AMD slam-dunks GPGPU test

That’s not a bug—that’s a feature.

Jon Peddie

In the recent testing of the RTX 4090 by our colleague Mark Poppin of BabelTechReviews, we observed what we thought was an anomaly in one of the SPEC tests. In the SiSoft Sandra 2020  GPGPU test suite, AMD’s RX 6900 XT had an extraordinarily high score.

SPEC’s Sandra 2020 GPGPU test results

Either we did something wrong, or AMD had a bug in their driver. Poppin reran the test three times and got the same results. So, we reported it to SPEC, and they in turn took it up with AMD.

Today, we learned we had accidentally found a new feature AMD had been working on but not yet announced.

AMD said, “The release of AMD Software: PRO Edition 22.Q3 on September 29, 2022, brings our most significant performance advancements to date in all OpenGL applications and many other designing, modeling, and CAD software applications.”

The 22.Q3 driver, says AMD has up to 72% performance improvements in Autodesk Maya from the previous driver. The advancements will provide a seamless experience for all users and streamline the process of creating, editing, and rendering imagery, animations, and scenes. Users will see improvements in:

  • Enhanced model visualization and graphics performance
  • Streamlined interaction and manipulation of models
  • Better overall experience
  • Stable performance
  • Improved multitasking between Maya and other applications

In addition to generation over generation, 22.Q3, claims AMD, pushes Radeon PRO GPU past popular Nvidia GPUs in Maya with a SPECviewperf score of the Radeon PRO W6800 performing up to 41% better than the RTX A5000 using the Quadro Optimal Driver for Enterprise (ODE) 516.94.
AMD went on to discuss the improvements they made in various application accelerations, listed here.

What do we think?

When AMD releases its next AIB (the expected Radeon 7000), we will run all the tests again. By then, Nvidia will have reacted and have a new driver and probably reduce the gain the 6900 XT has. In the meantime, AMD gets to play king of the hill and demonstrate how much headroom there is in a driver that allows calls and draws to be minimized. We are also anxiously awaiting SPEC’s release of a Vulkan version.