Your AMD GPU just got a massive free performance boost

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If you own an AMD Radeon RX 6000-series graphics card, you’re in for a treat. The entire RDNA 2 range just got an unexpected performance boost that might actually make quite a difference in gaming.

The latest driver release, now available to everyone, is said to improve the ray tracing performance of RX 6000 GPUs by up to 40%. Here’s everything you need to know.

The most recent AMD Adrenalin drivers were released on February 14, bumping the version up to 23.2.1. In the release notes, AMD talks about “additional performance improvements” for gamers, but it didn’t really specify that the boost will have anything to do with ray tracing. However, a new benchmark shows us that AMD may have stealthily delivered a massive improvement in ray tracing.

As shown above, Florin Musetoiu on Twitter tested his AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT in the 3DMark DirectX Raytracing Feature test. Prior to getting the new driver, the card was able to score 26.20 frames per second (fps). After the release, the fps went all the way up to 36.20 fps, which adds up to a 38% improvement.

The user also ran some tests in gaming scenarios. In Dying Light, running at 1440p and with AMD FSR2 enabled, the RX 6800 XT averaged 59 fps on the old driver. Switching to version 23.2.1 boosted the frame rates past the magic 60 mark and up to 72 fps.  However, Wccftech notes that this particular improvement was already present in the drivers that were launched in December 2022.

This is my FPS with RT ON (reflections and Flashlight off as @CapFrameX suggested in his initial test with the ARC GPU)

59 FPS at 1440p RT ON FSR 2 Balanced on 15 oct 2022

Tested the same location and same settings today with the 23.2.1 driver
72 FPS

22% perf increase? pic.twitter.com/DU4ECMPveZ

— Florin Musetoiu (@FlorinMusetoiu) February 16, 2023

It’s hard to say whether this is a fluke or AMD indeed boosted ray tracing massively without bragging about it. It’s encouraging that the performance increase can be seen both in benchmarks and in gaming. It is odd, though, that AMD didn’t make it clear in the release notes that this was happening.

Historically, AMD has always been behind Nvidia when it comes to ray tracing. If this boost was intended, it’d make sense for AMD to make it more of a big deal — but perhaps calling it a performance improvement for gamers was enough. More testing is required in order to learn the full extent of it, but so far, we’re looking at an up to 38% increase — that’s huge.

This isn’t the first time AMD randomly dropped a driver release that delivered some really nice performance gains. We’ve already seen boosts as high as 92% and 72% in 2022. If you want to get the latest AMD drivers for your RX 6000-series GPU, you can download them from the official website.

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