AMD Radeon Software’s Crimson ReLive driver is the free update you’ve been waiting for

Crimson ReLive is, according to Radeon Software, a driver update unlike any other. It’s an update poised to push the boundaries of what their family of graphics cards are capable of – and, hopefully, marks another step towards regaining the lost ground against Nvidia in the GPU space.

According to findings from Jon Peddie Research, “more gamers play on Radeon graphics than Intel and Nvidia combined,” meaning Crimson ReLive update has the potential to improve the performance of a lot of computers. But what exactly makes Crimson ReLive so great compared to previous driver updates? Well, alongside the general stability improvements, it adds a tonne of new features, bug fixes, and some impressive performance gains.

ReLive your game performance

Running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on a RX 480 under Crimson ReLive will, apparently, give you a 4% performance boost over running it on the same hardware using Crimson Edition 16.6.2. Overwatch sees a 6% improvement, with Ashes of the Singularity jumping up by 8%. Performance improvements will vary from title to title, but it’s clear to see that Crimson ReLive is making a significant difference. Radeon is claiming these performance gains are comparable to upgrading your card to a new piece of hardware, which isn’t bad for a free update.

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Performance boosts aside, Crimson ReLive is also helping developers improve VR experiences for Radeon users thanks to its rather nifty Liquid VR tech. The addition of Crossfire compatibility means that developers can either have each card render an image for each eye, or set one card to render visuals while the other handles 3D audio. The introduction of multi-render technologies also means single-card setups can run VR more effectively too.

Keeping your Radeon Chill(ed)

On the software front, the most interesting new addition – from a performance perspective – is Radeon Chill, a tool which monitors and regulates card temperature in order to boost performance. Built using tech sourced from HiAlgo after its acquisition by AMD’s earlier this year, Radeon Chill dynamically regulates framerates to drop your GPUs clock speed when less processing power is required. By removing frame queuing and instead presenting frames synchronously, Chill can cool your card down and still run games slickly. Having tested it with World of Warcraft, the experience of having it off or on is imperceptible – making it a welcome addition for those concerned with their hardware’s lifespan, or indeed their electricity bill.

Those of you worrying about this hampering your Battlefield 1 prowess, don’t – Radeon Chill is off by default. Not only do you have to manually whitelist games you want it to work with, but it’s also not designed for intense experiences like DICE’s shooter. Essentially, Chill stops your card from churning out hundreds of frames per second when it doesn’t need to – such as in a menu or when you’re stood idle in something like World of Warcraft or Shadow of Mordor etc. Currently, Chill only works with DirectX 9, 10 and DirectX 11 titles but updates for DirectX 12 compatibility is on the way.

Radeon ReLive: DVR and live streaming for free

Crimson ReLive’s other interesting feature is Radeon ReLive, a fully-featured game recording and live streaming tool which makes its debut in this driver release. Not only has ReLive been a requested feature for some time now, it’s a recording suite that’s as competent as any paid-for alternative and it’s completely free to anyone using Crimson ReLive.

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Game recording and streaming is nothing new, Windows 10 does it as standard. However, Radeon ReLive is more than the simple capture tool Microsoft bundles in. Not only can it record up to the last hour of gameplay automatically – so you never accidently miss that cool moment in a game – but it’s a fully-featured software suite where framerate and audio are recorded in perfect sync so you can easily export files to your favourite editing suite if Radeon’s tech isn’t enough for you. If you’re the sort who likes to customise your videos by including your own webcam feed in the corner of the screen, you can do that here too. ReLive has also hooked itself up to the most popular streaming channels available right now: you can stream seamlessly to YouTube and Twitch, alongside some of East Asia’s most popular networks such as Huya, Longzhu, Douyu and Panda.

If you’re worried about there being any impact on game performance, Radeon claims that ReLive is an incredibly lightweight tool with minimal impact on your system. According to its own testing, recording footage in Battlefield 1 only impacted the average FPS by 4% when running on Ultra settings at 1080p on an RX 480.

What else is new?

There are plenty of other welcome additions. Now there’s support for Dolby Vision and HDR 10, H.265 encoding, FreeSync support in borderless fullscreen mode, DisplayPort HBR3 support for up to 8K 30Hz gaming (or 120Hz 4K gaming), VP9 decoding, Skype performance enhancements and tech to identify a bad HDMI cable and help you resolve the issue.

Support for AMD XConnect via Thunderbolt has also been added, along with WattMan support for cards as old as the R7 260 series, a support and feedback tool to direct to the Radeon team, an overhaul of the Radeon Software Installer – including the option for a total clean install – and a really smart upgrade assistant that lets you know if your computer meets the minimum requirements for any Steam game, offering up a way to buy the components you need easily.

Crimson ReLive is available from today, you can download it over at AMD Radeon’s driver page.

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