AMD recently launched its Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 mega driver update with a lot of new features and additions. AMD's Link software saw the biggest changes but most of the other capabilities also got major upgrades and improvements. You can read about the new AMD 21.4.1 driver in detail here. However, it seems that the new driver also has another trick up its sleeve, a subtle feature that AMD didn't showcase or talk about and oddly kept mum.
According to a test conducted by TechPowerUp using this new driver, the power consumption of the RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs apparently gets cut down by a lot, sometimes by up to ~72%. However, the power draw reduction seems to exhibit only in non-gaming scenarios which is still significant as it is likely that users aren't always gaming on their systems.
The image (below) shows the power consumption test results of the Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, 6800, and 6700 XT in three scenarios:
- At idle (left),
- Multi-monitor setup (middle), and
- Media playback (right).
As can be seen from the above results, idle power draw on the RX 6900 and the 6800 series (the Navi 21 GPU) sees the biggest reductions of around 72%, while there are also significant drops of around ~42% during media playback sessions too. Interestingly, the Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU doesn't see any noteworthy improvements.
While we can't definitively say why, a possible reason for this could be that some optimized P-state (Performance state) for the Navi 21 GPUs was added with this driver that was already present on the RX 6700 XT.
Currently, it's not clear how it affects the last-gen Radeon GPUs like the RX 5000 series or even older GCN-based cards, or how this driver could affect power efficiency during mining.
Source and image: TechPowerUp