Thursday, November 23rd 2017

AMD Responds to Lack of Ryzen Mobile Driver Updates, Claims OEMs are the Issue

AMD's Ryzen Notebook lineup seems to be very important to company, at least when going by how often it gets mentioned in the AMD financial analyst calls. That's why it's even more surprising that the driver situation for these products has been nothing but terrible. Some Ryzen Raven Ridge based notebooks haven't seen a single driver update since their release over a year ago, which is much worse than on any other notebook platform.

Users complained about this on Reddit, and AMD responded through an official account that the issue is that "drivers are typically tailored for specific OEM platforms", and that "releasing generic APU graphics drivers across all AMD Ryzen mobile processor-based mobile systems could result in less-than-ideal user experiences". AMD also made it clear that they will be working with OEMs to increase the release frequency of Ryzen Mobile graphics drivers, targeting two releases per-year in 2019.
To me this explanation sounds like bs.

OEMs don't buy customized APU chips from AMD, they all use the same physical chip, with the same capabilities. All the "driver tailoring" usually is just a bunch of logos and adding or removing features, which quite often is actually harming the user experience. While of course other components in the laptop might differ (networking, storage, audio), and the connected displays might run various refresh rates and resolutions, it's not like such differences have any significant effect on traditional desktop PCs. Imagine having to wait for your monitor vendor to approve and release a graphics driver update.

This somehow reminds me of the Android ecosystem, where phone makers were responsible for validating and releasing updates to the Android OS. Of course they already had your money, so why would they invest time and resources into improving something that yields no return and can possibly lead to support calls for issues with the upgrade (they'll happily sell their new phone model though). Just like AMD is trying now, Google has then started forcing OEMs to increase the update frequency, which never really worked out. An alternative approach is what NVIDIA does. Besides the vendor-supplied drivers, they offer a generic notebook driver on their website, that is updated with every new driver release and that you are free to use, and that as far as I know, works with nearly no issues.

Many users had success using the "force install" option in Windows Device Manager, and report that they're actually having fewer issues with that approach than when using the official driver. I think we can all agree that business users and casuals don't need a lot of driver updates, but the tech enthusiasts are a significant driver of AMD's business and should be kept happy (and they'll beta test the drivers, too, for free). Enthusiasts will tell their relatives and friends (who might not even know of AMD as a tech brand), what products to buy or to avoid, which is very important for a company like AMD that wants to establish a foothold in the highly competitive laptop market.

AMD'S full statement below:
Feedback is a critical part of how AMD delivers great products. You have made it clear we have room for improvement on graphics driver updates for AMD Ryzen Mobile processor-based notebooks, both for APU-only platforms and discrete GPU notebook designs. It is important to understand that our graphics drivers are typically tailored for specific OEM platforms, so releasing generic APU graphics drivers across all AMD Ryzen mobile processor-based mobile systems could result in less-than-ideal user experiences. So what can AMD do?

We are committing to work with our OEMs to increase the release frequency of AMD Ryzen Mobile processor graphics drivers. Starting in 2019, we will target enabling OEMs to deliver a twice-annual update of graphics drivers specifically for all AMD Ryzen Mobile processor-based systems. Because the release is ultimately up to the OEMs, this may vary from platform to platform, but we want to put out a clear goal for us and our OEM partners. Those updates should be available for download on the respective OEM websites.

In addition, AMD will continue to evaluate ways in which we can offer validated graphics drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile processor-based notebooks aligned to the latest AMD software updates, and will provide updates as soon as we are able. Thank you to the community of AMD users who voice their opinions on this issue.
Source: AMD on Reddit
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130 Comments on AMD Responds to Lack of Ryzen Mobile Driver Updates, Claims OEMs are the Issue

#76
WikiFM
R0H1T said:
I have an Intel 8th gen ULV chip, which last got a (IGP) driver update well over a year back. If Intel can't force OEM updates, what chance does AMD have?
Intel does supplies generic drivers for most mobile CPUs (Ivy Bridge and newer). I know this because I updated a few weeks ago my Haswell ULV with a new driver.
Posted on Reply
#77
bug
FordGT90Concept said:
X series had their final driver released in 2010 (Windows Vista).
HD 2/3/4 series had driver support until 2013 (Windows 8.1).
HD 5/6 series had driver support until 2015 (Windows 10).
HD 7/8 (debuted 2012) and R# series have driver support through today. GCN definitely has everything NVIDIA ever released beat in terms of driver support.
X series supported from 2005 to 2010. 5 years.
HD2/3/4 series supported from 2007 to 2013. 6 years.
HD 5/6 series supported from 2009 to 2015. 6 years.
HD 7/8 series supported since 2010. 8 years.

I have picked one card at random from Nvidia and it was supported for 11 years. Yet somehow it felt natural to you to post the above and conclude "GCN definitely has everything NVIDIA ever released beat in terms of driver support". Since I don't think this is the place to settle how arithmetic works, I think we should stop now.
Posted on Reply
#78
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
You forget that GCN cards are still being released. By the time the HD 7 series stops getting drivers, it will be >11 years.

To be fair, GeForce 6 series went legacy driver support in 2013 (R304), so 9 years. They released one driver (R309) in 2015 because of security vulnerabilities in R304.

GeForce 6/7 (Windows 8), 2013 (2015 security update) (7-9 years excluding security update)
GeForce 8/9/100/200/300 (Windows 10), 2016 (8-10 years)
GeForce 400/500 (Windows 10), 2018 (6-8 years)

NVIDIA does tend to support drivers longer than AMD/ATI does. I think this can be explained by ATI especially tending to create new architectures frequently where NVIDIA likes to refine. When AMD took to refining, the companies have similar driver lifecycles.

I've used ATI and NVIDIA cards since the 1990s. I've never once complained about inadequate driver support because cards 3+ years old are usually functionally obsolete.
Posted on Reply
#79
rvalencia
R0H1T said:
I have an Intel 8th gen ULV chip, which last got a (IGP) driver update well over a year back. If Intel can't force OEM updates, what chance does AMD have?
From device manager, I force driver update on my Surface Pro 4, but once Intel's driver is installed, I can update drivers via the normal install method.

Intel's generic mobile driver monthly updates intervals are better than AMD's non-existent generic mobile driver updates.

On my HP Envy x360 15z bq-100-CTO with Ryzen 5 2500U, it's HP supplied web site drivers are still in Nov 20, 2017 (version 22.19.655.1 which can BSOD via Chrome). I looked into other recent HP Envy x360 models with Ryzen APU like 15z-cp000 CTO which has newer drivers version 23.20.821.2560 (Aug 2, 2018).

Using desktop APU driver version 24.xx.xxx.xxxx which seems to be higher version than 23.xx.xxx.xxxx. I used force update method for 24.xx.xxx.xxxx drivers.

Microsoft's supplied drivers for my Surface Pro 4 has better update intervals when compared to my HP Envy x360 15z bq-100-CTO.

I wouldn't recommend AMD laptop for non-IT my family members e.g. I purchased multiple Surface Pros for them.

I can install generic mobile Radeon drivers for my Radeon HD 8870M (renamed into R9-M270 series) and one wonders why the difference in AMD's mobile driver update policy between mobile APU and my laptop's Radeon HD 8870M.

xkm1948 said:
Oh sure. RTG actually works on improving dGPU drivers. If that were the case i would not have moved on from FuryX. Bugs upon bugs upon bugs. Every single driver after 18.5.1 broke VR for me l, submitted tons of reports and only email i got was “noted”

No, hell freaking no. I have given RTG way too many chances. They are no longer the ATi i used to like.
I have no problems updating my R9-390X desktop drivers(for ground floor's HDTV), but AMD mobile driver updates are problematic which needs some IT level support skills.

FordGT90Concept said:

Yes, when you include GPUs and similar generic PCI Express-based hardware. When looking specifically at APUs, that's not the case. People have tried AMD's generic driver on these machines (and E-#50 previously) and the generic drivers have lots of problems. OEM-tailored drivers are absolutely required because the hardware changes they made are extensive.
I'm actually running AMD's desktop APU driver version 18.10.1 on my HP Envy x360 15z bq-100-CTO (Ryzen 5 2500U) via device manager force update method and it works fine.
Posted on Reply
#80
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
rvalencia said:
On my HP Envy x360 15z bq-100-CTO with Ryzen 5 2500U, it's HP supplied web site drivers are still in Nov 20, 2017 (version 22.19.655.1 which can BSOD via Chrome). I looked into other recent HP Envy x360 models with Ryzen APU like 15z-cp000 CTO which has newer drivers version 23.20.821.2560 (Aug 2, 2018).
Thanks for the details. I passed them on.
Posted on Reply
#81
R0H1T
WikiFM said:
Intel does supplies generic drivers for most mobile CPUs (Ivy Bridge and newer). I know this because I updated a few weeks ago my Haswell ULV with a new driver.
Which doesn't work if you have OEM drivers installed, at least with win10 it won't. You have to uninstall the device & delete the drivers manually.
Posted on Reply
#82
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
_Flare said:
AMD should´ve learned with Bulldozer that relying on others is a big mistake.

Support the stuff you build, nobody else will care about your stuff.
Others sell it once, but on the long term your Firmwares and Drivers and Software evolves, that could aid you via OEM if you do the support by yourself.
AMD needs to better its reputation at the endconsumer on every field.

"Don´t be the Alternative, be the better Choice."
SIMPLE
990fx had great drivers. But like intel laptops drivers are nil
Posted on Reply
#83
john_
This statement from AMD reminds me of Nvidia's statement for PhysX.

Nvidia
"We can't warranty compatibility when AMD GPU is primary, so we lock it".
AMD
"We can not warranty compatibility with every laptop, so we go to sleep"

I was saying in the past for Nvidia that they could let PhysX unlocked as a beta and with no support. AMD could do the same. Everything else is just BS.
That from someone who supports AMD but also acknowledges that AMD is in many cases shooting it's own feet.
Posted on Reply
#84
bug
FordGT90Concept said:
You forget that GCN cards are still being released. By the time the HD 7 series stops getting drivers, it will be >11 years.

To be fair, GeForce 6 series went legacy driver support in 2013 (R304), so 9 years. They released one driver (R309) in 2015 because of security vulnerabilities in R304.

GeForce 6/7 (Windows 8), 2013 (2015 security update) (7-9 years excluding security update)
GeForce 8/9/100/200/300 (Windows 10), 2016 (8-10 years)
GeForce 400/500 (Windows 10), 2018 (6-8 years)

NVIDIA does tend to support drivers longer than AMD/ATI does. I think this can be explained by ATI especially tending to create new architectures frequently where NVIDIA likes to refine. When AMD took to refining, the companies have similar driver lifecycles.

I've used ATI and NVIDIA cards since the 1990s. I've never once complained about inadequate driver support because cards 3+ years old are usually functionally obsolete.
Neah, ATI/AMD has quite a chequered history when it comes to drivers. I believe their shorter support cycles are due to them having to rewrite their drivers more often. But kudos to them, their drivers today are in a far better place than they were 10 years ago.
Posted on Reply
#85
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
yeeeeman said:
The biggest problem here is that some OEMs like Lenovo block the instalation of non-signed drivers, meaning that you can install only drivers from Lenovo website, which is any way you put it, stupid. I have got a HP pavilion laptop with 6700HQ and nvidia gtx 950m and I installed all my drivers from Intel/Nvidia website, no problem.
Bios black listing
Posted on Reply
#86
rvalencia
FordGT90Concept said:
Searching on the internet, I get the impression not many people actually have problems with the HP Envy x360. It appears to be one person that's driving the noise. Others might be jumping on the bandwagon just because they'd like to see APUs have a driver release cadence like GPUs do but that's not going to happen because of cost.

It might be that Envy's firmware requires HP-signed drivers to work. As pointed out previously in this thread, Lenovo has done that. Apple too.
Generic AMD drivers needs INF edit to insert HP's hardware IDs, but Windows 64bit blocks unsigned modified driver installs.
Posted on Reply
#87
bug
rvalencia said:
Generic AMD drivers needs INF edit to insert HP's hardware IDs, but Windows 64bit blocks unsigned modified driver installs.
That's true, but before Windows started enforcing drivers being signed, a modified INF was all it took to make a driver work with laptop parts. That's why I'm taking this all "mobile parts need drivers with a different magic in them" claim with a grain of salt.
Posted on Reply
#88
rvalencia
eidairaman1 said:
990fx had great drivers. But like intel laptops drivers are nil
Intel's monthly mobile driver updates are fine with Surface Pro 4 with 620 IGP and Surface Pro 5 with 640 Iris Plus.
Posted on Reply
#89
Valantar
rvalencia said:
Intel's monthly mobile driver updates are fine with Surface Pro 4 with 620 IGP and Surface Pro 5 with 640 Iris Plus.
I haven't exactly been paying attention much, but I've noticed both Intel-based laptops in my house getting iGPU driver updates through Windows update with some regularity.
Posted on Reply
#90
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Valantar said:
I haven't exactly been paying attention much, but I've noticed both Intel-based laptops in my house getting iGPU driver updates through Windows update with some regularity.
Windows update, pretty laughable

rvalencia said:
Intel's monthly mobile driver updates are fine with Surface Pro 4 with 620 IGP and Surface Pro 5 with 640 Iris Plus.
Isn't that a Microsoft product to begin with?
Posted on Reply
#91
Valantar
eidairaman1 said:
Windows update, pretty laughable
Laughable? Because they use a built-in, automatic, zero effort update system? IMO, that's how it ought to work.
Posted on Reply
#92
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Valantar said:
Laughable? Because they use a built-in, automatic, zero effort update system? IMO, that's how it ought to work.
Yup, breaks the system to boot too
Posted on Reply
#93
TheinsanegamerN
Valantar said:
Underdogs can absolutely do wrong, but they do of course have less power to abuse. The very existence of this thread ought to tell you that nobody here is that blind. Also, RTG's dGPU driver effort in the last couple of years has been excellent. Which is a big part of why this is so baffling.
Except it isnt baffling.

The biggest reason RTG's drivers have improved so much is the architecture itself. GCN has been sold since 2011 in some form, and newer forms of GCN are very similar to GCN 1.0 in operation, hence why the whole "finewine" meme exists, AMD's 7 year old cars are still optimized for because they are the same arch. 7 years of development, and even minimum wage code monkeys can usually fix most problems, giving the illusion they are doing magically better. We saw this with vega, performance issues and driver problems all over the place for months that shouldnt have been in the final driver. We saw this with the 300 series, with black screen issues still being present. AMD's driver team hasn't magically become competent, they are just working with such old tech that even ignoramuses could support it properly.

You also see a lot of people in this thread trying to sidestep the issue, pointing fingers at intel or OEMS. The fact is, I can update my intel laptop to the latest version of their iGPU driver, regardless of what the OEM offers on their site, and it works. Occasionally you will have a machine that has issues, but 99% of the time it just works, because the chips are the same regardless of manufacturer. Similarly, most gaming laptops with nvidia chips can take the latest driver straight from nvidia's website, and the occasional machine that cant is lambasted by the community until the OEM works with nvidia to resolve the issue. AMD's previous APUs had GPU drivers independent of the machine itself, Llano, trinity, and richland were all like this. There is 0 excuse for the GPU driver for ryzen mobile being tied to a OEM driver package, that should be a separate driver.

What AMD tried to do here is the same BS that ATi pulled in the 90s, they would make a GPU and outsource the driver development to the OEM, resulting in a lack of driver updates and numerous bugs. AMD tried the same thing with ryzen mobile because they know they dont have the driver team to support it, so they try and get OEMs to do it while giving brain-dead responses to customers about how the OEM is responsible for AMD's driver, and just like the 90s it is backfiring on them. If AMD was dumb enough to sign a deal preventing them from releasing drivers for their OWN HARDWARE, they deserve to go out of business. That kind of idiocy wouldn't fly for ANY OEM other them AMD.

The only response AMD should have given was admitting they screwed up and go and fix their friggin driver package. Separating drivers for different pieces of silicon isnt hard, and the only way AMD hasn't fixed this is sheer incompetence, which many of us expect from AMD at this point.
Posted on Reply
#94
Valantar
TheinsanegamerN said:
Except it isnt baffling.

The biggest reason RTG's drivers have improves so much is the architecture itself. GCN has been sold since 2011. 7 years of development, and even minimum wage code monkeys can usually fix most problems, giving the illusion they are doing magically better. We saw this with vega, performance issues and driver problems all over the place for months that shouldnt have been in the final driver. We saw this with the 300 series, with black screen issues still being present. AMD's driver team hasn't magically become competent, they are just working with such old tech that even ignoramuses could support it properly.

You also see a lot of people in this thread trying to sidestep the issue, pointing fingers at intel or OEMS. The fact is, I can update my intel laptop to the latest version of their iGPU driver, regardless of what the OEM offers on their site, and it works. Occasionally you will have a machine that has issues, but 99% of the time it just works, because the chips are the same regardless of manufacturer. Similarly, most gaming laptops with nvidia chips can take the latest driver straight from nvidia's website, and the occasional machine that cant is lambasted by the community until the OEM works with nvidia to resolve the issue. AMD's previous APUs had GPU drivers independent of the machine itself, Llano, trinity, and richland were all like this. There is 0 excuse for the GPU driver for ryzen mobile being tied to a OEM driver package, that should be a separate driver.

What AMD tried to do here is the same BS that ATi pulled in the 90s, they would make a GPU and outsource the driver development to the OEM, resulting in a lack of driver updates and numerous bugs. AMD tried the same thing with ryzen mobile because they know they dont have the driver team to support it, so they try and get OEMs to do it while giving brain-dead responses to customers about how the OEM is responsible for AMD's driver, and just like the 90s it is backfiring on them. If AMD was dumb enough to sign a deal preventing them from releasing drivers for their OWN HARDWARE, they deserve to go out of business. That kind of idiocy wouldn't fly for ANY OEM other them AMD.

The only response AMD should have given was admitting they screwed up and go and fix their friggin driver package. Separating drivers for different pieces of silicon isnt hard, and the only way AMD hasn't fixed this is sheer incompetence, which many of us expect from AMD at this point.
a) Why are you framing this as a response to me, when the key points (outside of smearing a development team) in what you're saying are things I've said myself earlier in this thread?
b) Pointing fingers at Intel? What? Who? Where? How? I'd like to see how that works, considering they have nothing to do with Ryzen Mobile drivers.
c) So you're denying that AMD have for periods in the last few years outpaced Nvidia in game-ready and WHQL driver releases? 'Cause they have. Have there been bugs? Sure, but nothing worse than Nvidia. This is pretty much to be expected with cutting-edge hardware. Still, matching your 5-10x bigger competitor is quite all right.
d) Your "this is so old tech anyone could work" and your examples of new hardware launches having issues contradict each other. Obviously there are big enough differences between versions of GCN to matter from a driver POV.
e) Nvidia hasn't made an iGPU since those were located in chipsets. Not applicable. Also addressed earlier in the thread.
f) You really ought to have read this thread more carefully before posting. All you're doing is repeating what's already been said, but in a less constructive and more vitriolic tone. What's the point?

There's no doubt AMD needs to fix this, and divorcing iGPU drivers from the general APU driver package (and, arguably, integrating them into regular GPU driver packages) is an obvious necessity. What contract terms they are or aren't subject to is unknown, but regardless of that, even two updates a year is weak. Rants like yours, though, don't help anyone.
Posted on Reply
#95
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
TheinsanegamerN said:
Occasionally you will have a machine that has issues, but 99% of the time it just works, because the chips are the same regardless of manufacturer.
That's also the case here. As far as I know, it's only the HP Envy x360 that doesn't permit AMD's generic driver package to be used. There's a lot of other laptop models out there with Ryzen Mobile where it installs fine.

The machines work, just not ideally. There's no legal framework to even go after HP or AMD over this.
Posted on Reply
#96
bug
FordGT90Concept said:
That's also the case here. As far as I know, it's only the HP Envy x360 that doesn't permit AMD's generic driver package to be used. There's a lot of other laptop models out there with Ryzen Mobile where it installs fine.

The machines work, just not ideally. There's no legal framework to even go after HP or AMD over this.
Why would you say that? Neither the original news nor AMD's statement single out HP (much less one HP model). What do you know that we don't?
Posted on Reply
#97
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
All Ryzen Mobile APUs are on a 6 month WHQL schedule and that isn't going to change (AMD doesn't do beta for APUs because of QA costs). The only Ryzen Mobile system that hasn't gotten an update in more than 6 months, as far as I know, is the HP Envy x360. Every SKU of the x360 gets it's release driver forked from AMD and then never updated thereafter. Newer x360s have fewer issues than older x360s simply because of having a more mature driver.
Posted on Reply
#98
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
FordGT90Concept said:
All Ryzen Mobile APUs are on a 6 month WHQL schedule and that isn't going to change (AMD doesn't do beta for APUs because of QA costs). The only Ryzen Mobile system that hasn't gotten an update in more than 6 months, as far as I know, is the HP Envy x360. Every SKU of the x360 gets it's release driver forked from AMD and then never updated thereafter. Newer x360s have fewer issues than older x360s simply because of having a more mature driver.
To me the fault lies with Hewlett-Packard
Posted on Reply
#99
Valantar
FordGT90Concept said:
All Ryzen Mobile APUs are on a 6 month WHQL schedule and that isn't going to change (AMD doesn't do beta for APUs because of QA costs). The only Ryzen Mobile system that hasn't gotten an update in more than 6 months, as far as I know, is the HP Envy x360. Every SKU of the x360 gets it's release driver forked from AMD and then never updated thereafter. Newer x360s have fewer issues than older x360s simply because of having a more mature driver.
eidairaman1 said:
To me the fault lies with Hewlett-Packard
That sure sounds like HP is... uhm, involved in the problem, yes. Have to suppose that AMD probably could have forced through a more consistent t update policy, but I doubt they're willing to fight for that when they're barely getting back in the laptop game and have to focus on wooing OEMs for more design wins. A shame, though, as it ultimately hurts everyone involved.
Posted on Reply
#100
bug
Valantar said:
That sure sounds like HP is... uhm, involved in the problem, yes. Have to suppose that AMD probably could have forced through a more consistent t update policy, but I doubt they're willing to fight for that when they're barely getting back in the laptop game and have to focus on wooing OEMs for more design wins. A shame, though, as it ultimately hurts everyone involved.
Yes, but this is all based on the fact that FordGT only knows about HP Envy x360...
I know laptop makers bastardize their products (part of the reason I hate laptops), but it seems far fetched to me that AMD would have put out a statement based on a single laptop model.
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