Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is out to kick some ass this holiday shopping season by socking the competition with a one-two combo that consists of a new performance-enhanced Catalyst driver package (version 12.11) and some really sweet game bundles. As part of the Never Settle Game Bundle, you can receive up to three games for free, plus get a coupon for 20 percent off Medal of Honor Warfighter with the purchase of select graphics cards. Ready for the best part?
The Never Settle deal isn't tied to any specific GPU partner. That means you can head to Newegg or Amazon and buy any AMD card specified to qualify for the promotion to a just one specific vendor, there are several to choose from. In addition to the 20 percent voucher, games up for grabs include Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs, all of which are free with the purchase of an AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series graphics card. That's a killer deal considering you can purchase a Radeon HD 7970 for as little as $390 street, or even less if you're willing to jump through mail-in-rebate hoops.
For budget builders, purchasing a Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition (around $120 street) qualifies for a free copy of Far Cry 3 plus 20 percent off Medal of Honor Warfighter, the latter of which applies to each tier in the Never Settle series. Here's a look at all of them:
This is one of the best promotions we've seen from AMD, both in terms of value and flexibility. On top of it all, AMD claims its Catalyst 12.11 release adds icing to the cake by delivering up to 15 percent higher framerates in titles like Battlefield 3, Dirt Showdown, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Sleeping Dogs, and more. After putting the new driver through its paces, we're not quite as excited as AMD is over the performance bump, though we did record slightly higher framerates in several titles. This is how things shook out in our lab:
The test bed we used consisted of an AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor clocked at 3.33GHz, Asus P9X79 motherboard, 16GB DDR3-1600 RAM, AX1200 Crosair power supply, and Windows Ultimate 64-bit. All games were run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA and all settings maxed out, except for the 3DMark tests. For BF3, we ran it in the Operation Swordbreaker map, using FRAPS. The gains we saw are nothing to write home about, but hey, we'll take the incremental performance bump at no cost.
As for the free titles, AMD's Terms and Conditions specify that they will come in the form of Game Keys redeemable on Steam.