AMD has released a new graphics driver and it introduces a power-saving mode that could make a huge difference to the battery life of gaming laptops and handhelds.
Adrenalin Edition 23.12.1 brings in official support for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, as well as a revamped interface, but the real highlight is the mentioned feature called AMD HYPR-RX Eco.
Yes, that’s a bit of a mouthful, but the idea is simple, unlike the name: this is a one-click button that kicks in a raft of features to save a considerable amount of power drain.
We’re told that this easy-to-invoke energy-saving profile will usher in power savings of up to 68%, though the catch is that it’s exclusive to just RDNA 3 GPUs right now (RX 7000 graphics cards, and processors with RDNA 3 integrated graphics). AMD says it’ll work best with games running in full-screen, so this is a gaming-targeted feature.
The mentioned UI redesign also includes allowing HYPR-RX profiles to be easily enabled globally (across all apps and the system in one fell swoop), or on a per-game basis.
Analysis: Full steam ahead with power savings
HYPR-RX Eco sounds very smart then, but we have to note that the provided figure of 68% is an ‘up to’ estimation of performance, meaning that this is a best-case scenario. That said, even if the average power-saving is a good deal lower, say 40%, that’s still huge.
We don’t yet know exactly what effect this feature will have, of course, or the trade-off (in performance terms – those battery savings must come from somewhere). But AMD certainly sounds confident that this will be an impressive addition to the mix for enabling the best gaming laptops to last longer when away from a power socket.
This will be great for gaming handhelds too, like the Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go, Windows-powered portables that have faced some quite severe criticism over disappointing battery life. They have RDNA 3 graphics and so will benefit from the HYPR-RX Eco option, which is great news.
AMD says that HYPR-RX Eco will “launch initially” for RDNA 3 (and RX 7000), so this also suggests that it’ll come to older GPU hardware in time – which would mean the Steam Deck (RDNA 2) surely? We can keep our fingers crossed for a wider rollout soon enough, certainly for last-gen graphics, anyway.
All in all, the future is looking good for these gaming handhelds, especially given that for Windows 11 models, Microsoft just took the first step towards that rumored ‘handheld mode’ for these devices. Improving the interface to be more like the streamlined UI of the Steam Deck (SteamOS) is a crucial factor here.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).