Lyft Removed Surge Caps But Didn’t Tell Its Users

In this day and age taxis are facing more and more competition from the likes of apps such as Uber and Lyft, where users can order up a “ride” through their smartphone with everyday people picking you up in their cars. Part of the new system is the “surge” calculation, something that Lyft removed from their fares without telling a single user.

The surge system is an automated system which increases the prices of rides when the system is swarmed with people ordering rides. Uber recently stated that it wouldn’t raise their prices more than 3.9 times when the DC metro was shut down, a policy that Lyft has had for a while, capping their prices at 3x the standard rate. This policy is now gone, with Lyft removing the surge back in February, but not everyone was aware.

Lyft told its drivers that its caps would be removed, but failed to disclose the information to its users. The argument is going that higher prices would encourage more drivers to pick up users, possibly increasing the number of people offering lifts via the app.

Trying to support drivers is always a nice move, but if it’s going to cost users money they may find the services less appealing and instead go back to classic taxi services.

AMD Introduces Quick Response Queue in Latest Drivers

Asynchronous Compute has been one of the headline features with DX12. Pioneered by AMD in their GCN architecture, Async Compute allows a GPU to handle both graphics and compute tasks at the same time, making the best use of resources. Some titles such as Ashes of the Singularity have posted massive gains from this and even titles that have a DX 11 heritage stands to have decent gains. In an update to Async Compute, AMD has added Quick Response Queue support to GCN 1.1 and after.

One of the problems with Async Compute is that it is relatively simple. It only allows graphics and compute tasks to be run at the same time on the shaders. Unfortunately, Async Compute as it stands right now will prioritize graphics tasks, meaning compute tasks only get the leftover resources. This means there is no guarantee when the compute task will finish as it depends on the graphics workload. Quick Response Queue solves this by merging preemption where you stop the graphics workload entirely, with Async Compute.

With Quick Response Queue, tasks can be given special priority to ensure they complete on time. Quick Response Queue will also allow the graphics task to run at the same time albeit with reduced resources. By providing more precise and dependable control, this allows developers to make better use of Async Compute, especially on latency/frame sensitive compute tasks. Moving on, we may see greater gains from Async in games as AMD allows more types of compute workloads to be optimized. Hopefully, this feature will reach GCN 1.0 cards but that depends on if the hardware is capable of it.

AMD Silently Depreciates and Hides 32bit Drivers

As part of the ongoing process for technological advancement, 32bit support has begun to decline throughout the ecosystem. The latest firm to silently reduce support for 32bit systems is AMD with their GPUs. Starting with the latest Crimson Software 16.3.2 release, 32bit drivers for their latest GPUs have gone missing from their usual links. This follows the Radeon Pro Duo which only launched with 64bit drivers.

Moving away from 32bit makes a lot of sense as even mainstream GPUs are starting to have more than 4GB of VRAM, the same amount 32bit systems will handle. Once you add in system memory, there really isn;t a point to be using a 32bit system with the latest GPUs except for compatibility reasons. Furthermore, the market for 32bit drivers has been shrinking, with only about 13% of Steam users running a 32bit system. Given the intense ram requirements for games these days, 64bit is nearly a must. Dropping 32bit support also means more resources to put towards 64bit drivers and making those better.

The biggest complaint I have though is the silence from AMD. Rather than admit that they are reducing 32bit support, they silently started hiding their 32bit drivers. For users who click on 32bit drivers, they get sent to a page telling them to move to 64bit. At the same time, 32bit drivers continue to be made and are available with a bit of URL guessing (just change the “64” at the end of the 64bit bit link to “32”). Instead of trying to hide it, AMD should have made an announcement that 32bit support would end at X date in the future and continue for now to make 32bit drivers easy to access. This whole thing just smacks of bad PR and miscommunication. There is no shame to move away from 32bit and hopefully, AMD will get this.

AMD Release Radeon Crimson 16.3.2 WHQL Driver With Oculus Rift Support

With the Oculus Rift launching now, both AMD and Nvidia have released new drivers to ensure compatibility with the VR headset. Nvidia has released their GeForce driver 364.72 and AMD has responded with their first WHQL driver since the end of 2015, Radeon Crimson 16.3.2. This is the third driver to be released in March and just 10 days since the last one. In addition to Oculus Rift support and WHQL status, there are also a number of other fixes.

First off, fellow VR headset HTC Vive is also getting supported with the new driver. To power these VR headsets, the Radeon Pro Duo is also being supported after launching earlier in the month. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Hitman are also getting updated Crossfire profiles for DX11. Some notables fixes are to FFXIV and XCOM2 and the Fury series will no longer suffer corruption after long idle times.

In terms of known issues, the list remains as long as before, with most of them relating to Crossfire bugs. The AMD Gaming Evolved in-game overlay will still crash some games when enabled. Hopefully, these issues will be resolved shortly in a future update. This continues AMD’s streak of quick driver releases with several a month. You can find the full release notes here.

Radio Attack Lets Hackers Drive Away Your Car

When it was revealed I couldn’t believe my eyes. Someone walks up to a car and its locked, someone else walks up and can instantly get in and at the press of a button start the engine, no key required. Wireless key technology is now employed in cars all over the world and allows for users to avoid the hassle of finding their car keys, sadly it looks like a radio attack lets hackers do exactly the same thing without you even knowing.

A group of german vehicle security experts have studied how the radio hack uses your keys to break into your own key. The whole principle of wireless keys is that the engine and the doors will only work when the keys are within a certain range of the vehicle, this means that if you aren’t near your car it’s just an expensive piece of metal and technology.

Munich-based automobile club, ADAC, tested a hacking technique that uses the principle of “amplification” to fool your car into believing that the keys are actually closer than they actually are. In total, their study found 24 different vehicles were vulnerable, and it wasn’t just one manufacturer that was involved, 19 different manufacturers were vulnerable to the radio attack. What does this mean? Using this kind of attack someone can walk up to your car, and using a small pocket amplification device, unlock and drive away your car. No alarms,

What does this mean? Using this kind of attack someone can walk up to your car, and using a small pocket amplification device, unlock and drive away your car. The total cost of this hack? $225 for the device. Compare that to the cost of the Audi A3, A4 and A6, Ford Galaxy, Mitsubishi Outlander, Renaults Traffic and countless other models that are vulnerable to this attack.

The technique works by “amplifying” your keys signal. In reality, what happens is the key fobs signal is relayed through a pair of radios. Is this an example of technology being made too smart, at the cost of security, in order to save us a few seconds of inconvenience?

AMD Releases Crimson 16.3.1 Driver

AMD is really stepping up the pace of their driver releases since February, with drivers dropped every 1 to 2 weeks. Today, we’ve been treated to Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3.1, the second release for March and fourth since the beginning of February. Slow drivers were one of the big complaints against AMD and since the formation of RTG, things have changed.

For 16.3.1, the major headliners are improved support for Hitman and Need For Speed which just launched. Hitman, in particular, got Crossfire profile support after first getting support back with 16.3. We’ve listed the other fixes below but the biggest one is that DX12 games are no longer locked to the refresh rate of the display panel.

  • Installed or played games sometimes do not show up in the Radeon Settings “Gaming” tab.
  • Installing via command line may not work for some users. As a workaround please use the default GUI installer.
  • Intermittent hang sometimes experienced on UE4 applications.
  • Black screen or possible hang after launching Oculus Video Application.
  • DirectX®12 application frame rates are no longer locked to the refresh rate of the display panel.

A host of known issues still remain though, most notably the slew of Crossfire issues. Both SLI and Crossfire have suffered exceptionally in recent months and one can only hope DX12 and Vulkan will provide the fix. You can find the release notes here and the drivers here.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3

AMD has been much quicker of late with their driver updates. Just over a week ago, AMD released Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.21 and they are now following it up with Edition 16.3 with more features and fixes. Befitting a full .x release, 16.3 updates not only the driver part but also new features for Radeon Settings, AMD’s Catalyst Control Center replacement.

First off are a number of resolved support and performance issues. Upcoming AAA release Hitman gets  specific driver support and Crossfire Profile support. This is expected as the game is bundled with certain Radeon GPUs and AMD is involved in the development. The Park also gains Crossfire support as well.

For performance improvements, AMD is focusing heavily on the Fury lineup, with performance jumping 16% and 60% in Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears of War Ultimate Edition respectively. The only other notable performance boost is for the R9 380(X) series with a 40% improvement in Gears of War Ultimate Edition. The improvements in Gears of War Ultimate Edition will be welcome as the game has been performing erratically and we hope other cards see some love as well.

In terms of new features, Vulkan support has been added along with Per-Game Display Scaling, a Language Menu and Two Display Eyefinity. Notably, AMD Crossfire Status Indicator has been added along with a Power Efficiency Toggle to turn off some power savings features. Furthermore, AMD XConnect technology, AMD’s external GPU enclosure over Thunderbolt 3 solution has received preliminary support.

In terms of fixes, the most notable one is choppy core clocks which is fixed at the cost of turning off power efficiency. Rise of the Tomb Raider also won’t crash anymore if tessellation is turned on. There still remains a known of known issues as well. Hopefully, we will see a driver to remedy those problems shortly. You can find the full release notes here and driver here.

Nvidia GeForce 364.51 Beta Fixes Installation Bugs

In light of the installation bugs and issues that plagued yesterday’s release of GeForce driver version 364.47, Nvidia has issued a new driver that promises the solve the issues. The new Geforce 364.51 beta driver promises to fix the issues and will be receiving WHQL certification shortly.

UPDATE 3/8/16: After finding a critical installation issue, the team has replaced yesterday’s driver (364.47) with today’s new driver (364.51).
This driver has been submitted to Microsoft for WHQL-approval and we will update the driver package online as soon as we have the certified package.

We had received reports of some users having issues installing driver version 364.47.  Initial investigation suggests the issue was related to doing an “Express” installation.  If you happen to have a pending installation of 364.47, we recommend that you do not install it and either use the new 364.51 beta version or wait for the WHQL certified version.

According to Nvidia, the issue stems from using the Express installation option with 364.47. However, some user reports suggested that Custom installations also suffered from the issues. Hopefully Nvidia has truly nailed down the source of the bugs and 364.51 will fix it. For now, users are reporting that 364.51 is not causing any installation issues. You can find the latest driver here. Be sure to use DDU and do a clean installation.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Released

AMD have been pushing hard to improve their software experience, as well as improving the frequency of graphic driver updates, helping them better compete with the relentless release of Nvidia’s Game Ready drivers. So far, their new system has been a big improvement and today is no exception, as AMD push the release of the latest Radeon Software Crimson Edition.

Version 16.2.1 is marked as a “non-WHQL” release, so basically a beta release. However, the driver comes with the CrossFireX profile for the latest AAA release, Far Cry Primal. On top of that big profile release, you can also expect some game specific bug fixes for Fallout 4 as well as Rise of the Tomb Raider.

FreeSync users have cause to celebrate too, we hope, as AMD is also including a bug fix for choppy display on systems that use both FreeSync and CrossFire at the same time, which I’m sure you can imagine is a frustrating issue for a system that’s meant to provide a smoother visual experience.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Highlights

    • Crossfire Profile available for
      • Far Cry Primal

Resolved Issues

    • A black screen/TDR error may be encountered when booting a  system with Intel + AMD graphics and an HDMI monitor connected
    • Choppy gameplay may be experienced when both AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire are both enabled
    • Display corruption may be observed after keeping system idle for some time
    • Fallout 4 – Flickering may be experienced at various game locations with the v1.3 game update and with AMD Crossfire enabled
    • Fallout 4 – Foliage/water may ripple/stutter when game is launched in High/Ultra settings mode
    • Fallout 4 – Screen tearing in systems with both AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire enabled if game is left idle for a short period of time
    • Fallout 4 – Thumbnails may flicker or disappear while scrolling the Perk levels page
    • Far Cry 4 – Stuttering may be observed when launching the game with AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire enabled
    • FRTC options are displayed on some unsupported laptop configurations with Intel CPU’s and AMD GPU’s
    • Radeon Settings may sometimes fails to launch with a “Context Creation Error” message
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Corruption can be observed at some locations during gameplay
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Flickering may be experienced at various game locations when the game is left idle in AMD Crossfire  mode under Windows 7
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Game may intermittently crash or hang when launched with very high settings and AA is set to SMAA at 4K resolution
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Lara Croft’s hair may flicker in some locations if the Esc key is pressed
    • Rise of Tomb Raider – A TDR error may be observed with some AMD Radeon 300 Series products after launching the “Geothermal Valley” mission
    • The AMD Overdrive  memory clock slider does not show original clock values if memory speeds are overclocked
    • World of Warcraft runs extremely slowly in quad crossfire at high resolutions

Known Issues

    • A few game titles may fail to launch or crash if the Gaming Evolved overlay is enabled. A temporary workaround is to disable the AMD Gaming Evolved “In Game Overlay”
    • Star Wars: Battlefront – Corrupted ground textures may be observed in the Survival of Hoth mission
    • Cannot enable AMD Crossfire with some dual GPU AMD Radeon HD 59xx and HD 79xx series products
    • Fallout 4 – In game stutter may be experienced if the game is launched with AMD Crossfire enabled
    • XCOM 2 – Flickering textures may be experienced at various game locations
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – The game may randomly crash on launch if Tessellation is enabled
    • Core clocks may not maintain sustained clock speeds resulting in choppy performance and or screen corruption

If you want to download the latest AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 drivers, you can hit up the official AMD site right here.

NVIDIA Releases 362.00 GameReady Driver For Far Cry Primal

The early pre-release footage from Far Cry Primal and press coverage indicates the game has some extremely high requirements especially on higher resolutions. It’s relatively easy to blame Ubisoft given their terrible reputation with optimization, but it’s important to remember that up to this point, there wasn’t any driver specifically released for Far Cry Primal. Thankfully, NVIDIA has just unveiled their latest WHQL GameReady driver for Far Cry Primal and it will be interesting to see if this makes a substantial difference to the current level of performance.

NVIDIA’s 362.00 driver also provides the necessary performance enhancements for Dying Light and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Even though Dying Light’s base game has been out for some time, the expansion entitled, “The Following” is fairly new and probably has some areas in need of fine-tuning. Hopefully, this latest driver should create a smoother frame-rate and provide a more consistent user-experience. Rather surprisingly, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition has gone under the radar, and perhaps this is down to its exclusivity clause on the Windows Store. Furthermore, there’s been a lot of news from Microsoft today regarding their new PC focus. Perhaps this has overawed the game’s release, which is a shame.

At the time of writing, there are some major problems with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition with AMD GPUs but this doesn’t seem to occur on NVIDIA cards with the latest driver installed. As a result, it’s important to download the 362.00 GameReady driver to ensure your PC doesn’t encounter any performance issues. I’m pleased to see NVIDIA release a driver fairly quickly especially when you consider the negative reports regarding performance with Far Cry Primal. In the next few days, we’re hoping to acquire a code for the game and publish an in-depth performance analysis.

Windows 7/8/8.1 64-bit users can download the latest driver from here while Windows 10 64-bit users need to download the driver from this link.

AMD Crimson Driver 16.2 Hotfix Released – Focus on Rise of Tomb Raider and Fallout 4

Another month in and AMD is releasing a new Hotfix for their new Crimson series of drivers. To to their word, the drivers are come out quicker than ever and with more fixes for the latest games. This time around, the fixes are mostly for Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fallout 4, with those fixes taking nearly three-quarters of the changes.

    • Performance and quality improvements for
      • Ashes of the Singularity – Benchmark 2
      • Rise of the Tomb Raider
    • Crossfire Profiles available for
      • The Division
      • XCOM 2

In addition, crossfire profiles have been added for The Division and XCOM 2, two of the most recent major titles launched. A number of major issues remain however and these will hopefully be fixed shortly. The most egregious are these the two below, the first which impact pretty much every game and card it seems while the second render the point of dual-GPU cards moot.

  • Core clocks may not maintain sustained clock speeds resulting in choppy performance and or screen corruption
  • Cannot enable AMD Crossfire with some dual GPU AMD Radeon HD 59xx and HD 79xx series products

You can grab the new hotfixes from the links below. For the complete details, be sure to check out AMD’s page here, and as always be sure to create a restore point just in case.

Geforce 361.91 WHQL Driver Released – Game Ready for Street Fighter V and Hitman Beta

NVIDIA has released the Geforce 361.91 WHQL Driver for its graphics cards, bringing with it Game Ready drivers for Street Fighter V, the beta release of Hitman, ARMA 3, and Monster Hunter Online, plus SLI updates for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and XCOM2.

NVIDIA Geforce 361.91 WHQL Driver changelog [PDF]:

Game Ready

Learn more about how to get the optimal experience for ARMA 3, Street Fighter V, Monster Hunter Online, and HITMAN (Beta).

Application SLI Profiles

Added or updated the following SLI profiles:
– Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – SLI profile changed (with driver code as well) to
make the application scale better
– Bless – SLI set to SLI-Single
– Need for Speed – profile EXEs updated to support trial version of the game
– Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 – SLI profile added
– XCOM 2 – SLI profile added (including necessary code change)

Windows 10 Fixed Issues

– TDR on Illustrator CC 2015 with drivers post Release 353. [1726408]
– [361.75] Enabling NVIDIA Surround after a driver clean install causes NVIDIA
Control Panel to crash. [1724062]
– Windows 10 Open Devices and Printers ejects NVIDIA GPU. [1720849]
– Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 intermittently crashes on exit with NVIDIA drivers post
Release 353. [1711214]
– [SLI, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate] Need SLI profile. [1666227]

Windows 8.1/Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Vista Fixed Issues

– [Quadro K5200, Quadro M4000] Poor performance observed with Dassault Catia V5
R20, R21, R22. [200170447]
– [361.75] Enabling NVIDIA Surround after a driver clean install causes NVIDIA
Control Panel to crash. [1724062]
– [SLI] Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege shows corruption when Alt+Tab used in fullscreen
mode. [1724562]
– [SLI, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate] Need SLI profile. [1666227]

NVIDIA Geforce 361.91 WHQL Driver can be downloaded here.

US Regulators Consider AI Could “Be a Driver”

People love the idea of technology making their lives easier, be it a new gadget or an old one remade. Some of the bigger gadgets that people are looking forward are self-driving cars. Ranging from being too safe for urban areas to self-driving shuttle buses, people and governments are all interested in the idea of being driven everywhere, while some are concerned about just who is responsible, the driver or the software? This could change with regulators looking to agree on who is a “driver”.

With most self-driving cars requiring a driver, Google’s submission of a self-driving car which doesn’t require human input means that putting your feet up and letting the car go is just a step away. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has responded by saying that in these cars, it will “interpret driver” as the self-driving system within the vehicle and not one of the people within the vehicle.

In their response, the NHTSA remarked that “We agree with Google it’s [self-driving car] will not have a ‘driver’ in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years”. California has even proposed rules that even in self-driving cars, you will still require a licensed driver and a steering wheel.

The next generation of Uber could be a self-driving shuttle from your house to wherever you want to go to. Do you like the idea of pressing a button and hopping in a taxi without a driver?

AMD Driver 16.1.1 Hotfix Released – Fixes Fallout 4 Crossfire Issues

What I updated Fallout to version 1.3 I was expecting things to be running smoother, not worse. The issues started when AMD released their new drivers, which added a Crossfire profile for the game, however, this patch worked with Fallout 1.2 and the release of both updates on the same day created many more problems than they resolved. The big one was dire gaming performance in Crossfire, despite having the profile enabled as well as invisible textures, severe glitching, flickering and more.

A batch file was made by a Steam user which helped revert the game to version 1.2, thus allowing the use of Crossfire again, but that’s hardly what I would call a fix. Thankfully, AMD has now released their 16.1.1 Hotfix driver, which combats the flickering issue and should clear things up nicely.

Article Number: RN-WIN-RADEONCRIMSON16.1.1HOTFIX​​​​​​

This article provides information on the latest posting of the AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver

Package Contents

The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver contains the following:

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver Version 15.301.1801

The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver can be downloaded from the​ following links:

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver for Windows® 10, Windows 8.1 & Windows 7 64-bit

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix Driver for Windows® 10, Windows 8.1 & Windows 7 32-bit

[86690] Fallout 4 – Flickering may be experienced at various game locations with the v1.3 game update and with AMD Crossfire enabled. The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix driver has been updated. Please download this driver once again and reinstall it to address this issue.

If you’re going to update and you’ve got things working pretty well already, be sure to create a restore point so you can revert if it all goes to hell. The new Hotfix should fix the issue for you, it did for me, but there’s always going to be that small percentage where it likely makes things worse, although this is true of any update.

You can find all the information on the new drivers on the official AMD page right here.

AMD Releases Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Driver

AMD’s Crimson driver package is a complete overhaul of the Catalyst Control Center and incorporates various improvements via a modernized user-interface. It really is a huge step forward and helps AMD to provide a good alternative to GeForce Experience. One of the criticisms about AMD revolves around the slow driver update cycle. Although, it has improved in recent months and the company has just released the latest 16.1.1 driver. This includes performance enhancements for Rise of the Tomb Raider and a Crossfire profile to properly use multi-GPU configurations. Additionally, AMD added a Crossfire profile for Fallout 4, which is well overdue. Here is a complete listing of the driver’s changelog:

Highlights

    • Performance/Quality improvements and an AMD Crossfire profile is available for Rise of the Tomb Raider
    • An AMD Crossfire profile is available for Fallout 4

Resolved Issues

    • [81915] Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Building textures may be missing on some AMD Freesync displays with VSync enabled
    • [82892] Display corruption may occur on systems with multiple display systems when they have been left idle for some time
    • [82926] Mordheim:  City of the Damned – some loading screens may be very dark
    • [83032] Star Wars: Battlefront – The sky rendering may be corrupted in some situations
    • [83832] Radeon Settings – AMD OverDrive Power setting changes on the secondary GPU are not immediately displayed.  This is seen only on dual GPU graphics cards, such as the AMD Radeon HD 7990 and Radeon R9 295×2
    • [83833] Radeon Settings – AMD OverDrive clock gauge needles for the secondary GPU may be in wrong position when the system is idle and the secondary GPU is inactive
    • [83839] Some games may experience brightness flickering with AMD FreeSync enabled
    • [83940] AMD Radeon Additional Settings window will close if the help button is pressed on Japanese/Korean language setups
    • [83948] Corruption seen in video playback for M2TS format files via Windows® 10 Movie & TV application
    • [84199] Flickering textures experienced in Dota 2 when accessing the “Heroes” menu
    • [84428] Battlefield Hardline – A crash may occur when changing graphics settings from “Ultra” to “High” during gameplay
    • [85030] The screen may turn dark and colors may be corrupted after installing the driver on some AMD Crossfire  setups
    • [85099] Custom game profiles are reset to defaults after system is restarted
    • [85142] HDMI audio lost when monitor enters sleep mode and are woken up
    • [85299] Black line corruption seen all along the edges of characters and menus in Game of Thrones

If you’re interested in the latest driver, you can download it from here.

NVIDIA Releases 361.75 Game Ready Driver

The tail end of this month is pretty hectic with the release of two highly anticipated major titles. Rise of the Tomb Raider finally finds its way on the PC platform and supports a huge array of exclusive features including PureHair, deformable snow, advanced lighting effects, HBAO+ and more! The studio responsible for the PC edition is Nixxes software who created the original PC reboot. As you might expect, they are absolute masters when it comes to PC optimization, and initial reports regarding performance are promising. Another game which is bound to cause a great deal of excitement is The Division. The beta begins on the 29th for PC players, and should test people’s hardware quite well. As always with Ubisoft games, it’s important to analyse the level of optimization as historically, many games perform quite poorly on various configurations.

In preparing for the upcoming releases, NVIDIA has launched the 361.75 Game Ready driver. As you might expect, this includes the driver optimizations just in time for Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Division’s arrival. On another note, the driver contains SLI profiles for Metal Gear Solid V’s multiplayer, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo, Tomb Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege and Tom Clancy’s The Division. It’s great to see SLI support for triple-A games on launch, and I’m interested to see how well these engines scale across multiple GPUs. Another interesting addition is the support for Thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards. It’s now possible to purchase a Thunderbolt-powered enclosure and upgrade your graphics hardware for a notebook quite easily.

Rise of the Tomb Raider’s launch is remarkably close and we’re hoping to do some coverage regarding its performance across a number of resolution options. This also applies to The Division which looks pretty impressive and I cannot wait to test it on a 21:9 monitor!

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix Released

AMD has updated its Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver (version 16.1), bringing with it hotfixes for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Fallout 4, Elite: Dangerous, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, DiRT Rally, and Star Wars: Battlefront.

Release notes for the AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix:

Compatible Operating Systems

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix Driver is designed to support the following Microsoft® Windows® platforms:

  • Windows® 10 (32 & 64-bit version)
  • Windows 8.1 (32 & 64-bit version)
  • Windows 7 (32 & 64-bit version with SP1 or higher)

Resolved Issues

  • [82645] Fallout 4 – The compass flickers during gameplay on AMD Radeon R9 290 and AMD Radeon R9 295X2
  • [84118]/[59475] Elite: Dangerous – Poor performance may be experienced in Supercruise mode under Windows® 10
  • [82887] The driver installer appears to hang at various stages of the install process
  • [84116] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – random frame freezes may be observed during gameplay
  • [84112] Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC) setting do not apply consistently to all games. In order for FRTC to function properly, Vertical Refresh/VSync must be turned off
  • [58978] DiRT Rally – A crash may occur when starting a new race with AMD Crossfire and AMD FreeSync enabled
  • [83370] The AMD Gaming Evolved overlay may cause a black screen, or introduce game stutter
  • [82497] Assassins Creed Syndicate – Using “Very High” graphics settings in 3×1 Eyefinity mode may cause displays to switch off
  • [82093] Star Wars: Battlefront – Some flickering may be experienced in shaded areas of the screen while game levels are loading
  • [82788] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Frame freezing during gameplay may be experienced
  • [82794] Just Cause 3 – The system may hang when task switching on systems with AMD CPUs and GPUs
  • [82777] Just Cause 3 – Application profile setting added for laptops with Switchable Graphics
  • [82779] Fallout 4 – Gameplay may be choppy in AMD FreeSync mode in Ultra mode at 1440p resolution
  • [82895] Fallout 4 – Brightness flickering observed with AMD FreeSync enabled on certain displays
  • [80254] cnext.exe intermittently crashes during Windows® shutdown
  • [81809] A crash may be experienced if an HDMI display is a cloned display device on an HP Envy 15 notebook
  • [82485] “Failed to create OpenGL context” error message may appear after installation
  • [82842] “Cannot find RadeonSettings.exe” error message may appear during installation
  • [83277] “AMD Install Manager has stopped working” error message may appear during installation
  • [83484] “Cannot find cncmd.exe” error message may appear during installation
  • [82902] Display may flicker on certain laptops after prolonged gameplay with AMD FreeSync enabled
  • [81489] Unable to create 4×1 or 2×1 portrait mode SLS with 4K displays
  • [82042] Video corruption may appear in Movies & TV app when is VSR enabled and scaling mode is set to “Full panel”
  • [82492] Portrait Eyefinity mode may not be configured correctly using Radeon Additional Settings
  • [82695] No display on certain laptops when toggling display mode or connecting an HDMI display
  • [82900]/[81859] Flickering may be experienced on some monitors when AMD FreeSync is enabled
  • [80064] Notifications reverting back to English on non-English systems after reboot
  • [82490] Misaligned UI may be observed on the Bezel Compensation screen
  • [81777] Launching a game from the Game Manager may launch on a single display after enabling and disabling AMD CrossFire in a 3×1 AMD Eyefinity setup
  • [81856] Marginally increased power consumption may be observed during video playback

Known Issues

  • [79428] StarCraft II: Flickering may be observed in the ‘Episode 3’ campaign
  • [80836]/[59701] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Flickering or poor performance may be experienced when running in AMD Crossfire mode
  • [81736] Call of Duty Online – The game may crash if the Print Screen key is pressed on a 4K monitor
  • [81448]/[77961] A system restart may be experience when waking the system from sleep mode on some systems with Intel processors
  • [81651] Star Wars: Battlefront – Texture corruption may be experienced if the game “Field of View” setting is > 100
  • [82213] Star Wars: Battlefront – Some users may experience minor flickering or corruption at different game location or while viewing the in-game cinematics
  • [81915] Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Building textures may be missing on some AMD Freesync displays with VSync enabled
  • [82387] Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – The game may crash if the Gaming Evolved “In Game Overlay” is enabled. A temporary workaround is to disable the AMD Gaming Evolved “In Game Overlay”
  • [82789] Total War: Rome II – Choppy gameplay may be experienced
  • [84509] Gaming Evolved client does not initiate when launching Metro Last Light if AMD CrossFire is enabled
  • [84434] Far Cry 4 – A crash may occur after performing (ALT + Enter) to switch between windowed/full screen modes with the AMD Gaming Evolved “Video Capture” feature turned on
  • [82499] Talos Principle – A crash may occur while changing Gaming Evolved Video settings or pressing ALT + Enter when “In Game Overlay” is enabled
  • [84591] Mad Max – Low FPS performance may be experienced in game when AMD FreeSync and AMD CrossFire are enabled
  • [84428] Battlefield Hardline – A crash may occur when changing graphics settings from “Ultra” to “High” during gameplay
  • [83839] Some games may experience brightness flickering with AMD FreeSync enabled
  • [83833] Radeon Settings – AMD OverDrive clock gauge needles for the secondary GPU may be in wrong position when the system is idle and the secondary GPU is inactive
  • [83832] Radeon Settings – AMD OverDrive Power setting changes on the secondary GPU are not immediately displayed.  This is seen only on dual GPU graphics cards, such as the AMD Radeon HD 7990 and Radeon R9 295×2
  • [83287] Game stuttering may be experienced when running two AMD Radeon R9 295X2 graphics cards in AMD CrossFire mode
  • [82892] Display corruption may occur on multiple display systems when it has been running idle for some time
  • [83031] Star Wars: Battlefront – Corrupted ground textures may be observed in the Survival of Hoth mission
  • [82824] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Flickering may be observed is task switching is used during gameplay
  • [81915] Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Building textures are missing and game objects stutter if VSync is enabled in Quad AMD Crossfire configurations

The driver can be manually downloaded from the AMD website.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 361.43 WHQL Driver With Fixes and VR Improvement

Nvidia is ready with a new WHQL certified driver just in time before Christmas. The new driver fixes quite a few bugs such as the wrong clock speeds and higher power consumption on 144 Hz monitors when a GM20x-based card is used. The main focus of the driver is however on the VR part of things and it contains the latest GameWorks VR tweaks, bug fixes, and optimizations to ensure you have the ultimate VR gaming experience.

Nvidia added support for GameWorks VR 1.1 including VR SLI support for OpenGL applications and support for the latest Oculus SDK and as of Windows 10 November Update, Fermi GPUs now use WDDM 2.0 in single GPU configurations. As always, there was a list of new SLI profiles added for compatibility and this time that includes profiles for Bless, DayZ, Dungeon Defenders 2, Elite Dangerous, and Hard West.

Other than the previous mentioned things, Nvidia also added some more fixes for flip timing and event notification bugs, fixed a driver bug where the hot-plugging the output would result in any following hotplug device to be ignored, and what many might be looking forward too, a fix for Star Wars Battlefront SLI lag that started with driver 359.06.

You can read the full change logs here or download the fresh drivers here. If you got your Nvidia Experience installed, then you can also use that instead for a convenient upgrade.

AMD Tackles Nvidia’s GameWorks with Open Source GPUOpen

While AMD’s graphics hardware has largely remained competitive with rival Nvidia, the software side of things has fallen behind for a while. A large part of this is due to Nvidia’s GameWorks software, a proprietary set of tools that helps developers implement features. While AMD cards can run GameWorks optimization is near impossible to do and AMD cards generally get crippled by it. Today, AMD is hitting back with GPUOpen, a comparable library of tools they will be open-sourcing.

With the open source GPUOpen, the permissive MIT-licence will allow developers to optimize for both AMD and Nvidia and still use only one set of tools. AMD is hoping this will mean developers will be more likely to pick GPUOpen over GameWorks and optimize more for AMD cards. AMD has included equivalents to most of GameWorks, with TressFX, ShadowFX, GeometryFX and AOFX. It will also feature a number of other tools like a rendering engine, ray-tracing SDK, cloud SDK and AMD’s CodeXL debugger and performance profiler.

The final prong is a new open-source Linux driver. Right now, the Linux driver comes in two flavours with the closed source one performing well ahead of the open-source on. Moving into the future, the AllOpen stack will have open-sourced OpenGL graphics, motion video codecs, and OpenCL GPU computation. The Professional/Gamer stack will have an open source motion video codec, but closed source OpenGL and OpenCl modules. Over time, the OpenCL module will bring in Vulkan which will then be open sourced while the OpenGL module will remain closed-source.

Combined with the earlier Boltzmann Initiative, AMD is making big strides with their software development. Combined with their new Crimson Catalyst software suite, AMD is putting forward a new face to consumers and developers. With this, AMD may be able to reinvent themselves and make others see them in a new light.

French Uber Drivers Launch Rival App

Uber is known for a lot of things, from their drivers employment stance ranging from contractors to employee’s being charged with crimes. One of the more recent decisions they’ve had to face with was the decision to cut fares across Paris. Some drivers have had enough though and have created their own app in order to compete with the taxi app.

VTC Cab is an app created by former uber drivers to complete with the popular app. The app is available on the Google Play store and now iTunes, and shares some similarities with the Uber app. Users can hail cars and rate their drivers, but VTC Cab also allows you to place orders for a taxi in advance and works on a different model to Uber. Instead of the commission taking a cut of the raised funds there is a membership fee.

Instead of the 20% that Uber takes off all trips, VTC Cab will only charge its drivers a monthly fee of €250 (around £180), meaning that anything after that initial fee is theirs to keep. Mohammed Radi, the app’s founder, also stated that they will offer a customer service phone line, instead of following the email based system other app-based taxi services use.

Do you use Uber? Do you drive for an Uber-type service? What are your thoughts on a flat fee per month instead of a commission?

NVIDIA Releases 359.12 Hotfix Driver to Resolve GTX 860M Stability Issues

A significant number of NVIDIA GTX 860M owners have been experiencing random freezing during certain games which made it impossible to use their hardware as intended. For example, one user said:

“Just tried battlefront. My Y50-70 with 860m 4gb completely locks up as soon as I loaded a game.”

This seems to be a fairly common occurrence as most of the complaints revolve around general instability. Patching any major faults via driver updates is a difficult process and requires a great deal of testing. Although, the gaming experience shouldn’t be like this in the first place and consumers expect much better from NVIDIA. Thankfully, NVIDIA has now released a hotfix which theoretically resolves the regular crashing. While it’s too early to say if the hotfix has been a resounding success, early reports are positive:

“The new hotfix is working fine. Tested on Fallout 4, Witcher 3 and Cities Skylines. Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition 860M, i5 4210H.”

Please note, the hotfix is specifically designed to fix issues with the GTX 860M and not other solutions like the GTX 870M. If you’re interested in giving the hotfix a try I’d strongly recommend uninstalling the older drivers via Display Driver Uninstaller. Once complete perform a fresh install of the 359.12 located here.

Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition Performance Analysis

Introduction


To coincide with the recent Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition release, here is our full look into the performance side using our base Windows 8.1 test system. As we all know by now, Radeon Settings is the official release name of the recently discontinued Catalyst Control Center software and comes from the newly formed Radeon Technologies graphics division.

Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition sets out to put AMD back on the map with drivers and customer support, something that has let them down in the past and ridiculed on many forums and member bases. Moving from sporadic releases of non-WHQL certified drivers, the aim is to now release 6 WHQL drivers a year with interim updates, which isn’t as many as the Green team, but it’s a vast improvement from recent years and a huge step in the right direction.

Putting stability as the core of this software, four main pillars of User Experience, Features, Performance and Efficiency are what will make the bulk of the software.

From the first look, we saw a decent improvement in performance for the sample cards and tests, but now it’s time to test our entire catalogue of AMD graphics cards from the Fury and 300 series to see how this driver really stacks up.

AMD Releases Hotfix for Crimson Edition Software and Fan Issues

AMD’s new Crimson Edition software that replaced the old Catalyst Control Center ran into some trouble over the weekend as users reported their fan speeds malfunctioning. For some users it would be stuck on maximum while other people experienced them throttled to 30% speed at all times.

AMD was quick to respond and promised a fix for the issue on Monday, and they delivered. The new AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.11.1 Hotfix is available for download and it should take care of those nasty fan issues. AMD hasn’t had the best track record in the past when it comes to frequent and swift updates which make this double nice to see and something that count point towards a better driver support with Crimson than we had with CCC.

The new driver doesn’t just fix the fan issues, it also brings some improvements along at the same time. There were some language and software display features fixed as well as a row of game issues.

  • [82050] Star Wars: Battlefront – Snow flickers in a few locations in the game
  • [82240] Star Wars: Battlefront – Sky rendering may be broken in some game locations
  • [82645] Fallout 4 – The compass may flicker during gameplay on AMD Radeon R9 390 series products. We continue to investigate the issue with AMD Radeon R9 290 and AMD Radeon R9 295X2 series products
  • [82667] Star Wars: Battlefront – Shadowy textures are visible around hills/structures/caves
  • [81890] Just Cause 3 – Texture corruption may be experienced during gameplay
  • [54874] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Poor AMD Crossfire performance may be experienced
  • [82338] The driver installation may fail while installing the ACP component
  • [82426] The font size in Chinese language installations may be too small
  • [82438] The label range values in some AMD Freesync installations may be incorrect
  • [82536] The Radeon Settings dropbox does not close when it is clicked on a second time
  • [82603] The AMD Overdrive fan settings is always set to ON after first edit on reboot
  • [82586] Language shows up as Chinese Simplified when Chinese Traditional is selected in Windows 7
  • [82656] Radeon Settings crashes on the Display tab when cloning a display via HDMI on some notebooks
  • [82671] Overdrive fan speed is reset to Manual on exiting from a 3D game or application
  • [82766] Radeon Settings does not get upgraded in some install scenarios
  • [82691] AMD Overdrive cannot revert to default settings in some situations

You can download the new driver fix and view the full release notes on AMD’s support pages.

NVIDIA Releases 359.06 Game Ready Driver

NVIDIA has unveiled the latest Game Ready driver which includes an SLI profile for Fallout 4 and optimizations for Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six Siege. Not so long ago, NVIDIA promised to have drivers ready for major releases, but it seems they fell slightly behind with Just Cause 3. Nevertheless, it’s only a slight delay and I’m fascinated to see how the game runs with this latest update. Here is a complete rundown of the driver changes:

“Application SLI Profiles 
Added or updated the following SLI profiles: 

  • Fallout 4 – SLI profile added
  • Just Cause 3 – Single-SLI profile added
  • Umbrella Corps – SLI profile added

3D Vision Profiles 
Added or updated the following 3DV profiles: 

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Not recommended
  • Just Cause 3 – Not recommended
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Not recommended

3D Compatibility Mode Profiles 
These games must be run in DirectX 10/11 mode to see improvements and are not compatible with 3D Vision Surround mode. See “3D Compatibility Mode” on page 7 for more information.

Added or updated the following compatibility mode profiles:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Excellent 
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Not recommended

Software Modules

  • NView – version 146.78 
  • HD Audio Driver – version 1.3.34.4
  • NVIDIA PhysX System Software – version 9.15.0428
  • GeForce Experience – version 2.7.4.10
  • CUDA – version 7.5

Changes and Fixed Issues in Version 359.06
The following sections list the important changes and the most common issues resolved in this version. This list is only a subset of the total number of changes made in this driver version. The NVIDIA bug number is provided for reference.

Windows 10 Fixed Issues
– There are no new fixed issues to report for this release.

Windows 8.1/Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Vista Fixed Issues
– Call of Duty: Black Ops III crashes on NVIDIA hardware. [1702129]”

Just Cause 3 appears to be having some issues on a wide range of hardware and requires a pretty good setup. Nevertheless, open world games are usually fairly unoptimized on launch and things should improve through a number of driver updates.

You can directly download the latest driver for Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 here and Windows 10 here.

AMD Crimson Performance Gains on Linux are Disappointing

AMD recently overhauled the Catalyst Control Center software suite and created a more visually appealing design entitled, “Crimson”.  Furthermore, the latest driver includes a whole host of new features and optimization enhancements. If you’d like to know more, feel free to check out our full review here. While Crimson is receiving an overwhelmingly positive reception from Windows users, it appears the performance gains on Linux are minimal. The highly revered Linux-based site, Phoronix decided to test the driver’s performance using a number of GPUs. As you can see from the image, Linux users still have to use the outdated user-interface but this was expected:

The original press slides from AMD proclaimed there would be “Linux performance improvements” from “112% to 155%”. However, Phoronix’s testing shows a complete lack of progress and in some cases the update driver actually performs worse. Here we can see the performance differences between the 15.9 and 15.11 drivers. Honestly, the results are within a margin of error and nowhere near the 112% to 155% percent gains AMD promised. Obviously, this can improve via future driver revisions but this doesn’t look promising for Linux users on AMD hardware. Please note, this just one example, and Phoronix’s benchmarks show a similar pattern throughout various games.

I hope this is just an isolated incident due to AMD’s completely reworked driver package. Whatever the case, it seems like you’re not going to see huge fps boosts at this current time.

Have you upgraded to the Crimson Radeon software yet? If so, let us know what you think of it.

AMD Ends Driver Support For Non-GCN Graphics Cards

AMD recently overhauled Catalyst Control Center for a more feature-rich and streamlined experience via the Radeon Crimson software suite. If you’re interested to see the new functionality or performance improvements, please check out our full review here. Unfortunately, AMD have decided to cease official support for non-GCN graphics cards and focus on making the best possible gains on the GCN architecture. As a result, various cards like the 5870 and more will not receive any future driver updates. According to AMD, this is because the GPU optimizations are maximized and clearly, they want to focus on their modernized driver user-interface and GCN enhancements. Here is the official statement from AMD in full:

“AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series (HD 8400 and below), Radeon HD 7000 Series (HD 7600 and below), Radeon HD 6000 Series, and Radeon HD 5000 Series Graphics products have reached peak performance optimization as of November 24th, 2015.

These products have been moved to a legacy support model and no additional driver releases are planned. This change enables us to dedicate valuable engineering resources to developing new features and enhancements for graphics products based on the GCN Architecture.

As a courtesy to our valued supporters we are providing a final “As Is” Beta driver together with the release of the AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition. The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Beta driver includes the redesigned user interface as well as some enhanced features. More information can be found in the AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Beta Driver Release Notes.

For users looking for a WHQL certified driver, the AMD Catalyst 15.7.1 driver will continue to be available for users running Windows® 10, Windows® 8.1, and Windows® 7. Users running Windows® Vista and older Microsoft® operating systems can use the AMD Catalyst 13.12 driver. These drivers are available for download on the Drivers + Download Center page.

For users passionate about gaming, you may wish to consider upgrading to a modern GPU and benefit from exciting new features, improved performance, lower power consumption and broader compatibility with the latest PC games. For information about resellers and product availability, visit: http://shop.amd.com.”

Are you still using an older AMD graphics card?

AMD Radeon Software: Crimson Edition First Look and Testing

Introduction


The day has finally come where AMD’s Catalyst Control Center has taken its last installation breath and the brand new AMD Radeon Software package is released. We initially had teasers of this software a few weeks ago on November 2nd and now we are pleased to announce that it is finally here for public download. We have been using Catalyst Control Center for around 13 years with very few graphical design changes in that time, it worked for the most part and that was about it. Personally I found it too information heavy and it needed either a re-designed interface or a simpler navigation menu.

Dubbed Radeon Software: Crimson Edition, it doesn’t really flow off the tongue like CCC or Catalyst 15.## did, but we are likely to see a similar numbered structure once Crimson hits full stride in January. The Radeon Software name is pretty self-explanatory, but Crimson takes a little more explaining to fully understand. Yes the ‘AMD’ colour is Red and that has been passed onto Radeon Technologies as a signature colour, but Red is only one word for a whole host of different shades such as Current, Jam and Sangria. Yes these are typical shades of red, though likely less known compared to Scarlet, Blood and Rose. It’s not fully clear whether we will be seeing software colour changes with every annual release to match the name or if the same brushed metal background will be consistent for the upcoming releases.

Here is a quick overview of the key points of Crimson Edition which focus on a key base of stability with four pillars of User Experience, Features, Performance and Efficiency. All of these together aim to produce the best overall consumer experience, whether you are gaming or just a general day-to-day user. A full explanation into these will be on the Third Page.

Without going into too much detail here, let’s get into what is aimed to make Radeon Software: Crimson Edition a new era in graphical software drivers.