Older AMD Radeon graphics cards will now get fewer drivers

Unfortunate, but not surprising.

Radeon Vega and Polaris GPUs to get less drivers from now on

AMD is putting GPUs older than the RX 5000 series on a slower driver update schedule. Graphics cards based on the GCN architecture, some of which are eight years old, will still see some security and functionality patches, but they’ll be fewer and further between.

The Vega and Polaris GPUs affected are AMD Radeon RX 400, RX 500, Vega 56/64/Pro Duo, and Radeon VII cards. They’ll go from several updates per month, like the current best graphics cards in the Radeon RX 6000 and 7000 range, to something infrequent. AMD considers that these GPUs are now mature, stable, and that they have reached their maximum performance.

“The AMD Polaris and Vega graphics architectures are mature, stable and performant and don’t benefit as much from regular software tuning. Going forward, AMD is providing critical updates for Polaris- and Vega-based products via a separate driver package, including important security and functionality updates as available. The committed support is greater than for products AMD categorizes as legacy, and gamers can still enjoy their favourite games on Polaris and Vega-based products,” says AMD.

This doesn’t mean it’s the end, but rather a slow down of the update release cadence. People with slow/data-capped internet may even be happier. Plus, it frees AMD up to work on future projects. We expect around three months between each driver release if we take the latest Software Adrenalin 23.11.1 as reference. After all, the latest supported drivers before these was version 23.9.2.

To be fair, most games will still run on these old GPUs just fine, even if there’s no driver support/optimisation. Just think about the times you ran a game before it got supported drivers. Most updates are angled around higher frame rates, better system utilisation, or bug fixes, but all tech has a ceiling. So long as your GPU meets a game’s system requirements, you’ll be able to run it in some capacity. Your performance mileage, however, will vary.

All this to say, if you own one of these old cards, don’t panic just yet. My brother took my RX 570 after my system upgrade, and it’s working just fine on a months’ old driver. I’d even encourage you to not update drivers if you don’t play the newest games or haven’t encountered bugs. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.