AMD 21.6.1 driver drops support for Windows 7/8/8.1 and pre-Polaris GPUs

AMD today released its first display driver update for the month of June in the form of the new Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.6.1 driver. The update is significant in both good and bad ways.

We start with the good news first which says the new Radeon Software 21.6.1 driver adds support for the company's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) image upscaling technology that also launches today as announced earlier by AMD.

AMD FSR arrives on June 22 2021

AMD has stated that FSR support is coming to select titles today and while the company hasn't specified anything, it did show off Godfall at its Computex presentation running the FSR demos confirming at least one of the games. Besides Godfall, a report says that are six more games planned with FSR support at launch, and many more coming soon after. You can find all those details here.

In terms of game support, the driver is optimized for Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance which lands today on PC. Support for the recently launched RDNA 2-based RX 6800M laptop GPU has also been added. The driver however does not indicate support for the slightly cut down 6700M part even though they are built using the same chip.

Moving on to the list of fixes that the release brings, there are a few of them, to say the least. The annoyance caused by AMD's Cleanup utility also removing the chipset drivers, and such should finally be over to Radeon users as the problem has supposedly been fixed with this release.

Here's the full list of bug fixes:

  • Radeon FreeSync™ may intermittently become locked while on desktop after performing task switching between extended and primary displays upon closing a game, causing poor performance or stuttering.

  • Anno 1800™ may crash upon launching this game when running DirectX®12.

  • AMD cleanup utility may clean up chipset/RAID installer related folders/registries from the system.

  • Some Radeon Graphics products may experience lower than expected performance in Destiny 2™ when compared to previous Radeon Software versions.

  • Upon joining the AMD User Experience Program, the AMD User Experience Program Master service may have higher than expected CPU utilization.

  • Enabling Ray Tracing while running Ring of Elysium™ on DirectX®12 may cause this game to crash.

And here are those issues that still remain:

  • Resident Evil Village™ may experience an intermittent application hang or TDR on AMD Radeon VII graphics products in the first mission of the game.

  • Enhanced Sync may cause a black screen to occur when enabled on some games and system configurations. Any users who may be experiencing issues with Enhanced Sync enabled should disable it as a temporary workaround.

  • Connecting two displays with large differences in resolution/refresh rates may cause flickering on Radeon RX Vega series graphics products.

  • An Oculus service error may be received on Radeon RX 5000 & 6000 series graphics products which prevents the Oculus Link setup software from running.

  • Radeon performance metrics and logging features may intermittently report extremely high and incorrect memory clock values.

  • If Ryzen Master is not detected in Adrenalin software after installation, a system restart may be required.

  • If Blue or Black screen is observed in mobile systems, temporarily disable Enhanced sign-in

  • A driver mismatch error may appear when two versions of Radeon software (Windows Store & AMD Support versions) are installed on your system. As a temporary workaround, launch the Windows Store version of Radeon software.

  • AMD is investigating an issue that may cause a small impact to battery life on AMD Ryzen 5000 notebooks.

  • A Blue or Black screen may be observed after updating to the latest Radeon Software. A workaround is to disable core isolation.

  • AMD is investigating a D3 error code that may be seen in some motherboard after updating to the latest Radeon Software.

  • Lower than expected performance may be observed on select AMD Athlon™ mobile systems.

There's also a problem persisting with AMD Link for Windows:

  • Intermittent grey frame corruption might be observed when streaming with HEVC on certain configurations via an Internet connection. A workaround is to use the AVC encoding setting instead.

Compatibility-wise however there is a major shift with this driver compared to earlier releases and a lot of Radeon users who run older setups will be affected. The 21.6.1 driver ends support for Windows 8.1 and earlier versions of Windows, and also won't be supporting pre-Polaris cards. This means the driver is only compatible with Windows 10 64-bit OS and Radeon RX 400 series or newer graphics cards. The move is similar to what Nvidia pulled for pre-Windows 10 and also with its legacy 700 series Kepler GPUs.

So if you have a compatible setup and wish to download the Radeon Software 21.6.1 driver, head over to the official release notes page here.

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