Windows 7 is already feeling the love from both graphics camps. Earlier this month, Nvidia released a specialized Forceware driver for the beta OS along with the promise of regular updates, and now AMD has followed suit with its new ATI Catalyst 9.3 driver this week. However, the new Catalyst driver rolls both Windows 7 and Vista support into a single download, allowing the company to lay claim as offering the "first unified driver installation package to incorporate Windows 7 support." AMD says future Catalyst releases will also be unified for both the current and upcoming Windows OSes.
"AMD's expertise in visual computing shines through in the combined experience of Windows 7 and ATI Radeon graphics," said Anantha Kancherla , group manager responsible for Windows graphics, Microsoft. "With today's release of a Windows 7 unified driver, AMD once again demonstrates its ability to deliver perfromance and cutting-edge driver support."
Along with full WDDM 1.1 compliance under Windows 7, AMD says Catalyst 9.3 boosts performance in several games where framerates are CPU limited. AMD only offered one example, saying Lost Planet: Colonies will see up to 20 percent better framerates on 4800 series videocards, and up to 50 percent on 4600, 4500, and 4300 series.
Catalyst 9.3 squashes a number of bugs in Vista and XP, including video combing effects no longer being visible during movie playback while fast forwarding or rewinding (Vista), Avivo video color settings being retained after resume from Sleep/Hibernate (Vista), rotation now works if Aero mode is turned off (Vista), faster Alt-Tab toggling between 3D games to the desktop (XP), and a handful of other fixes.
And for you Folding@Home fans, Catalyst 9.3 purportedly crunches through WUs better, too.