AMD Rearchitects OpenGL Driver for a 72% Performance Uplift

On Thursday, AMD issued a blog post claiming that its latest AMD Software: Pro Edition 22.Q3 driver increased performance in OpenGL applications by up to 72%. While the driver technically caters to AMD’s professional graphics cards, it also supports high-end Radeon RX 6000-series graphics boards. Furthermore, the new OpenGL driver architecture is already present in AMD’s drivers for consumer boards.

AMD has been criticized for mediocre OpenGL drivers for ages as its graphics processors were behind comparable GPUs from Nvidia in OpenGL-based games and professional applications. Over the years, the company attempted to redesign its OpenGL software at least a couple of times. However, Nvidia GPUs were still better in software (games and professional applications), relying on this application programming interface. But this time around, AMD says it completely re-architected its OpenGL driver, which improves the performance of its GPUs by 2% ~ 115% depending on the actual graphics board and workload. AMD says its Radeon W6800 is faster than Nvidia’s RTX A5000 graphics boards in several applications.

“The release of AMD Software: Pro Edition 22.Q3 (opens in new tab) […] brings our most significant performance advancements to date in all OpenGL applications and many of your other favorite creating, designing, modeling, and CAD software applications,” a statement (opens in new tab) by AMD reads. “We took the rearchitected OpenGL and tailored it to increase performance for OpenGL-based Creator and CAD applications, such as Autodesk Maya, which has seen improvement increase up to 72% over the previous driver and up to 41% over the competition. The latest driver has also continued to increase performance in non-OpenGL applications, which has seen up to 72% over the competition.”

(Image credit: AMD)

For obvious reasons, the number of people who use professional visualization (ProViz) applications is lower than those who play games. So, the sweetest part is that AMD has already implemented OpenGL improvements into its existing Adrenalin drivers, so gamers who still play OpenGL games can take advantage of the improvements. Furthermore, those who use ProViz applications with consumer-grade Radeons (e.g., Radeon RX 6950 XT) can try the new drivers to improve performance. These boards are not certified by developers of Proviz software, but if they work faster with new drivers, that’s good.

“This new [OpenGL driver] architecture was first introduced to consumers in July 2022 with our AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition 22.7.1,” says AMD. “The current market feedback on performance improvements has been highly positive for performance and stability.”

(Image credit: AMD)

The new AMD Software: Pro Edition 22.Q3 driver has been certified by developers of popular CAD, CAM, and DCC applications as well as tested and approved by Dell, HP, and Lenovo for stability (owners of appropriate workstations have to download their drivers from PC makers’ websites).