Following last week’s release of NVIDIA’s first Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling-enabled video card driver, AMD this week has stepped up to the plate to do the same. The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.5.1 Beta with Graphics Hardware Scheduling driver (version has been posted to AMD’s website, and as the name says on the tin, the driver offers support for Windows 10’s new hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling technology.

As a quick refresher, hardware acceleration for GPU scheduling was added to the Windows display driver stack with WDDM 2.7 (shipping in Win10 2004). And, as alluded to by the name, it allows GPUs to more directly manage their VRAM. Traditionally Windows itself has done a lot of the VRAM management for GPUs, so this is a distinctive change in matters.

Microsoft has been treating the feature as a relatively low-key development – relative to DirectX 12 Ultimate, they haven’t said a whole lot about it – meanwhile AMD’s release notes make vague performance improvement claims, stating “By moving scheduling responsibilities from software into hardware, this feature has the potential to improve GPU responsiveness and to allow additional innovation in GPU workload management in the future”. As was the case with NVIDIA’s release last week, don’t expect anything too significant here, otherwise AMD would be more heavily promoting the performance gains. But it’s something to keep an eye on over the long term.

In the meantime, AMD seems to be taking a cautious approach here. The beta driver has been published outside their normal release channels and only supports products using AMD’s Navi 10 GPUs – so the Radeon 5700 series, 5600 series, and their mobile variants. Support for the Navi 14-based 5500 series is notably absent, as is Vega support for both discrete and integrated GPUs.

Additional details about the driver release, as well as download instructions, can be found on AMD’s website in the driver release notes.

Finally, on a tangential note, I'm aiming to sit down with The Powers That Be over the next week or so in order to better dig into hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. Since it's mostly a hardware developer-focused feature, Microsoft hasn't talked about it much in the consumer context or with press. So I'll be diving into more on the theory behind it: what it's meant to do, future feature prospects, and as well as the rationale for introducing it now as opposed to earlier (or later). Be sure to check back in next week for that.

Source: AMD

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  • jeremyshaw - Monday, June 29, 2020 - link

    Any plans for benchmarking?

    My best guess is this will help setup future VMs a bit better or something like SR-IOV on Hyper-V, given the commitment to DX12/CUDA GPU passthrough for future WSL2 guests.
  • blppt - Monday, June 29, 2020 - link

    I can't speak to the AMD performance, but I noticed shaky performance with Hardware Assist on in Fallout 76 and a 2080ti (running at 4k with Gsync on). Turning it off (and rebooting, obviously) made a definite difference. I compared it 3 or 4 times, there are definitely stutters where there aren't any with Hardware Assist off.

    I'm going to leave it off for now until they iron out the bugs.
  • silencer12 - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Make sure you go AMD next time.
  • Deicidium369 - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    yeah even out the stutters - go AMD for guaranteed stutters at well below 4K gaming. his issue seems to be software - not the hardware - and we all know AMD is AMAZING at software.
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    You're kidding right???
    Forums are packed full of people complaining for years about driver issues on AMD cards and you are recommending him to leave his good nvidia card that sure, with a new feature is still not optimized, but he doesn't get crashes like basically all AMD cards, for an AMD card. Go and enjoy your stutters and blue/black/green screen and you limited time of 1 hour of playtime until a new crash only possible with AMD cards.
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    he doesn't get crashes like basically all AMD cards...

    amazing comment, I have 2 game PC in house . 5500XT and 5700XT none of the 2 ever crashed with games...

    its ALWAYS the same noobs crying loud in forums
  • MrVibrato - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Yeah, i have two displays here. None of those have ever displayed a stupid internet comment. Never. I really wonder what people are getting all melodramatic and childish about. It's a complete mystery to me, if only i knew...
  • WaltC - Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - link

    Yes, and if you look at other forums on the Internet you will find they are packed with people who have been abducted by aliens. People who think AMD GPUs crash all the time are idiots, imo. If that was true, do ya' think AMD could sell them to anyone? Since AMD is now selling the crap out of its GPUs we can conclude this is not the case. My AMD 5700XT 50th Ann doesn't crash, btw. 'nuff said.
  • Smell This - Sunday, July 5, 2020 - link

    Abducted by aliens? Pbbssst!

    However, the Moon landing in 1969 was fake, and tax cuts pay for themselves ...
  • silencer12 - Thursday, July 2, 2020 - link

    Remember nvidia drivers from February 2011 that caused the fans to shut off and cards to overheat. Fun stuff

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