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This AMD GPU just got a 15% frame rate boost from a driver update

AMD has unlocked memory overclocking on its Radeon RX 7900 GRE gaming GPU via a new driver, handing it a big frame rate boost for free.

amd radeon gre memory clock upgrade

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE has been one of the most bizarre graphics card launches in history, thanks to its on again, off again China exclusivity, and now its tale has taken yet another turn. AMD has just released a new driver for the card that lets users overclock its VRAM, unlocking masses of previously untapped performance.

The RX 7900 GRE was already in with a chance of a place on our best graphics card guide – we’re working on our review right now – but that potential has been boosted even further thanks to this new AMD driver.

To recap, the RX 7900 GRE launched in mid 2023 as a card exclusively available in China, although it quite quickly became available in a few other Australasian territories, particularly as an option in pre-built PCs. As the months passed, the card became more and more widely available, until earlier this year, it appeared in the UK. What has followed is a fairly lowkey global launch that has seen the card slot into the international GPU market to take on the new RTX 4070 Super.

The card is based on the same GPU as the RX 7900 XT and XTX but with a few more parts disabled. It has 80 compute units enabled, giving it 5,120 stream processors, which isn’t far off the 5,376 stream processors in the RX 7900 XT, and a lot more than the 3,840 in the 7800 XT. The card even comes with a massive 16GB of VRAM, though it only uses a 256-bit memory bus compared to the 7900 XT’s 320-bit bus.

However, one of the key limiting factors of the card up until this point has been its limited memory clock speed. While the RX 7900 XT has the same 256-bit memory bus, its memory is clocked at 2,500MHz (20Gbps effective), whereas the RX 7900 GRE was limited to just 2,250MHz (18Gbps effective).

The new RX 7900 GRE driver, then, which is wrapped up as part of the latest official AMD Adrenalin 24.3.1 WHQL driver package, unlocks the ability to increase memory clock speed, allowing users to crank the memory speed all the way up to 3,000MHz.  TechPowerUp reports that it has successfully tried this tweak, which boosted the card’s 3DMark TimeSpy Extreme GT1 frame rate from 67.1fps to 77.1fps – an increase of 14.9%.

How this affects the ultimate value of the card right now is a factor we’ll be assessing in our upcoming review, but it puts the card on a firm footing for snatching our best graphics card recommendation for the $500-$550 range.

Interestingly, the driver update is actually something of a workaround for what AMD calls a bug in the originally released versions of the GRE cards. Having all originally been shipped with an overclocking limit built into the firmware of these cards, which can’t simply be changed by a driver but would instead require all the card vendors to issue a firmware update, the driver instead reprograms the power limits on the GPU at boot-up. Smart!

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of buying a graphics card but aren’t sure how to go about upgrading your system, you can check out our how to build a gaming PC guide for full step-by-step build and upgrade instructions.