Do AMD / ATI Drivers really suck??

jhatfie

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I've run tons of both Nvidia and AMD/ATI cards through the years. For the most part, the drivers from both companies have been solid. I've had some issues, most recently with my 660ti and WIndows 8 in my HTPC making Media Center worthless for watching TV with insane stuttering. But before that I had a 7850 in there that had the annoying sleep bug. I honestly can not say that I prefer one over the other except for the fact that Nvidia seems to be optimized for new games slightly quicker than AMD.
 

rudy

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I have had a lot of cards from both companies 15+ each. Suck is relative. AMDs drivers on average are not as good as nVidias. That's about it. I wouldn't say they suck by any stretch. I still buy their cards its just that AMD has to sway me with more value. If the prices were equal or close for performance I would take NVidia. You also have to take into account your use case, I never do anything but single cards so I don't have to worry about crossfire / SLI. In the case of new cards say the R290X vs 780 or titan, to me its a no brainer right now go with the R290X, driver issues can probably be outrun by raw power and its $100 cheaper and faster than the 780.
 
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had nothing but problems with my old 5870... dual monitors required bios flash with higher clocks for 2d and when media is playing to run normally

Vowed never to go back.
 

Brackle

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had nothing but problems with my old 5870... dual monitors required bios flash with higher clocks for 2d and when media is playing to run normally

Vowed never to go back.

At least you never had the brown screen of death issue. Luckily Kyle got ahold of people at AMD, and was able to get certain people quick RMA's for the cards. I was one of them.
 

Dan_D

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I've tried to go with AMD cards several times over the last few years when it made sense to do so. Each time I was horribly disappointed with my purchases thanks to the drivers. My main issue has always been problems relating to Crossfire. From the 4870X2, to the 5970 and the 7970 it never worked correctly for me.

For single GPU systems I have zero issues with their drivers. Add more than one card into the mix and it goes to shit. I'm interested in seeing how this plays out with R290X but I'm not sure I'll take the plunge with my own money.
 

Rizen

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explain why AMD still hasn't improved high latency in crossfire and weird lines in 2d mode.
I would put money on the fact that high latency in crossfire is partially a hardware problem, considering how they designed the 290/290X to no longer use the Crossfire bridge and instead use the PCI-E bus.
 

fishrule

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Own two AMD systems and an nVidia. I always have some form of driver issues with AMD cards, zero with nVidia.

TLDR: AMD drivers are garbage.
 

Gorilla

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It bugs me when guys chime in when their last actual experience was a long time ago. The worst driver experience I have ever had was when I had an 8800gt. I used to get the dreaded "driver has stopped responding and has recovered" error every day. I upgraded to a 4890 and it was like a breath of fresh air. But I don't go around telling people not to buy an Nvidia card because I had driver problems with an nvidia card 5 years ago.

Anyway, I recently upgraded to crossfire 7850s. Initially I had problems getting it to display the proper resolution on one of my displays without going into CCC and manually setting it. Sometime in the last month an update fixed that problem.

So far things have worked extremely well so. I'm on a single display so no micro stutter problems. They should have a multi display fix soon.
DOTA 2 doesn't like crossfire at all, but that doesn't matter as with a single 7850 I get 120fps.

Skyrim also doesn't seem to like crossfire very much. I get huge swings from 120fps to 70fps just from looking around at random times.

I don't know what other people are talking about in regards to 2d/3d stuff and desktop flickering/flashing. I'm not being facetious, I really don't know what that problem looks like.

Anyway, I would say that the only reason I would have any concern about AMD drivers would be if you are going with crossfire. Even then things are much better these days.
 

Borocay

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I guess my previous post about AMD drivers sucking was a little harsh. I had a few drinks last night and was feeling no pain, so I went a little over the top in my post. However, I can say without a doubt that Nvidia drivers seem to be more polished than AMD drivers. The drivers always seemed to work fine in games for the most part except for the weird stuttering thing, but outside the games weird things would happen when surfing, watching videos and when my computer was idle like going to sleep and not waking up. For the longest time I thought it was my computer configuration which resulted in me changing things and out and reinstalling Windows multiple times. Then one day my friend brought his Nvidia card over and once I installed it all of the problems went away. That is when the light went off in my head and recognized that it was my AMD video card and not my system. After that I never looked back.
 

maboblivion

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Just look on google for Nvidia driver has stopped responding.
Both companies suffer from driver issues.
like ppl have said before add another amd card and that can be a deal breaker.

With both company find a stable driver and stick with it. Update to a beta only if it addresses a game your playing right now and if you have too many problems revert.

skyrim ran like crap when it came out and ppl blamed amd drivers , yet the game wasn't even optimized properly for pc.
 

haz_mat

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Running a single Radeon 7850 here, only occasional annoying-type bugs, nothing show-stopping. I had a weird issue with the system volume getting turned down when I turn off my monitor - seemed like it was in a couple driver versions lately, but the most recent beta 6 drivers seem to have alleviated the problem. My X-Fi drivers are old, so that could be contributing as well. SimCity 4 has issues in hardware mode, but its an old game and runs ok in software render so I'm not upset about it.

Otherwise, my 7-series experience has been great. Bought mine last summer and I've been enjoying the performance gains improved drivers have brought over the months. Sometimes they go a couple months without updates, but unless you're rollin with crossfire and having a problem with a brand new game, most issues have already been ironed out.

I think some problems people have might actually be related to a defective card. I've seen cards which function some of the time or only when there is a full moon or other strange conditions.

I had a nVidia 6800 some years ago and I believe it was defective memory that allowed it to run for a while, but when the bad cell was allocated I would get a BSOD. So I'd play some games that need little memory and it would run fine. Load up Half Life 2 and 30 minutes in I would see a BSOD. Strange enough behavior for me to question the drivers until I had done enough testing to confirm that it was indeed a bad card. Given the large amount of RAM on cards these days, I wouldn't be surprised if there was bad memory slipping through more often.

Also, we should not forget nVidia was caught with their pants down on a driver update within the last year or two. I forget when it was exactly, but nVidia had to pull a driver that wasn't tested enough. The update corrupted some cards' fan controls which caused them to overheat and burn out. Yes, burn out as in dead card - even at stock speeds. Scary, but I suppose it hasn't happened enough to ruin nVidia's reputation. I heard elsewhere around this time that nVidia had significantly reduced the size of their driver team before that driver was released. Dunno if that is true, but if so it might explain the slip up.
 

///AMG

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Ive been with AMD since the x1xxx. I had the x1900xt, 3870, 4850, 5870, and the 7970, I also had the Fx 5200, 6800GT and most of my laptops back in the day were nvidia. Both are quite equal, driver wise never really had any problems with either. Hardware wise Nvidia hosed 2 of my laptops for fault gpus.
 

WorldExclusive

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I've had issues with both camps, just less with Nvidia.
The 6870 drivers at launch was the last straw for AMD with me. Haven't bought another AMD card since.
 

cybereality

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For people that are saying the AMD drivers are bad: what does this mean exactly?

I mean, what happened to make you think the drivers were bad? Was it crashing, slow performance, stuttering, artifacts, etc.? I see a lot of people saying the drivers suck but not exactly what happened to make them think that.
 

rudy

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Some things that made AMD drivers bad.

Scaling on HDTVs / overscan. It defaulted to on, for no good reason, and was hidden / not obvious in their menus.
Multiple issues over the years that have required some backwards compatibility or customizing required third party tools for ATI while not for NVidia.
ATI had bad issues with enduro graphics switching on laptops for a while around the time the 7000 mobile chips came out and couldn't ever seem to get it right leaving tons of gamers out to dry. A generation before that things were worse and companies were making their own work arounds.
Inconsistent frame rate issue.
 

Final8ty

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I've tried to go with AMD cards several times over the last few years when it made sense to do so. Each time I was horribly disappointed with my purchases thanks to the drivers. My main issue has always been problems relating to Crossfire. From the 4870X2, to the 5970 and the 7970 it never worked correctly for me.

For single GPU systems I have zero issues with their drivers. Add more than one card into the mix and it goes to shit. I'm interested in seeing how this plays out with R290X but I'm not sure I'll take the plunge with my own money.

And how many of them were on AMD mobos because im really thinking compatibility with some Intel mobos are part of the problem.

CF 1900xt
Quadfire 3870
Quadfire 5970
Trifire 7950

Just one driver didn't work with my Quadfire 3870 which would only see one 3870 because the driver was not compatible with systems with 8GB of ram and CF, the norm back then was 2-4GB, but they fixed in on the next driver.

I have had no crashing or drivers has stopped responding outside of unstable overclocking on the CPU,Ram and GPU ect....
 
Last edited:

Dan_D

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And how many of them were on AMD mobos because im really thinking compatibility with some Intel mobos are part of the problem.

CF 1900xt
Quadfire 3870
Quadfire 5970
Trifire 7950

Just one driver didn't work with my Quadfire 3870 which would only see one 3870 because the driver was not compatible with systems with 8GB of ram and CF, the norm back then was 2-4GB, but they fixed in on the next driver.

I have had no crashing or drivers has stopped responding outside of unstable overclocking on the CPU,Ram and GPU ect....

Zero. And I agree with you. There was absolutely some compatibility problems such as issues with the X79 platform which AMD denied the existence of for months until a fix mysteriously appeared in a driver update's patch notes all of the sudden. By that time I'd sold my cards a couple of months prior and wasn't about to go back.
 

Final8ty

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Zero. And I agree with you. There was absolutely some compatibility problems such as issues with the X79 platform which AMD denied the existence of for months until a fix mysteriously appeared in a driver update's patch notes all of the sudden. By that time I'd sold my cards a couple of months prior and wasn't about to go back.

I have been thinking about jumping to Intel quite a few times but the AMD CPUs have just given me enough to stay put and it can't be down to luck that i have had so few issues.

NV dont do there own mobos anymore so i would assume there testing priority is on Intel so less compatibility issues on Intel.

When i get my next Quadfire setup and if the latest AMD CPU is not up to the task i may have to jump to Intel.
 

BababooeyHTJ

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^ How are you liking that tri-fire 7950? I loved mine, that was a powerful combo.

Zero. And I agree with you. There was absolutely some compatibility problems such as issues with the X79 platform which AMD denied the existence of for months until a fix mysteriously appeared in a driver update's patch notes all of the sudden. By that time I'd sold my cards a couple of months prior and wasn't about to go back.

Had you not started that thread and organized people dealing with the same issue to try and narrow down the lowest common denominator who knows how long it would have taken for a fix.
 

Toonie

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Here's my take:

nVidia > AMD

They have their fair share of issues but I have more problems with AMD drivers than nVidia drivers when it comes to Multi GPU setups. Driver stability are the same when it comes to single card setups.
 

octoberasian

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Since I don't run CrossfireX (been debating it on and off though), my comment probably doesn't matter. The last major driver issue I've had in a single GPU setup was Catalyst 11.2, which I believe was the one that stupidly enlarged the cursor for no reason and dropped the GPU clock speed in 3D mode to 2D mode clock speeds at random; and before that, I believe it was either one of the Catalyst 9 or 10 versions when it had issues with Final Fantasy XI.

After that, it has been pretty stable. I'm currently running the latest Catalyst 13.11 Beta drivers.

Crossfire? Meh, it works for others while it doesn't work for others 100%. Combination of hardware (and/or software/drivers) could be an issue or it's just blatant disregard and ignorance by the game developers themselves, and not AMD's fault for the most part.
 

Rjmig88

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I've used both Nvidia and ATI cards. I've had terrible driver experiences using an ATI 5870 in Eyefinity with 3 monitors, enough that I've sworn off using them. My biggest issue is it wouldn't save eyefinity profile settings so I would have to constantly reform the eyefinity group. For a while ATI also neutered the 5870 eyefinity settings removing bezel compensation to up-sell the 7 series with "Eyefinity 2.0". They silently added bezel compensation back in a month or two later, which was really shady on their part. I'm also using calibrated color profiles which the driver refuses to save so I have to use a separate program to restore the profile every time. As for other stability/issues, I haven't noticed anything else.

I've had tremendous support from Nvidia. A long time ago I had some driver crashes in writing some graphics code that used bleeding edge Nvidia extensions and when I contacted customer support I got an actual programmer to interact with me. After sending crash dumps and my reproduction steps he had a beta driver for me to test out right away.
 

KarsusTG

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On average I honestly think that Nvidia's drivers are more consistent. Although, AMD drivers are far better than some people will lead you to believe.

Pretty much this. Unless of course you are planning on running Linux. You will never beat your face against the monitor/desk harder or more times than trying to make that work correctly...
 

DeFex

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I had a 7970 and it flickered on a really old game i play sometimes (trackmania), apart from that i never really noticed anything. I had to switch though because i use octane render, and it only works on green cards.
 

RCantw3ll

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In my experience you will have less issues with nVidia drivers, and the "GeForce Experience" is absolutely fantastic. I had roughly 10 ATI/AMD Cards up to my 5870 with only 1 nVidia card mixed in at the time. I had a terrible experience, as someone who does not experience computer issues regularly, and made the switch then.

I am extremely tempted to move to a custom cooled 290X from my 680, but I really do not want to give up the "GeForce Experience" (as in the software). We will see. The recent price drop of the 780s makes things interesting. If the 780ti comes in at 550 - 600 then I may just be in for one. Cheers!
 

Domingo

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Both have their faults. Coming from the perspective of someone who only uses single-card setups, AMD's drivers tend to break more things and come far less frequently. They aren't THAT bad, but they do tend to be worse. Plus, the inability to force vsync in DirectX is inexcusable.
 

Rizen

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I have both. In my main system I use NVIDIA because I like multiple GPU setups and NVIDIA has historically had less issues and better support. I tried CFX with 5870s and it wasn't a very good experience.

My 2nd box has a single 7870 and my girlfriend plays on it all the time, Borderlands 2, Dragon Age, Path of Exile, Assassin's Creed 3, etc. Never had a problem with it, every game runs fine.

So personally I think both companies have their drivers in a pretty solid state, I am just waiting to see how Crossfire works on the new 290 series before I consider AMD for multiple GPUs again personally.
 

tangoseal

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No... i have been using AMD for years. They do not suck. Nor does Nv. Its all about how you uninstall and update. Also there have been historical issues with both vendors and sli/xf but generations of refinement have fixed a huge butt load of isues.
 

VladDracule

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I refuse to buy anymore AMD Cards after having two recent crossfire setups.

The Clevo laptop in my sig REFUSES to enable crossfire after multiple clean installs of both driver and even windows. Both cards test out fine individually and i know the MOBO is operational as well.

AMD Crossfire is a mistake, single card probably fine
 

dr.stevil

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Having just went to an AMD 7990, after using nVidia almost exclusively for the past 10+ years, I have to say that AMD isn't anywhere near as polished as nVidia. CCC is sort of a cluster F* and have run into a lot more hiccups than I ever did with nVidia.

However, they're not total crap either. I've used drivers/software from other companies that makes AMD's look downright amazing lol so it's all relative. The performance is good, especially with their more recent beta drives, and aside from the occasional frustration (AMD audio drivers conflict with onboard drivers and causes 5-10 min. hangs when changing output/input audio devices... for example) it's not too bad. Hoping that Mantle will cause me not to really care that much.
 

Yakk

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Had a 5870 CF setup for years. Haven't had any issues for at least the last two years with Radeon Pro.

Just works.
 

Megalomaniac

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I found both sets sucked when switching from one team to the other.
A) you're used to one layout of the options panel (and you don't want to change it)
B) Some hiccups happen when you're uninstalling drivers. I know that it's supposed to be a non issue now, and you longer need DriveCleaner, but I have constantly jumped from one team to another and usually, i found a new OS the best solution to any problems.
 

Spyhawk

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I think they both have their issues but over all nothing major. I have never been unable to play a game or have I ever had a video card driver that couldn't install or uninstall. The only serious issues I ever had was when I was pushing oc too much or when the card was damaged.

Most of the bad rap AMD drivers get is mostly over hyped. Dissapointed people often like to use over the top adjectives to describe their issues. Also their is also the bad user scenario. How many times Ive seen a bad driver rage start only to end up in being user error ? Or it being caused by something else? Very often.
 

Domingo

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At this point I wish both companies included RivaTuner/Afterburner or Radeon Pro with their normal installs.
 
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