Friday, November 23rd 2018

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

#101
Valantar
bug said:
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.
Oh, that is most definitely true. BIOS whitelisting and blacklisting (implemented because of the enormous amount of clueless bumpkins who break their laptops by upgrading their wifi cards, I suppose?), nondisclosure of tweaked/modified hardware (the 10W MX150 debacle smelled of this, though no doubt Nvidia was complicit), sub-standard cooling, anchoring hinges in brittle plastic, using 6-bit+frc IPS panels in "premium" laptops, gluing in batteries,... and the list goes on.

Still, you're right that it would be a bit odd if this only applied to one model - but then again it seems the statement came as a response to some complaint gaining traction online, which might not mean that it's actually representative.

No matter the truth here, I'll be very happy to see AMD pick up the pace with APU driver updates, though I'd be even happier if they just separated the GPU drivers from this entirely and kept them aligned with dGPU drivers. How hard can it be?
Posted on Reply
#102
bug
Valantar said:
Oh, that is most definitely true. BIOS whitelisting and blacklisting (implemented because of the enormous amount of clueless bumpkins who break their laptops by upgrading their wifi cards, I suppose?), nondisclosure of tweaked/modified hardware (the 10W MX150 debacle smelled of this, though no doubt Nvidia was complicit), sub-standard cooling, anchoring hinges in brittle plastic, using 6-bit+frc IPS panels in "premium" laptops, gluing in batteries,... and the list goes on.

Still, you're right that it would be a bit odd if this only applied to one model - but then again it seems the statement came as a response to some complaint gaining traction online, which might not mean that it's actually representative.

No matter the truth here, I'll be very happy to see AMD pick up the pace with APU driver updates, though I'd be even happier if they just separated the GPU drivers from this entirely and kept them aligned with dGPU drivers. How hard can it be?
If what Ford alludes to was true, I would expect AMD statement to be much more concise: "Look, here are the updated drivers on our website. If you're forbidden to install those, take it up with your manufacturer." For some reason that didn't do that (despite them having released drivers more or less on a monthly basis). Something doesn't add up.
Posted on Reply
#103
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
bug said:
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.
I've seen people complain that they had a laptop for 4 months and there's no updated drivers available. AMD's cart blanch statement includes those: APU owners need to be patient (chipset and GPU driver updates need to align and AMD has to shell out money to Microsoft to WHQL it).
Posted on Reply
#104
bug
FordGT90Concept said:
I've seen people complain that they had a laptop for 4 months and there's no updated drivers available. AMD's cart blanch statement includes those: APU owners need to be patient (chipset and GPU driver updates need to align and AMD has to shell out money to Microsoft to WHQL it).
Well, in this case here it seems people were left without a driver update for a year or so.
If this was indeed the manufacturer's fault, I really wish AMD would fry them for that in that public statement instead of the "we're work with them to make things better". Because few things annoy me more than things getting locked up for no good reason.
Posted on Reply
#105
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
AMD didn't want to alienate partners like HP which sell a lot of AMD hardware. They likely said what needed to be said in a private conversation.
Posted on Reply
#106
bug
FordGT90Concept said:
AMD didn't want to alienate partners like HP which sell a lot of AMD hardware. They likely said what needed to be said in a private conversation.
It's not their only partner. And if they give in just like that, it just encourages their other partners to follow suit :(
Posted on Reply
#107
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
bug said:
It's not their only partner. And if they give in just like that, it just encourages their other partners to follow suit :(
Dell finally became a Partner...
Posted on Reply
#108
Valantar
bug said:
It's not their only partner. And if they give in just like that, it just encourages their other partners to follow suit :(
On the other hand, AMD has obviously had to fight to get more Ryzen Mobile SKUs out there. Don't think they're at the point where rocking the boat is a good idea yet.
Posted on Reply
#109
bug
Valantar said:
On the other hand, AMD has obviously had to fight to get more Ryzen Mobile SKUs out there. Don't think they're at the point where rocking the boat is a good idea yet.
They should be, if they have the better product...
Posted on Reply
#110
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
It's a maturing product. Additionally, Intel still has the mindshare by an epic margin.
Posted on Reply
#111
Valantar
FordGT90Concept said:
It's a maturing product. Additionally, Intel still has the mindshare by an epic margin.
Exactly. Both with OEMs and end users; AMD have a gigantic hurdle to overcome just to show that they're an equal contender and not the "cheap and slow" alternative. Of course, not having LPDDR3/4 support doesn't help, as it limits battery life of cheaper SKUs (where OEMs make less of an effort to tune power consumption), and this is a metric that thin-and-light customers actually care about. When 9/10 laptops are Intel-based, and 6 out of those give you better battery life and equivalent CPU performance for the same price, most people will buy one of those, given that they trust the Intel brand. Gaining ground here is definitely possible for AMD, but it's an uphill battle. Personally, I'd want to see an APU in a Dell XPS 13-like chassis, including the 25W cooling of the latest generation - that would make for a really potent little laptop.
Posted on Reply
#112
rvalencia
FordGT90Concept said:
AMD didn't want to alienate partners like HP which sell a lot of AMD hardware. They likely said what needed to be said in a private conversation.
A12 series APU for laptops driver like 18.10.1 is available from amd's web site.

https://www.amd.com/en/support/apu/amd-series-processors/amd-a12-series-apu-for-laptops/7th-gen-a12-9730p-apu

Both A12 mobile and Ryzen mobile has GCN iGPUs. Why the inconsistency?

bug said:
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.
Find mobile Ryzen OEM supplied driver greater than version 17.7 e.g. 17.9 or 17.10

eidairaman1 said:

Windows update, pretty laughable

Isn't that a Microsoft product to begin with?
I update my Surface Pro 4's GPU driver from Intel's web site.
Posted on Reply
#113
medi01
FordGT90Concept said:
Additionally, Intel still has the mindshare by an epic margin.
Mindshare of manufacturers for sure. Finding Ryzen APU powered notebook with good screen is tricky.
Posted on Reply
#116
Gasaraki
IceScreamer said:
This, with the lower battery life compared to competing Intel solutions, is the main reason I recommend against buying Ryzen laptops to my friends/family.
And that bullshit excuse is fishy, offering the generic drivers on site at least seems like a simple solution and my guess the OEMs are somehow stopping them. I mean they (AMD) do have some dumb choices but this is absurd.
OEMs are not stopping shit. OEMs don't care if there are drivers from the manufactures. Ask Dell if they care that Intel and nVidia has drivers on their websites.

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?
Go to Intel's website and get the new drivers?
Posted on Reply
#117
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
W1zzard said:
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.
I literally installed 417.01 last night on my hauwei mateboox x pro and it worked just fine with the full suite. Not to mention the built in Intel drivers it switches back and fourth from, which I also install the latest official to.

I can see how this used to be a problem, particularly older vaios. I remember their suite had w/e software was needed for the chip that facilitated the onboard to third party GPU hand off. In these cases its annoying but understandable. Honestly though atleast within the last few years laptops seem to take vanilla drivers without issue.
Posted on Reply
#118
Gasaraki
i going to jump on the AMD dick sucking train here and say that

1- It's all the OEMs fault for everything
2- AMDs drivers are perfect. You only need one release and it's done.

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.
Are you saying my GTX980 is functionally obsolete? And I was just about to give it to someone as a hand me down. I guess I should just throw it out.
Posted on Reply
#119
Valantar
Gasaraki said:
i going to jump on the AMD dick sucking train here and say that

1- It's all the OEMs fault for everything
2- AMDs drivers are perfect. You only need one release and it's done.



Are you saying my GTX980 is functionally obsolete? And I was just about to give it to someone as a hand me down. I guess I should just throw it out.
The GTX 980 was a high end card, which obviously last longer - a 960 is only really viable for esports-class games today. Still, three years for "functionally obsolete" is too short - I'd put that closer to 5-ish. I still used my HD 6950 at 2560*1440 (not ultra, obviously) when I sold it in 2015, four years in, and my Fury X is going strong after more than three. Also, in the future this is likely to stretch out as node shrinks take longer and performance increases are harder to come by.

Other than that, nobody is saying anything to the tune of the drivel you're trying to parody up top here.
Posted on Reply
#120
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Gasaraki said:
Are you saying my GTX980 is functionally obsolete? And I was just about to give it to someone as a hand me down. I guess I should just throw it out.
Nope, but it's also 4 years old so NVIDIA isn't giving it any driver priority.

The oldest card I have in daily use is an HD 5570 that's 8 years old. Works perfectly fine but I doubt it has had driver optimizations for years.

Remember, the reason why cards can be used longer is because of DirectX 10. Very little has changed in the hardware since its debut thanks to the unified shader and Display Driver Model it demanded. You can use virtually any card with Microsoft's generic video driver but performance will be terrible.
Posted on Reply
#121
lewis007
AMD if you want a bigger presence in the laptop space, this is the wrong way to go about it!
Posted on Reply
#122
rvalencia
bug said:
I'm pretty I found there drivers for mobile Ryzen from October, too.
What version is it? Does it have native resolution lock issue (e.g. Witcher 3, Divinity Original Sin 2)?

Solaris17 said:
I literally installed 417.01 last night on my hauwei mateboox x pro and it worked just fine with the full suite. Not to mention the built in Intel drivers it switches back and fourth from, which I also install the latest official to.

I can see how this used to be a problem, particularly older vaios. I remember their suite had w/e software was needed for the chip that facilitated the onboard to third party GPU hand off. In these cases its annoying but understandable. Honestly though atleast within the last few years laptops seem to take vanilla drivers without issue.
From amd.com web's drivers, I didn't have major problems with Intel IGP + AMD R9-M270(reamed from 8870M) series GPU driver updates with my old Samsung ATIV Book 8.
Posted on Reply
#123
Melvis
Well going onto AMD's website and looking for these drivers for there laptop Ryzen APU's I cant see them? so I am guessing then that the drivers can only be gotten through the vendors website?
Posted on Reply
#124
bug
Melvis said:
Well going onto AMD's website and looking for these drivers for there laptop Ryzen APU's I cant see them? so I am guessing then that the drivers can only be gotten through the vendors website?
You know what? You're right. I was actually looking at desktop CPUs with Vega graphics.
Posted on Reply
#125
rvalencia
bug said:
You know what? You're right. I was actually looking at desktop CPUs with Vega graphics.
I can force update with Catalyst 18.10.1 driver but it has other issues like locked to native resolution problem for games like Divinity Original Sin 2 and Witcher 3.

I force update with 23.20.821.2560 drivers from https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-envy-15-cp0000-x360-convertible-pc/20270303/model/21869521 on my bq100cto model which doesn't have locked to native resolution problem for the mentioned games but it has occasional BSOD after sleep state.

Catalyst 18.10.1 (25.xx.xxx.xxxx) has better stability with locked at native resolution problem with certain games.
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