AMD is introducing a new ability for its Adrenalin graphics drivers whereby you’ll be able to view the system lag holding back your PC – with some notable catches.
VideoCardz noticed that CapFrameX (the developer of a frame time capture and analysis tool) posted about the new feature on X (formerly Twitter).
New Adrenalin overlay metric: System Lag 🔥The feature is available with 23.30.01.02 preview driver if Radeon Anti-Lag+ is supported. The numbers looking very similar to Nvidia's PC Latency, so there must be info from the game directly (render start) to be able to cover the… pic.twitter.com/odgJHJ7AfpOctober 8, 2023
As you can see, AMD has brought this in with a new graphics driver (version 23.30.01.02, which is still in testing – it’s a preview release), and it’s very much like Nvidia’s PC Latency measurement.
What this does in both cases is give the gamer a figure in milliseconds for the delay experienced between the game instructing a frame to be generated and the GPU actually finishing rendering that frame.
This is a useful stat to know, perhaps arguably an even more important metric than fps – frames per second – in terms of a game running smoothly (if lag is high, it’s very disruptive). Although of course ideally, you’ll have optimal performance for both fps (high) and system lag (low).
We mentioned caveats at the outset, so here they come. Firstly, the feature is only supported by RDNA 3 (current-gen) GPUs that benefit from Radeon Anti-Lag+ technology. Secondly, the game needs to support Radeon Anti-Lag+, too, and have it running – only a small number of PC games do at the moment (12 to be precise).
Analysis: Catching up with Nvidia
It’s good work from AMD to implement this feature, although it’s not going to be that useful for every gamer. Only those playing fast-paced games where lag is crucial – like shooters – in some competitive manner will really need to dig down into this kind of detail. Although more casual gamers may find the info interesting, nonetheless.
That said, AMD is playing catch-up with Nvidia here, as noted above, and that’s a theme of late. Nvidia comes out with DLSS 3 with frame generation, then AMD follows (a fair way behind) with FSR 3 (and a broader attempt at the tech with AFMF).
Speaking of frame generation, this new system lag measurement is not the be-all-and-end-all of the latency experienced on a gaming PC, as things like frame generation can also be a factor here (which is why the tech has been quite controversial since DLSS 3 introduced it). And there’s latency from your peripherals, and display, to also take into account as well as PC latency.
All of these factors contribute to the overall delay you’ll experience between pulling the trigger with your mouse (or controller) and seeing that shot fire off on your monitor screen.
AMD’s early incarnation of this lag measurement – remember, it’s still in a preview driver right now – is apparently working well, according to a further tweet from CapFrameX. In that, CapFrameX observes that they got both Nvidia’s PC Latency and AMD’s System Lag features working with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, finding that both measured the lag on their PC as 23ms.
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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).