AMD adds Radeon Image Sharpening to Vega GPUs and Radeon VII after backlash

AMD released a driver update on Monday that added Radeon Image Sharpening support to its Radeon Vega-based graphics cards, including the Radeon VII. Doing so effectively ended a minor kerfuffle surrounding the new and awesome technology.

Radeon Image Sharpening debuted in AMD’s excellent Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards in July. Here’s how we described it then: “Radeon Image Sharpening uses algorithms to intelligently sharpen only the areas that need it, reducing the blurriness that can pop up when you activate various anti-aliasing methods or run games at a lower resolution than your display’s maximum. Better yet, it does so with next to no performance impact.”  

Basically, RIS cleans up the image when you downscale a game’s resolution away from your monitor’s default resolution for increased performance. It’s great. And while Radeon Image Sharpening stepped into the spotlight on the back of AMD’s new “Navi” architecture-based RX 5700 GPUs, it isn’t limited to Navi chips alone. An early September update added RIS to the Radeon RX 570, 580, and 590, AMD’s trio of affordable 1080p gaming champions.

That’s when the trouble started.

In the wake of that update, PCGamesN asked AMD whether RIS would be coming to Radeon RX Vega GPUs. AMD told PCGamesN that “AMD will gauge end user reception and demand for Radeon Image Sharpening and will consider adding support for additional Radeon RX graphics cards in the future.” 

AMD enthusiasts weren’t happy with that wishy-washy answer. Before the Radeon RX 5700 series was released, the Vega-based GPUs were AMD’s most powerful graphics cards, the Radeon flagships—and they sold for well above MSRP for most of their life cycle, due to the cryptocurrency boom. Gamers who invested in Vega anyways felt (rightfully) left out. On the r/amd subreddit, the initial thread about PCGamesN’s article accumulated over 2.4K upvotes and nearly 700 comments, while a subsequent thread titled “Dear AMD, of course we want Radeon Image Sharpening on Vega, this shouldn’t even be a question,” tallied up another 2.3K upvotes and just shy of 400 comments.

“It’s stupid not giving Vega users RIS (I own one and love it),” one commenter wrote. “Honestly makes me lose faith in them and their products.”

The Vega-based Radeon VII.

AMD heard the message, and now that faith is restored—a good thing, as this is cool technology that deserves to be spread as far and wide as possible. Radeon Vega and VII owners can download Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.9.3 now to get in on the image-sharpening action, and all Radeon owners will find optimizations for Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Breakpoint releases this week and is part of AMD’s just-announced “Raise the Game” bundle for many Radeon graphics cards.

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