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AMD's latest drivers reduce power consumption by up to 72%, but not for gaming

Asus Tuf Gaming Rx 6800
Asus Tuf Gaming Rx 6800 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest AMD driver appears to significantly reduce power consumption for Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs.
  • The reduction in power consumption only happens in certain non-gaming scenarios.
  • Idle power consumption drops as much as 72% on certain RX 6000-series GPUs.

AMD recently released the Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.4.1 driver update. That updated drivers bring several significant features, such as the ability to stream games between PCs. While those features are impressive, the new drivers appear to bring one more important change that AMD didn't mention; greatly reduced power consumption. According to TechPowerUp, Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs use significantly less power in non-gaming scenarios following the update.

The RX 6700 XT, RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT were tested by TechPowerUP. The RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT showed reductions in idle power consumption at 1440p resolution. Those cards dropped from 25W to 5W, which is a massive reduction of 72%. Multi-monitor power consumption stayed almost exactly the same in testing. The RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT saw a reduction of up to 30% for media playback.

The best graphics cards are normally rather power-hungry. The power reductions that come in this recent update won't save you energy when playing the best PC games, but they'll take up less power at other times. People use gaming PCs for things other than gaming, and saving power while watching a moving or having your PC sit idle can add up in terms of savings.

Source: TechPowerUp (Image credit: Source: TechPowerUp)

It's a bit odd that AMD didn't highlight these reductions in its release notes for its latest driver. TechPowerUp suspects that it could be because even after the reductions, AMD's GPUs still use more power than NVIDIA's offerings.

Regardless of if they were highlighted by AMD, if these tests hold true on other people's PCs, it's good news for people with the latest GPUs from AMD.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.