AMD graphics cards have gotten a whole lot of the limelight recently, especially as the brand new RX 7900 XTX undercuts Nvidia’s RTX 4080 in performance. But as AMD has continued to refine its GPU performance, one other big area of improvement has been bubbling under the surface — AMD Software.
It’s been AMD Software, Radeon Software, Adrenalin, and various other names prior to now, but whatever the name, AMD has continued to iterate and improve the software experience for its GPUs. And the version we have now now could be a giant reason why AMD can go up against one of the best graphics cards.
The whole lot, multi function place
The most important perk of AMD Software is that all your settings are in a single spot. That doesn’t seem to be a giant deal until you truly need to leverage the various software features available to Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.
Nvidia has a much different approach. You may see your games and a few quick account settings within the GeForce Experience app. Your critical game and display settings, though, are only available within the drab Nvidia Control Panel. On top of that, Nvidia’s features like Freestyle filters and Ansel can be found in GeForce Experience, but not within the desktop app. You may only find those within the overlay.
I’ve used Nvidia GPUs exclusively for near a decade, and I never used features like FreeStyle and Ansel in day-to-day use, just because I couldn’t be bothered to trace down where to search out them. I actively avoided GeForce Experience on my personal machine — the app would always kick me out, and I’d need to sign back in to do something so simple as check for a driver update. The situation is much more convoluted now with Nvidia Broadcast. I had three Nvidia apps running on my PC in any respect times.
You don’t have to bounce through multiple apps and overlays to search out features with AMD’s software.
AMD Software has every thing in a single spot, each within the desktop app and within the overlay. On the desktop, I can tune game settings and check for graphics drivers, and in a game, I can customize my picture settings while I’m playing somewhat than applying custom color settings in a dated app and hoping they stick (I’m taking a look at you, Nvidia Control Panel). Or I can do all of it on desktop or all in-game, and that flexibility is great.
Overall, AMD and Nvidia have very similar software features available. There are a couple of exceptions, like Nvidia’s AI-enhanced camera features available through Broadcast, but AMD and Nvidia can help you easily optimize your game settings, record and stream gameplay, capture highlights, and configure advanced graphics and display settings. The difference is that you just don’t have to bounce through multiple apps and overlays to search out those features with AMD’s software.
A smoother, more robust experience
AMD Software has a couple of features that make it much more helpful than GeForce Experience, too. For nerds like me, something as small as the choice to reset your shader cache could make a world of difference. A giant plus for AMD Software, though, is the built-in GPU overclocking utility.
You’re not getting a sophisticated overclocking program, but most GPUs don’t call for advanced overclocking in the primary place. You may quickly boost your clock speed or memory speed with a slider, and AMD includes a couple of one-click overclocking profiles, as well. There’s even a built-in stress test to confirm your overclock is stable. Nvidia supports one-click overclocking, too, but only through MSI Afterburner. It’s amongst one of the best GPU overclocking software, but it surely’s one more utility you want to add onto the Nvidia stack to get all the features AMD has in a single app.
You’ve a whole lot of options with this utility, too. The one-click settings are great, but you’ll be able to manually tune your GPU, as well, and even tie specific overclocking profiles to games. In Destiny 2, I noticed the Overclock VRAM profile helped smooth out my frame rate loads, so I actually have it applied only once I play that game. And each time I load up a game, AMD Software shows a small overlay with what I actually have enabled so I don’t have to bounce back to the software to double-check.
Beyond overclocking, AMD builds out its software with several quality-of-life features. There’s a quick built-in browser, for instance, so you’ll be able to quickly look something up if you want to. There’s a search bar so you could find a setting without digging through menus. And once you will have your settings configured how you would like, you’ll be able to export them as a profile and import them later in case you’re switching machines or have to do a clean install.
You don’t have to sign up to AMD Software, either. GeForce Experience requires an Nvidia account, and you will have to sign on to make use of any of its features. I’m not a privacy fanatic where a sign-on screen will send me right into a frenzy, but it surely’s annoying to always sign back into my Nvidia account just to make use of the features of a graphics card I paid for (especially when Nvidia’s social sign-on process is vulnerable to fail).
Built-in overclocking, an online browser, the shortage of a sign-on screen, and various small extras like a search bar help AMD Software feel like a smoother, more robust tool in comparison with GeForce Experience. That’s even before we herald features just like the AMD Link streaming utility, which looks like an enormous plus now that Nvidia is discontinuing its GameStream service.
AMD Software isn’t perfect, though, and it’s essential to call out its flaws. For starters, it’s vulnerable to bugs. On several occasions, settings menus simply wouldn’t display or the software would hang on a tab for some time. Restarting the app at all times resolved the problem, but these bugs still pop up once in a while.
As well as, the recommendations to tune your game settings are lacking. Nvidia features a one-click optimization feature in GeForce Experience that may routinely tune your settings based in your hardware. It’s not perfect, but it surely provides a superb place to begin to tune your performance. AMD Software provides highly general suggestions like “decrease image quality” and “reduce display resolution,” that are far less helpful.
My biggest issue is the overlay. Again and again, the overlay would slow my entire screen all the way down to around 15 frames per second (including my game) and slowly bring up my settings. AMD Software is strong, however the byproduct of doing a lot is that it causes your machine to slow to a crawl while you cram so many features right into a game overlay.
I’ve found that using Alt + Tab is one of the best option to go if I would like to regulate settings (AMD Software could be very friendly on that front). Otherwise, I’ve mainly used the hotkeys to do things like save a recording or take a screenshot. On the plus side, you’ll be able to customize your hotkeys, and it could be interesting to get every thing arrange through something like an Elgato Stream Deck in the long run.
An unsung hero
There’s plenty to speak about on the performance front between AMD and Nvidia, and ultimately, that’s what matters most when selecting a GPU. AMD Software doesn’t at all times get the eye it should, though. It’s packed filled with features that unlock so far more in your graphics card outside of just playing games.
Nvidia has these features, as well, and in some cases, Nvidia goes further. Admittedly, I’ve missed the graceful background blur and auto-framing provided by Nvidia Broadcast, in addition to the ray tracing filter available through FreeStyle.
Still, I’ve enjoyed how much AMD Software has to supply and the way much I’ve experimented with it. Saving GIFs immediately from my games, tuning overclocking settings on a per-title basis, tweaking color settings to get my games looking excellent … the list goes on. AMD and Nvidia each have their pros and cons, but I’ve undoubtedly used AMD Software excess of I ever used GeForce Experience.