AMD has rolled out a new feature for owners of its latest RDNA 3 GPUs. It’s an addition to its Adrenalin overlay that displays “system lag,” which sheds new light on how PC games perform in real time. Adding the new metric will arm RDNA 3 GPU owners with additional information on how their system is running while gaming, theoretically highlighting the advantages of owning an AMD GPU.
The company defines “system lag” as the difference between when a game engine renders a frame and when the GPU can render it on-screen. According to Videocardz, this new overlay feature only works on Radeon GPUs with Anti-Lag+ technology, which means its most recent 7000 series GPUs. It’s a comparable metric to Nvidia’s PC Latency (PCL). Of course, display and peripheral latency are also factors here but aren’t measured by AMD’s technology. The latency introduced by its much-hyped Fluid Motion Frames technology is also not included. The new overlay comes with the latest AMD Radeon preview driver 23.30.01.02, which also contains the addition of FSR 3 frame generation.
One other caveat is the system lag measurement only works in DirectX12 titles. Developers also have to add it to the game, so it’s only supported in a dozen titles. AMD says its anti-lag technology works by controlling the pace of the CPU’s workload in coordination with the GPU. This helps to ensure the CPU doesn’t get ahead of the GPU, which would create a backlog of work for the CPU to tackle. The technology applies frame alignment within the game engine to reduce overall latency. Nvidia’s version of this is called Reflex.
AMD’s Anti-Lag+ is an improved version of its original Anti-Lag technology. It adds frame alignment directly to the game’s code, which is why it’s only currently supported in specific titles. AMD says introducing this system lag measurement will help educate gamers on the causes of latency in gaming and give people something new to think about while gaming. It could also give gamers a reason to consider upgrading to reduce their overall latency, at least in twitch games like Overwatch and Apex Legends.