AMD has not mentioned at any time that the recently released Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 WHQL drivers significantly reduce GPU consumption at idle; However, the first tests comparing this new version with the previous 21.3.2 using the latest generation graphics (RX 6700 XT, RX 6800, RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT) have shown that consumption is greatly reduced, reaching a 72% less.
Your AMD GPU will consume up to 72% less with the latest drivers
The guys from TPU have carried out various tests comparing the consumption of several of AMD’s graphics cards in different scenarios, all of them “non-gaming” (that is, with the computer at rest or simply with media playback, where it is not required almost nothing to the GPU), and they have found a huge and pleasant surprise in terms of consumption savings.
The Radeon RX 6700 XT does not show a significant reduction in power consumption when the GPU is idle, but the RX 6800, RT 6800 XT and RT 6900 XT all registered large drops in power consumption when using this new version of the drivers from AMD. For example, at 1440p resolution the consumption drops from 25 to only 5 watts (72% less); that yes, it is necessary to bear in mind that the consumption does not have variations in multi-monitor configurations.
Power consumption in media playback (for example with a movie in VLC or a video in YouTube) is reduced by up to 30% with the RX 6800, 6800 XT and 6900 XT, which is a huge improvement that is especially interesting for manufacturers of multimedia PC systems, since not only power consumption is affected but obviously also temperature and noise.
The data is obvious, of course, and it is anyone’s guess why AMD didn’t mention these huge consumer improvements with its latest drivers, although a closer look at the numbers might throw up some clues. Even with media playback power consumption dropping from approximately 50 to 35 watts, the RX 6800/6900 series chips still use more power than competing RTX 30 Series chips.
For example, an RTX 3070 consumes only 18 watts, or an RTX 3080 raises the consumption to 27 watts, both values lower than the 35 watts that AMD GPUs consume even with the improvement of these drivers. In addition, the guys from TPU have also tested these new drivers with previous generation graphics and have not noticed any changes, so it seems that these improvements only serve to alleviate the consumption deficiencies of the new generation graphics, which simply they consumed too much while at rest.
In any case, if you have a latest-generation AMD graphics card, this driver update is worth it, since at the end of the day a reduction in the consumption of the graphics card is always appreciated, wherever it comes from.