Toronto-based quality assurance specialist QA Consultants has released a report, paid for by AMD, in which it claims that AMD graphics drivers are demonstrably more reliable than those written by its rival Nvidia.

In the production of an exhaustive 125-page report commissioned by AMD, QA Consultants - which claims to be the largest on-shore software quality assurance company in Canada - put together a lab based on the Microsoft Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK) and comprised of twelve identical machines with an Intel Core i5-8400 processor on an MSI Z320-A Pro motherboard, 16GB of DDR4 memory, a Samsung 860 Evo 250GB SSD, Corsair CX750 PSU, and an HP Z24x display at 1,920x1,200 on a DisplayPort or Mini-DisplayPort connection. Each machine was running the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

These machines were then fitted with six graphics cards from each manufacturer: The consumer-grade Radeon Vega RX 64, Radeon RX 580 8GB, and Radeon RX 560 plus workstation-grade Radeon Pro WX 9100, WX 7100, and WX 3100 boards for AMD, and the consumer-grade GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, GTX 1060 6GB, and GTX 1050 2GB plus workstation-grade Quadro P5000, P4000, and P600 from rival Nvidia. The AMD consumer systems had the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 installed while the AMD workstation systems used the Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q2 bundle, and the Nvidia consumer systems had the GeForce Game Ready Driver 397.64 and the workstation systems the Quadro Desktop 391.58.

The aim of all this: To 'prove' which manufacturer has the most reliable software stack. The audit saw QA Consultants running the lab for 12 days of 24-hour stress tests, after which the results were tallied: a 93 percent pass rate for AMD, compared to an 82 percent pass rate for Nvidia.

'As GPUs advance in capability, more is demanded from the graphics driver. A good user experience hinges on a stable, reliable software stack,' QA Consultants explains in its test summary. 'Using CRASH from Microsoft’s Windows HLK, we ran 12 days of 24-hour tests to evaluate the stability of a suite of graphics drivers from leading market vendors. In our testing, both AMD gaming and workstation GPUs performed better than the comparable Nvidia products. Based on our testing of the aforementioned 12 GPUs, we believe that AMD has the most stable graphics driver in the industry.'

While the conclusion is somewhat marred by the the fact that Intel, which produces graphics drivers for its own integrated graphics processors and has recently restarted work on developing a high-performance family of discrete graphics cards, was not included in the test, QA Consultants is standing by its claim - but expect to see a rival study commissioned by Nvidia in the near future refuting the company's findings.

The full report, the bulk of which is made up of detailed results from each system on test, can be found on AMD's website (PDF warning.)


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