Today we’re wanting on the very first set of official Ryzen Mobile GPU drivers to come back from AMD. Owners of Ryzen Mobile laptops have been ready for at the present time for months now, so the actual fact these drivers are lastly out is nice information for the small however rising neighborhood of Ryzen laptop computer early adopters.

Let’s backtrack for a second and catch you up with the complete story of Ryzen Mobile laptops. The first units to make use of Ryzen Mobile launched on the tail finish of 2017, and whereas efficiency in some instances was fairly good because of the highly effective built-in GPU, it shortly turned obvious that work was nonetheless wanted on the software program aspect. GPU-accelerated productiveness apps crashed often or didn’t work in any respect, there have been points taking part in some video games on the laptops regardless of having sufficient GPU horsepower, plus there have been loads of odds and ends that wanted tidying up with new drivers. The {hardware} was there, it simply wasn’t very polished and there was a quintessential “early adopter” really feel to the platform.

Over time, it turned obvious that AMD and the OEMs weren’t going to patch these issues in a well timed style. AMD blamed the OEMs for slacking at pushing out software program updates, and that’s true to an extent, however realistically the platform wanted correct drivers obtainable by way of AMD instantly. Throughout 2018 customers found that hacking AMD’s newer APU drivers to work on their Ryzen Mobile laptops delivered a extra steady expertise with higher efficiency. But this was an unofficial, hacked collectively answer reasonably than the businesses concerned instantly addressing the issues by way of official replace streams. Not adequate.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Those who had purchased Ryzen Mobile laptops for the quick built-in GPU in a transportable type issue shortly turned annoyed. Users turned irritated on the lack of driver optimizations for brand spanking new video games, which had been obtainable for APU and discrete GPU house owners. That annoyance grew into anger as some programs hadn’t acquired a single GPU driver replace for a yr, whereas these with Nvidia and even Intel GPUs acquired fairly common updates.

Thankfully, AMD listened and has lastly launched official Ryzen Mobile GPU drivers that you may obtain instantly from (or from TechSpot’s drivers part, after all). These drivers will be put in on any Ryzen Mobile machine, whether or not that’s a brand new system, or one of many unique Ryzen laptops. It’s not locked down by OEMs, it’s designed to work as a generic, up to date driver for all. It could have taken over a yr however at the very least the drivers at the moment are obtainable.

Naturally, we needed to check these new drivers and examine them to the originals that shipped with Ryzen Mobile laptops after which didn’t get up to date for ages. We nonetheless have our unique HP Envy x360 15″ with the Ryzen 5 2500U inside, so when the new drivers became available we installed them, updated a whole bunch of other things like Windows, BIOS and other utilities that had received updates since we reviewed the system, and put the updates through their paces.

The driver version we’re testing is Radeon Software version 19.2.3, the latest version as of writing. We’re going to go through our usual suite of laptop benchmarks to see how the HP Envy x360 performs compared to how it launched back in 2017. There’s also going to be some game testing with direct before/after comparisons focusing on improvements from the drivers alone.

Application Performance

We won’t bore you with the results from our CPU-limited workloads like PCMark 10, video encoding, MATLAB, 7-Zip, and so on. There is no difference in performance between the original launch state of Ryzen Mobile, and today with the latest drivers. This makes sense, the drivers are GPU drivers and many of the apps we benchmark don’t use the GPU at all. So if you’re expecting a few more Cinebench points from updating Windows, installing a new BIOS, and grabbing Radeon Software 19.2.3, think again.

Where the benefits are apparent is in GPU-accelerated productivity workloads. Blender is a prime example. Back when we reviewed the Envy x360, we could only get Blender to successfully complete our benchmark render once. Every other time it crashed or stalled, it was a disaster. With the update — and without updating the Blender application itself — the benchmark now completes every single time. So that’s a massive stability improvement.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Performance is also improved. Our Blender benchmark, which runs entirely on the GPU, was 17% faster after all of these updates. That’s a pretty handy improvement, placing AMD’s integrated GPU around the mark of Intel’s latest Core i7-8565U in a 25W configuration running the workload on the CPU. Given this is comparing a Ryzen 5 APU to a generally much faster Intel Core i7, that’s a pretty good result purely from software tweaks.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Even better is the ability to run some benchmarks that didn’t work at all previously. Adobe Photoshop, for example, had problems with acceleration with the initial set of drivers. Now it works, allowing the Ryzen 5 2500U to slightly outperform the Core i5-8250U in our Iris Blur test.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

CompuBench is another workload we had a lot of problems with. Half the tests didn’t work, the other half would frequently crash, to the tune of about 10 crashes for every 1 working benchmark run. With the latest drivers, there are still a few crashes, but they are infrequent and generally it is now possible for the entire benchmark suite to run without issue. Performance isn’t improved but better stability is welcome.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

We still had issues with Adobe Premiere though. Even with all the latest updates, the Ryzen 5 2500U is still unable to GPU accelerate the crucial Lumetri color effect in Premiere with 4K footage. Lumetri is a widely used effect among creators for color correction, and while applying this to 4K footage might seem intensive, it can be easily GPU accelerated on Intel’s integrated graphics and all of Nvidia’s recent discrete GPUs.

The effect not working with Ryzen Mobile is a definite outlier, although Lumetri is bizarrely compatible with 1080p footage and below with this processor. Many other GPU accelerated effects also work.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

However our Premiere benchmark uses 4K footage and Lumetri color effects. This means even today, Ryzen Mobile gets destroyed by a mere Intel Core i5-8250U, taking over 30 minutes to render on the CPU alone. Without Lumetri effects, the Ryzen 5 2500U is faster. We’ve flagged this issue to AMD (again) so hopefully their driver team will look into it or at least provide an explanation as to why this effect is incompatible with Ryzen Mobile GPUs.


Moving on to games, once again we want to stress how much better this new driver is with regards to stability, crashes and other technical issues. Previously, we had all sorts of problems with Ryzen Mobile gaming. Sometimes we’d load a game and the GPU would underclock itself compared to the previous load. Sometimes a game would only work in full screen mode and present artifacts when using borderless windowed mode. Sometimes a game would have Vsync forced on despite the option being disabled everywhere. Generic crashes and system reboots were common. It was a disaster even in lightweight games like Fortnite.

With the latest drivers, we haven’t experienced any of these issues. All the games that we had trouble with now work fine. Crashes are gone. Basic functionality works. It’s like the system has gone from an alpha pre-release set of software, to a proper finalized driver that’s been tested by more than two people. It’s great.

In terms of gaming performance, AMD has claimed this is where users should see big improvements over the launch drivers, specifically 17% average performance gains in Esports titles when going from driver version 17.40 to 19.2.3. However all our previous tests were done with version 17.7 not the even older 17.4, so let’s see how those margins look like…

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

With Fortnite, we recorded a small 5% improvement on average framerates and no improvement to 1% lows, with our v17.7 data coming from runs where the game did not randomly underclock the GPU. A 5% improvement is fine, but the actual improvement your getting is that consistent performance every time you boot the game. The GPU still provides a good experience at 1080p with low settings.

When testing CS:GO we saw no difference in performance before and after the driver update.

Performance is much better in Civilization VI however, increasing by 15%. For a game that we think is well suited to a laptop form factor, getting up near the 60 FPS mark in intensive scenarios at native 1080p is a really good result. The improvement to 1% lows is phenomenal.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Testing GTA V saw no difference in average frame rates, but a handy increase in 1% low performance that allows the game to run smoother in general. While you’ll still have to play on the lowest settings, performance is respectable from a low-power APU.

Metro: Last Light is the most punishing game we tested despite being an older game at this point. Average performance decreased by ~9 percent this time which is disappointing, however this was compensated with a large improvement to 1% lows, allowing the game to run more smoothly.

Other Improvements

Battery life should also be mentioned. Ryzen Mobile was never amazing from a battery life perspective, and early systems tended to have strange idle clock behavior, such as idling too high on the GPU. That’s been resolved, which in a few battery benchmarks resulted in up to a 7% improvement. Nothing amazing, but we were surprised to see an improvement at all.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Overall the new drivers bring a number of improvements and moving forward every new Radeon GPU driver release will effectively work with Ryzen Mobile which is how it should be. Performance has seen minor gains with a few outliers, notably Blender and Civilization VI, that saw gains of about 15%.

The more important improvements come in the form of stability and bug fixes. Almost every issue we had with Ryzen Mobile has been resolved. Games are more stable and deliver more consistent performance. It’s not perfect yet, there are still issues with Lumetri in Premiere and a few apps still hang or crash more often than we’d expect, but overall this is a significant step forward.

Tested: Ryzen Mobile Gets Better Drivers, Finally

Support for a few of AMD’s driver options which can be accessible on discrete GPUs, resembling ReLive are usually not obtainable but, which can disappoint some, nonetheless the drivers are nonetheless a piece in progress and it appears AMD spent most of their efforts on stability and efficiency, with options to come back later.

And that’s the fantastic thing about this new driver ecosystem for Ryzen Mobile. You gained’t have to attend months for a brand new GPU driver for his or her laptop computer APUs, we should always count on month-to-month updates in keeping with their desktop playing cards. Over time we count on bugs to be patched, options to get added and efficiency to enhance. Or at the very least that is the promise, we’ll should see this play out, however this can be a good first step.

It should not have taken AMD this lengthy to get their act collectively on Ryzen Mobile. Early adopters little doubt did not see one of the best of Ryzen, however given the corporate’s success on the desktop and server household of processors, it is solely logical they search to win on the massive laptop computer market as properly. As the Ryzen Mobile platform grows this shouldn’t be as a lot of a difficulty transferring ahead.