AMD Polaris & Vega “GCN” GPUs Now Limited To Critical Driver Updates Only As EOL Imminent

AMD has limited the driver support for its Polaris & Vega GPUs to “Critical” updates only as both architectures near their EOL (End-of-Life) period.

AMD Polaris & Vega, The Last of The GCN Architectures, Are Reaching EOL Status But Critical Driver Updates Will Continue To Roll Out

AMD’s recent Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition drivers lacked support for the Polaris and Vega GPUs in the main driver branch and received separate drivers which was only limited to bug fixes. Not only that but AMD also ended support for Polaris and Vega GPUs in its official AMDVLK Vulkan drivers while the MESA RADV “Radeon Vulkan” drivers continue to support them.

Confirming the reduced support for Polaris & Vega GPU architectures and the respective products, AMD says that they will only offer critical driver updates for both families going forward through a separate driver package which could include important security and functionality updates. AMD is also confident that the current drivers for Polaris and Vega are very mature and don’t benefit from additional software tuning. While this may be true, it does mean that future games and apps won’t see any optimizations from AMD for Vega and Polaris architectures.

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 favorite games on Polaris and Vega-based products.

AMD Rep (via Anandtech)

The AMD Polaris GPU architecture made its first debut in the Radeon RX 480 back in 2016 when the red team aimed at the mainstream segment.

The follow-up, the RX 500 series also targeted the same segment but that changed in 2017 with the arrival of AMD’s Vega architecture which tried to compete in the high-end landscape but didn’t quite offer the gaming performance that it was promised to offer against NVIDIA’s GeForce 10 series cards. The Vega GPU architecture was mostly suited for the HPC and Workstation segment where it showed far better performance and that was made evident with the release of the Radeon VII which was a prosumer graphics card. Both Polaris and Vega were the last of the GCN offerings.

Image Source: Steam Hardware Survey

Even as of right now, the AMD Radeon RX 580 and Radeon RX 570, both of which are based on the Polaris GPU architecture, have a huge share in the Steam Hardware Survey and a lot of budget and entry-level gamers still use these graphics cards for gaming.

With that said, AMD’s Vega GPU architecture also serves a very crucial and huge market in the form of the Ryzen APU family with four generations of laptop/desktop APUs featuring the Vega graphics architecture.

AMD Polaris “GCN 4” & Vega “GCN 5” Products:

Desktop Architecture Mobile Architecture
Radeon Pro Duo Vega (2019) Vega GCN 5.0 Radeon RX 600M (2019) Polaris GCN 4.0
Radeon VII (2019) Vega GCN 5.0 Radeon RX 500M (2017) Polaris GCN 4.0
Radeon RX Vega (2017) Vega GCN 5.0 Radeon RX 400M (2016) Polaris GCN 4.0
Radeon 600 (2020) Polaris GCN 4.0 Ryzen 7030 (2023) Vega GCN 5.0
Radeon Pro Duo Polaris (2017) Polaris GCN 4.0 Ryzen 5000 (2021) Vega GCN 5.0
Radeon RX 500 (2017) Polaris GCN 4.0 Ryzen 4000 (2020) Vega GCN 5.0
Radeon RX 400 (2016) Polaris GCN 4.0 Ryzen 3000 (2019) Vega GCN 5.0
Ryzen 5000G APUs (2021) Vega GCN 5.0 Ryzen 2000 (2017) Vega GCN 5.0
Ryzen 4000G APUs (2020) Vega GCN 5.0
Ryzen 3000G APUs (2019) Vega GCN 5.0
Ryzen 2000G APUs (2018) Vega GCN 5.0

AMD also uses Vega in the refreshed Ryzen 7030 “Rembrandt-R” family so those will be limited in terms of driver support too. GCN truly had a long run but it looks like it’s pretty much the end of the road for Polaris and Vega.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA continues to support GeForce 700, 900, and 10 series GPUs based on the Maxwell, and Pascal architectures which were released around the same time as AMD Vega & Polaris products.

News Source: Anandtech

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