Windows 10 2004's new feature: First Nvidia, now AMD supports GPU scheduling

But Microsoft will run more tests before releasing new graphics drivers that support hardware-accelerated scheduling.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

AMD has released a beta driver to support the Windows 10 May 2020 Update's new feature, hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. 

The new Windows 10 2004 feature reduces latency caused by buffering between the CPU and GPU. AMD this week added support for GPU scheduling in its Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.5.1 Beta driver

"By moving scheduling responsibilities from software into hardware, this feature has the potential to improve GPU responsiveness and to allow additional innovation in GPU workload management in the future," AMD said in release notes. 

SEE: Windows 10: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

This feature is available on Radeon RX 5600 and Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards.

Nvidia's announcement about support for Windows graphics scheduling was somewhat overshadowed by news of GeForce RTX GPU support for Microsoft's new DirectX Ultimate graphics API.

Microsoft has now offered a more detailed explanation of its choices in the release of hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling in Windows 10 version 2004, which was enabled by the WDDMv2.7 driver in this version of Windows 10. 

The new GPU scheduler is off by default, so users must opt-in to it in Settings -> System -> Display -> Graphics Settings. The interface for the setting will only appear if the GPU and GPU driver supports the GPU scheduler. 

According to Microsoft, hardware scheduling still needs to go through a round of testing with Windows Insiders before the appropriate drivers will be released to the mainstream population.

"Although we do a lot of validation through our Insider population, the number of system configurations and scenarios in the Insider population does not fully cover what can happen in our ecosystem of more than a billion devices," said Microsoft's Steve Pronovost, lead and architect for the Windows Graphics Kernel

"Because hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is such a fundamental pillar of the graphics subsystem and used in absolutely everything that you do on your PC, we decided to introduce it initially as an opt-in to avoid any possible disruption."

Recent releases of Windows Insiders previews on the Slow and Fast rings now support hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. 

SEE: Is Microsoft done copying Apple?

Microsoft will be publishing drivers from GPU manufacturers through Windows Update for Insider builds. Microsoft intends to run some A/B testing on Insider machines before releasing it to the general public. 

"In the Insider Fast Ring, we can run experiments where we silently toggle hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling on, on behalf of some users such that we get a mix of users running with and without the new scheduler," said Pronovost.

"Through our experimentation platform and our telemetry system we can effectively run A/B experiments and compare how systems running with hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling compare to systems running our old GPU scheduler. 

"We monitor reliability telemetry such as kernel crashes (bluescreens), user mode crashes, GPU hangs, freeze/deadlocks as well as a limited set of performance metrics." 

If the tests prove hardware-accelerated scheduling is reliable and performs well, the driver will be released to the public version of Windows Update for all users on Windows 10 version 2004.   

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