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DaVinci Resolve 17 Fixes Major AMD Intel Graphics Cards Issue

While GPUs were affected in beta, Blackmagic Design says the driver issues are fixed in the official release.

After several months in beta, DaVinci Resolve 17 is finally out, adding many new features and fixing a significant issue for users with certain AMD and Intel graphics cards (GPU). 

GPU Compatibility Issues

Debuting in public beta back in November, DaVinci Resolve 17 included over 100 new features and twice as many improvements. While it was in beta until recently, the Blackmagic Design team tweaked the software across several major updates. For DaVinci Resolve 17 users with AMD GPUs, however, the software was unresponsive, extremely sluggish to open, and, ultimately, a hassle to use.

“We discovered this specific issue was for AMD and Intel GPUs on Windows, and for a number of reasons, it presented itself more on some generations of GPUs with specific GPU drivers. So, it’s not accurate to point just to one source of the issue,” wrote Blackmagic Design (over email) in response to AMD GPU compatibility issues with DaVinci Resolve 17 Beta. “Ultimately, the engineers resolved the issues to improve the experience for customers.”

AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT
The Radeon RX 6800 XT is part of AMD’s latest line of high-end GPUs. On the Blackmagic Forum, owners of this GPU were experiencing issues with DaVinci Resolve 17 Beta. Image via Jack Skeens.

After trying DaVinci Resolve Studio 17 Beta in January—Blackmagic Design provided a code for the Studio version of the software—I immediately noticed the software felt sluggish. Opening the software took much longer than usual, and it could take five or ten minutes to load the timeline once the software finally opened. Even switching between different pages could take minutes, which would cause the timeline to slowly load again. Plus, playback was choppy, frequently dropping frames or stopping abruptly. DaVinci Resolve Studio 17 Beta was unusable for me and others with AMD GPUs.

Blackmagic Design Responds

In a thread about playback issues with AMD’s RX 6800 GPU in DaVinci Resolve 17 Beta, Peter Chamberlain—a DaVinci Resolve Product Manager at Blackmagic Design—wrote, “We are looking into this with AMD,” in response to a user. Also, in an earlier post about DaVinci Resolve 17 Beta being slow and not using certain AMD GPUs, Chamberlain said the issue was “GPU driver related.”

GPU drivers are software for graphics cards that control how it interacts with other components and software on the computer. When it comes to GPU drivers, AMD’s Radeon Adrenalin drivers are notoriously unreliable. Because of the GPU drivers, some AMD GPUs weren’t being used by the software, which makes the software hard to work with. Without a functioning GPU, the paid, Studio version of DaVinci Resolve loses some of its best features, making it a significant issue for users.

Side Note: If you’re interested in learning how to color grade in DaVinci Resolve, check out our recent guide for beginners.

DaVinci Resolve Studio users with powerful GPUs can really unlock the full potential of the software via hardware acceleration, leveraging the thousands of cores in a GPU to render video for exporting, apply workload-heavy visual effects to clips, and decode any file format for smooth, seamless playback. Hardware-acceleration is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, reasons to spend $300 on DaVinci Resolve 17 Studio. So, when a GPU isn’t working with DaVinci Resolve Studio, it’s like having a car with no engine—useless.

The Fix—For Now

With the recent full release of DaVinci Resolve Studio 17, however, the issue has been fixed. After downloading the release and opening the software earlier this week, everything was working normally, and I had no issues with playback or slow loading times. When playing the timeline, I could see the Video Codec 0 value register up to 40% usage, meaning the GPU was decoding the video file as intended.

Task Manager
The Video Codec 0 value in the Task Manager shows usage, proving that the GPU is being used by DaVinci Resolve 17.

While searching the forum for verification, users posted that the software was working with their AMD GPUs. Although I got the software to work with a GPU driver released back in late January, one user reported that DaVinci Resolve 17 worked for him after updating his drivers. So, if you’re still having issues, go update right now to AMD’s latest 21.2.3 GPU driver

These issues have affected AMD GPU products across the board, with owners of Radeon RX 500, 5000, and 6000-series GPUs experiencing similar issues. Even Intel’s brand-new Iris XE GPUs was having trouble with DaVinci Resolve 17 Beta. With so many different GPUs in AMD’s lineup and frequent driver updates, it’s nearly impossible to issue an update that works as a panacea, but it seems that this issue is fixed for now. 

What’s Next for Blackmagic Design

I applaud Blackmagic Design for ironing out this AMD GPU issue upon release, but I’m wary that a future GPU driver could cause a problem yet again. As an owner of two AMD GPUs, it’s frustrating how often there are driver issues, especially since it can render an expensive piece of software useless.

While AMD GPUs offer tremendous value for the money, the hassle that comes with owning one far outweighs the financial benefits. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s this—buy a NVIDIA GPU. They’re hard to find right now because of the pandemic and scalpers, but they offer better performance for video editing on DaVinci Resolve 17 and cause fewer headaches.

For more Blackmagic tips and advice, check out these articles:

Cover image via Jack Skeens.

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