Catalyst 13.8 Beta adds user selectable delay to help smooth framerates
AMD announced on Twitter a few weeks ago it would be releasing a new driver on July 31st that would help smooth out micro-stutter its cards were experiencing in multi-GPU configurations. Well, yesterday was July 31st, so we asked AMD if the driver was still in the works, and they told us that it was but it was just one day late due to last minute Q/A. As of today, August 1st, the new Catalyst 13.8 Beta driver is now available for download.
The biggest change is the new driver includes a user selectable frame pacing option in the Catalyst Control Center, so you can turn it on or off, though it will be set to “on” by default. The frame pacing delay is compatible with DX10 and DX11 games for one display up to 2560x1600, and users are able to set the frame pacing option on a per-app basis. The company said a future driver will add DX9 support as well as the ability to run it on 4K monitors and Eyefinity setups. The frame pacing “fix” is supported by all games automatically as long as they fit the above specifications, and won’t need a specific Catalyst profile to work properly.
AMD's given users a Frame Pacing option for CrossfireX setups in its newest Catalyst Driver.
AMD told us that gamers who need instant responsiveness or twitchiness will probably want to disable to new software-based delay, but that all other users running multi-GPU configurations will see an immediate benefit from the new pacing.
For those who are unfamiliar with the controversy, frame pacing is the amount of time between each frame being shown on screen. If the frames are delivered in a fluctuating interval the user experiences what is known as micro stutter, which makes games feel choppy even though the overall framerate can still be very high. AMD’s solution to this problem is to add latency between some frames to smooth out the amount of time each frame is delivered so that it’s set to a specific interval.
We’ve taken a look at the new driver and can see more uniformity and less fluctuation in the amount of time it takes for each frame to be delivered. We'll be doing more testing on the driver, but in the interim here are a few FRAPS graphs showing the difference in frame pacing between Catalyst 13.6 Beta 2 and Catalyst 13.8 Beta in Heaven 4.0, Tomb Raider, and Metro Last Light. We compared the two beta drivers using a reference AMD Radeon HD 7990 video card.