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

#126
wow&wow
For enjoying driver updates, get GPU cards?

When I buy notebooks with APU (CPU+iGPU), I don't want any update since I use them as tools but not play with them.

Did people ever get FW updates for their TVs, DVD players, cars, ...?
Posted on Reply
#127
bug
wow&wow said:
For enjoying driver updates, get GPU cards?

When I buy notebooks with APU (CPU+iGPU), I don't want any update since I use them as tools but not play with them.

Did people ever get FW updates for their TVs, DVD players, cars, ...?
Yes. Since they've become connected, all the above tend to get updates.
Posted on Reply
#128
rvalencia
wow&wow said:
For enjoying driver updates, get GPU cards?

When I buy notebooks with APU (CPU+iGPU), I don't want any update since I use them as tools but not play with them.

Did people ever get FW updates for their TVs, DVD players, cars, ...?
You haven't experienced Windows Vista style BSOD driver instability.

Pre-Ryzen A12 series APU for laptops has driver updates from AMD.com e.g. Catalyst 18.10.1. Both mobile Ryzen and A12 APUs has GCN iGPU and configurable TDP, hence why the inconsistency with the driver updates?

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).
I'm testing Adrenalin 18.5.1 (24.20.11016.4) driver and it seems to fix locked resolution problem with games like Witcher 3 and Divinity Original Sin 2 . Brightness screen controls still works.
Vulkan API path seem to be faster with Doom.


This is for HP Envy x360 bq100cto with mobile Ryzen 5 2500U
Posted on Reply
#129
Redwoodz
medi01 said:
Mindshare of manufacturers for sure. Finding Ryzen APU powered notebook with good screen is tricky.
This. AMD is basically between a rock and a hard spot with these OEMs. You could not even find a single laptop with a SSD. Nvidia only makes gpu's so they don't have to worry about it. There are many different configurations in a laptop, so they can't just make one driver for everything.
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#130
rvalencia
Redwoodz said:
This. AMD is basically between a rock and a hard spot with these OEMs. You could not even find a single laptop with a SSD. Nvidia only makes gpu's so they don't have to worry about it. There are many different configurations in a laptop, so they can't just make one driver for everything.
A12 series APU for laptop drivers are available from amd.com

Both mobile A12 and Ryzen APUs has TDP can be configured (e.g. 15 watts target) and GCN iGPU, hence why the inconsistency?

Based on embedded Ryzen (similar to mobile Ryzen), UEFI's "AMD CAP" page has the TDP target settings. OEMs like HP usually hides "AMD CAP" page from their end users.

I buy predecessor to my HP Envy x360 15z bq100cto model with Ryzen 5 2500U APU with another HP Envy x360 15-bq000no model with A12-9700P APU
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