This month AMD released the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 21.4.1 that comes with some great quality of life improvements for Radeon users. Alongside all of the features mentioned in the patch notes, the new drivers improve power efficiency in non-gaming scenarios.
The AMD RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, & RX 6900 XT See Significant Improvements In Idle And Media Playback Power Draw
TechPowerUp conducted tests using Radeon RX 6000 series SKUs. The RX 6700 XT, RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT were all used to compare the 21.3.2 drivers with the 21.4.1 drivers. In their testing, idle power draw dropped roughly 70% for all of the Navi 21 based cards which are the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT, but stayed the same for the Navi 22 based RX 6700 XT which was already low, to begin with. The Navi 22 based RX 6700 XT didn't see much of an improvement as it was already more power-efficient than the Navi 21 based cards.
Alongside the noticeable improvement in idle power draw, media playback also saw a significant drop for Navi 22 based cards. The media playback power consumption went from 50W down to 35W. The power draw drop is a welcome change for Radeon users but still isn't enough to match NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series cards. The RTX 3070 only draws 18 W, while the RTX 3080 only draws 27 W in media playback. The Navi 22 GPU has improved on the power efficiency shortcomings seen on the Navi 21 GPU and didn't see many improvements in power consumption with its all great power efficiency.
AMD likely didn't advertise this new power efficiency improvement with the 21.1.4 on the Navi 21 based RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT because it still isn't as good as what is seen on its NVIDIA GeForce counterparts. Nevertheless, lower power draw is always a welcome change and hopefully, AMD can continue to decrease the power draw of Navi 21 based models.