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 Radeon Software Crimson Edition Goes WHQL With 15.12

When AMD launched their new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 3 weeks ago, it was actually using a beta version of the Radeon drivers. Today, AMD has updated Crimson to use official v15.30 WHQL drivers with Crimson v15.12. Along with official WHQL status, the new release also includes a numbers of fixes and improvements over the beta driver bundled with the original Crimson launch.

Chief among the fixes is the one where some AMD cards were stuck at 30% fan speed. This caused some cards to overheat under load and become physically damaged. The WHQL drivers include the hotfix that AMD quickly released to address the issue. You can find the full changelog here.

On the other hand, some other issues still remain. For overclockers, the most galling is one where clock speeds and voltages don’t get applied properly after a reboot. This appears to be an incompatibility between AMD Overdrive and third-party tools like Afterburner.

While the launch of Radeon Software Crimson Edition was pretty good overall and ushered in a new era for AMD, things look like they were a bit rushed. For such an important release, it may have been more worthwhile for AMD to have waited to get WHQL certification before launching.