not, that's six more years of Linux getting better (I already dual-boot it now).

    Surely you must not have missed all the reasons people avoid 10.
    Reply
  • highlnder69 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    I simply cannot think of one reason why anyone would want to run Windows 8.1 when you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. What exactly don't you like about Windows 10? Reply
  • Ascaris - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    It's all been said before, but if you want me to go over it again...

    I don't like the spying. I don't like the forced updates. I don't like ads. I don't like "Windows as a service," aka permanent beta quality level. I don't like unwanted Candy Crush downloads, or downloads of anything else. I don't like Windows deciding to uninstall whatever it feels like, whenever it feels like. I don't like Windows deciding to replace my drivers with whatever it finds in the Windows catalog.

    None of that stuff is in Windows 8.1, with the possible exception of the backported telemetry (which is also in 7 to exactly the same degree, and can be avoided or mitigated in the same way). Those are the major disqualifiers for Windows 10.

    Windows 8.1 was a disaster in UI terms out of the box, but so is 10. I have used both, and I don't see 10 as a huge improvement over 8.1. Windows 8.1 has a full-screen tiled start screen; Windows 10 has the same thing scaled down to only take part of the screen. Is that really a big advantage? I can't stand tiles at all-- either way, an aftermarket start menu is going to be needed. Classic Shell, including Classic Start, is free and works very well. In both cases, as well as with Windows 7, an aftermarket tweaking tool is necessary to smooth the rough edges of File Explorer, and Classic Shell performs that task to perfection. It's so necessary that I've donated to the devs of the otherwise completely free Classic Shell; it's worth paying for.

    The same is true with the File Manager's ribbon. It's one of the big issues I have with unmodded 8.1, but it has infected Windows 10 just as badly. With the ribbon being as hated as it is, why does MS insist on forcing it on people? I understand that some minority actually likes it, but most seem to dislike it... so if you must have the ribbon, make the traditional File, Edit, View... menu bar an option. Again, an aftermarket solution is necessary. Old New Explorer does it quite nicely.

    I hate apps. My PC is not a phone! In Windows 8.x, they're just tacked on; nothing depends on them. I know from experience that 8.1 is perfectly stable and reliable without any of them present. A tiny utility called install_wim_tweak and a batch file dispatches all apps permanently, and that's that. They will never come back in 8.1, as 8.1 (despite being supposedly in mainstream support for one more year) only gets bugfixes and security fixes. There's not going to be some big architectural change that includes a dependency on some app, and there won't be some huge new version coming every 6 months that reinstalls them all as has happened in the past with 10 (repeatedly).

    You don't know that removing apps is always going to work with 10. The last time I had 10 installed on my PC, it did have all of the 'apps' ripped out, including Cortana and Edge, but with 10's code base undergoing constant churn, there's no way to know that what worked in the last build will work in the next. Some reports from people still in 10 have validated this fear-- Windows 10 is no longer stable with Cortana removed.

    You can't escape UWP in Windows 10. Many system dialogs are only in the UWP style, and this continues to get worse in each new build, as MS moves more and more functionality of the Control Panel into Settings. This process had barely started when MS abandoned 8.1 and began work on 10, and everything a person needs to do can be done in the classic Control Panel or in the MMC. As such, I've simply banished Settings on 8.1... references to it are removed from my start menu, and the tiny program called Metro Killer finishes the job, preventing the inadvertent triggering of anything Metro. Classic Shell already did away with the hot corners triggering the useless Charms, but Metro Killer makes sure.
    Reply
  • RKCook - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    People that avoid Windows 10 are doing so compared Windows 7.

    Windows 8 was quite simply a horrid abomination for a desktop or laptop OS. 8.1 did a small bit to correct the glaring defects. And then took time to fix all of the problems with Win 10.

    My laptop at work crapped out and I received a Win 7 loaner for a weekend. I realized that I like 10 better.
    Reply

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