Does AMD Have the Most Stable Driver in Graphics?

Third-party expert audit tested AMD and Nvidia graphics drivers in a rigorous head-to-head battle, but the results could be questioned.

QA Consultants, an independent software quality assurance firm, has released a new report claiming that AMD has the most stable drivers in the graphics industry.

The consultants tested six of AMD’s most popular cards—high, medium and budget cards from their gaming and workstation lines respectively—against six cards from Nvidia.

QA Consultants ran each of the systems through multiple instances of CRASH, a four-hour automated program in Microsoft’s Hardware Lab Kit that contains various graphical functions across DirectX 9, 10 and 11, including changes in resolution, color settings, screen rotations, color overlays, sleeping and waking up.

Each system ran the four-hour CRASH test non-stop, six consecutive times per day for 12 days straight, for a total of 72 runs per system. Completing the entire four-hour CRASH routine without a mishap was considered a pass. Any application crashes, hangs or “blue screens of death” were considered a fail.

QA Consultants conduct a stability audit on AMD and Nvidia cards.

AMD’s systems passed 401 out of 432 tests, a pass rate of about 93 percent. Nvidia passed 356 times, or 82 percent.

The results look impressive, but there are concerns about the validity of the test. While it makes sense to hire a third party to conduct the audit, AMD commissioned it, which could be seen as a red flag.

This is compounded by the fact that AMD supplied all the cards used in the tests—both theirs and Nvidia’s. AMD claims they picked Nvidia graphics cards that “correspond most closely to the tested AMD cards,” but the company doesn’t explain how they made that determination. It begs the question that if AMD picked relatively underpowered Nvidia cards, did it skew the results in their favor?

In addition, AMD supplied only one sample of each card for the test. Almost two-thirds of NVIDIA’s GeForce failures came from one card. Does this mean that the series has inferior products or was it just one bad card? Providing multiples of each card to test, and aggregating the results, would make for a more accurate test.

Lastly, it is unclear if the CRASH test performs any application-level stress testing with games or professional software that could allow users to determine if each vendor’s driver is suitable for their own purposes.

While the test results may raise eyebrows, it is clear that AMD is committed to producing graphics cards that provide stability and reliability for engineers and gamers alike.

Read more about developments in graphic card technologies at TSMC’s New Wafer-on-Wafer Process to Empower NVIDIA and AMD GPU Designs.