Typically, I only take a look at software for aftermarket cards that have specific programs needed to take full advantage of them. But I haven’t taken a look at AMD's software for a while and they have now have their new Crimson Edition software. Being completely honest the software side of things has always been one of the downsides for using an AMD and even before than ATI product. The competition seemed to always be ahead and innovating and for a long time they seemed stagnant on the software side. Developing good software and good drivers is expensive and takes a lot of time but it’s an investment that does pay off. Well a year ago this past May AMD started this long process with their Omega driver, stepping back and focusing on just fixing bugs and cleaning up performance. The Crimson Edition was a similar move, but with the focus being on usability and software speed.
The new software is completely different when you open it up. Up top, you have five different tabs and down on the bottom you can get at your preferences, notifications, and you can finally update inside the software. The first page is the gaming tab, this is where most of the action is. The tab opened up instantly, you can tell the focus on speed worked. This page shows up with every game we have installed on our testbench. By clicking on a specific game you can get into the settings and force the game to run with or without any setting you would like. You can also even jump into the profiles Wattman page, this is where you can overclock your card for any specific game. This is great if you don’t want to put the card under the load all of the time but maybe need a small bump in a specific game.
Along with the games, there is also a global page. You can get into the same settings as the games here, but all of these changes will force the settings to be on in everything you do. So, for example, you really like V-Sync, you could turn it on here and be done with it.
The global page is also the standard page for overclocking using what they call Wattman. Ignoring the weird name, it’s great that the overclocking options are right in the software. AMD has always done this where Nvidia always has you download one of their partner's programs to do the same. Up top the software graphs things like the memory and GPU clocks over time, temperatures, fan speed, and GPU activity to help you get an idea of how your overclock is doing. All of the adjustment settings come set to auto but if you click on them you can start to dive in. You can set power or thermal limits for temperatures. They even have a new cool acoustic limit for fan speeds. For actual overclocking, I was surprised to see the new state setup. Basically, when gaming depending on the load your card will run in different states, each having a different clock speed. This is a lot like a boost clock but broken down even more. So we can actually get in and overclock each one individually.
The second main tab (the tabs from up top move to the bottom when you have them open) gives us tuning options for display color. The main options are just for sports and movies but you can also jump into the custom settings.
The Display page shows all of your hooked up displays. In our case, we have just the one monitor. Funny enough our monitor supports AMDs FreeSync but using the HDMI connection did give me the Not Supported on the option to turn on FreeSync. Beyond that, you can get into Virtual Super Resolution where you can encode at 4k or other high resolutions then scale down to your resolution to get more detail.
There is the Eyefinity tab but with us just using one display there is nothing going on there. Then the last tab is the system tab. This lets us take a look at a few details similar to GPUz showing our clock speeds, memory, software versions, etc.