The means that we dedicate ourselves to hardware, we usually test different components. We usually have a closed test bench, especially for testing graphics cards, thus avoiding performance discrepancies due to processing or other components. The Editor-in-Chief of TechPowerUp, known as ‘W1zzard’ has found something curious. When you changed an AMD Radeon and put an NVIDIA in, you noticed that there was a misuse of the CPU by the drivers.

When ‘W1zzard’ swapped an AMD Radeon graphics for an NVIDIA, the AMD drivers were consuming 1 processor core. It has been detected mainly because starting the computer moving around the desktop or accessing the internet, became a really slow process.

AMD drivers can consume 1 processor core if they do not detect a Radeon graphics

It is evident that this problem is difficult for the average user, who installs his graph and no longer changes it, unless he updates after a long time. But ‘W1zzard’ has detected this problem, curiously, while testing an old computer.

He says he was tinkering with an older computer with a dual-core processor. It indicates that while using an AMD Radeon graphics, the equipment worked perfectly. When I change the graphics for an NVIDIA, that’s when the performance problem appeared.

Like anyone who detects performance problems, he went to see what the Windows 10 Task Manager told him. There it was found that the application “RadeonSettings.exe” was consuming 50% of the CPU. Indeed, the AMD drivers were saturating a kernel because they had not found a Radeon graphics in the system.

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To have this problem, first of all, you must change your AMD graphics card for NVIDIA graphics. Next, you need to keep the AMD Radeon drivers on the system. This is when this excessive use of the processor by the drivers appears. The consequence is a great loss of performance, which affects to a lesser extent the modern, more powerful processors with many cores.

Those who will be most affected by this are the media specialized in hardware. We normally change graphics without much further concern on our component testing team. It is a process that can be quite common and installing and uninstalling drivers each time can be somewhat tedious. Well, it will be time to do so, since data could be falsifying due to this previously undetected problem.

W1zzard gives more details about it

Once that process was closed manually (right click, select “End Task”), performance was restored to expected levels and CPU load returned to normal. This confirms that the AMD driver is the reason for the high CPU load. Ideally, before changing graphics cards, uninstall the current graphics card driver, change the hardware, and then install the new driver, in that order. But for a quick test that’s not what most people do, and others just aren’t aware of the fact that there is such a thing as a ” graphics card driver “, and what it does. Windows is smart enough not to load any drivers for devices that are not physically present.

It seems that AMD does things differently and just preloads Radeon settings in the background every time the system boots and a user logs in, regardless of whether or not AMD graphics hardware is installed. It would be trivial to add a “If AMD hardware not found then exit immediately” check, but ok. Also, do we really need six entries in the Task Manager?

I got curious and wondered how is it possible in the first place for a utility software like the Radeon Settings control panel to use 100% of the CPU load constantly, something that could happen when a miner virus is installed, to use your electricity to mine crypto, without you knowing. By the way, this was all verified in the Radeon 20.11.2 WHQL driver, Radeon 20.11.3 Beta and the driver released for an upcoming Radeon review.

I did some quick real-game performance tests on an 8-core / 16-thread CPU and found a little FPS loss, especially in limited CPU scenarios, around 1%, on the order of 150 FPS vs 151 FPS.

W1zzard, Editor-in-Chief of TechPowerUp

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