I mostly play older games on my RX480 like SR2, SR3, GTA4, Oblivion and Skyrim. Specifically i was playing SR2 when i noticed that as soon as i got in game the FPS went from 60 to 24 in a matter of seconds, then went outside my crib and the performance literally drop to 3-5 FPS until it just sort of freeze, there were artifacts and screen flicker too, but I could still hit "esc" key and i was able to quit the game. I tried like 5 times in a row and it just keep happening the same thing. I remember playing it fine several months ago, i was using one driver from from 2017, not sure exactly which one, but i did upgrade to the most recent new ones that was 20.4.2.
So i decided to try just any random driver from 2018 and i choose version 18.10.1 and all of a sudden SR2 fps became much better and i was able to hit anywhere from 40-60 fps. Yes, i know SR2 is known to be a VERY BAD unoptimized port but with newer drivers the game is just even WORST.
I don't know what exactly is going on, but GTA4, Oblivion and SR3 also seem to be affected with Newer 20.4.2 drivers but not as bad as SR2. Just by going back to 18.10.1 my games play much better and stable for now.
I tried the RX480 with the same 20.4.2 drivers on my Intel system, and the issue persisted even on this second rig. Then going back to 18.10.1 the issue went away too.
Not sure if AMD will do something about it, but there is something horrible going on with modern drivers on RX480 in several older open world titles. My take is they Intentionally or unintentionally borked some DX9 titles performance. The drawback to using older drivers for playing these games is that i lost emulation performance, because 18.10.1 does not support Vulkan 1.2 which is used heavily by modern emulators such as Dolphin, Yuzu and Cemu.
I'm using Win10 Pro 1809, 8GB of DDR3 at 1333MHz, FX 8320E, XFX REF RX480 8GB with motherboard Gibabyte GA-970A-DS3P on my full AMD System.
On my Intel System i'm using Win10 Pro 1809, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz, I5 6500 with a ASUS H110M-A motherboard.
AMD, could you please fix those games performance with RX480?