NVIDIA has recently released their own Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling driver, and AMD is also sharing their own version for their graphics cards. Dubbed the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.5.1 Beta version, this new driver is now available for download from the AMD driver page. What makes this driver very distinctive is the fact that it finally brings in the hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling to the masses. However, this is a Beta, so it’s not a finalized version. That means you can expect all kinds of glitches and even graphical artifacts, so use it with caution.
Things to note about the hardware acceleration for GPU scheduling
What we need to keep in mind about this feature is that it was integrated with the WDDM 2.7 display driver stack that was provided with the Windows 10 2004 version. What it does is it helps a GPU manage the video ram with a lot more efficiency. Until this point, Windows was the one managing the VRAM, and it did a decent job. But there were clear problems with some videogames and RAM-intensive applications that urged Microsoft to make this change.
Despite the fact that this is quite a big deal, both AMD and Microsoft aren’t really showcasing it as something very significant. AMD does state however that they are pushing this feature from software to hardware because it makes the GPUs a lot more responsive. On top of that, it also makes it easier for the developers to focus on the future and further optimize games so most of the workload is handled by the GPU. There are no significant performance gains to talk about, but this is an important feature that will stand out in the near future for sure.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t find the driver in the official release channel. For the time being, it only offers support for the NAVI 10 GPU units, more specifically the series 5700 and 5700 as well as their mobile counterparts. There’s no support right now for the 5500 series for example, nor the integrated GPUs or even the VEGA units as well. You can read the release notes here, and they do share some ideas regarding the known issues and other important notes that you may want to learn about.
Is this an impactful announcement? It’s hard to say because there’s not a lot of information about the potential performance gains. Both AMD and NVIDIA are playing it safe for now and it’s easy to see why. The technology is in its inception, it still has quite a lot to grow and it will most likely take some time until it will reach its true potential. But until that point, it’s still nice to know that Windows is not handling the VRAM anymore, and instead, the GPUs can do it themselves. We are sure that this will impact the work of many developers in the future since it will bring in smoothness and responsiveness!