We test the latest Beta drivers to see who is the single-GPU champ
Earlier this year both AMD and Nvidia released all-new 28nm GPUs, resulting in AMD taking the single-GPU performance crown momentarily with its HD 7970 before Nvidia swiped it away a few months later with its GeForce GTX 680. It’s been awhile since we’ve even thought about either of these cards as we’ve been busy testing their binned counterparts for most of the year, but this past week AMD released a new Beta driver that it claims provides "significant" performance improvements for its already-potent HD 7000 series cards. Just one day later Nvidia pounced, releasing its own Beta driver which also claimed to boost performance in a wide variety of popular titles. This happens all the time; as soon as one manufacturer holds an advantage the other strikes back in order to help drag the performance crown back to its own camp, typically via an overclocked card, improved drivers, or both.
A new Catalyst software suite, version 12.6, is available from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for Radeon and FireStream graphics card owners. The new driver packages, which play nice with Windows XP on up to Windows 7, offer up additional Dual Graphics Technology profiles for a handful of DirectX 9 games, and also stomp out a series of bugs that are mostly applicable to Windows 7.
The driver team at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are no longer under pressure to churn out Catalyst driver suites month after month, and will instead drop new updates on gamers "when it makes sense," the Sunnyvale chip designer announced in a blog post today. AMD says its goal is to make sure Catalyst releases provide a "substantial benefit" to gamers, and that means moving away from a rapid release schedule.
If you're still gaming on a Radeon HD-4000 series graphics card (or older) your GPU isn’t about to self-destruct, but it will fall out of mainstream support in the very near future. AMD announced today that Catalyst 12.6 will mark the end of the road for anything prior to the HD-5000 series, or to put it simply, anything that isn’t DirectX-11 compliant.
AMD has made available a new version of its Catalyst driver suite that now fully supports the Radeon HD 7900, 7800, and 7700 series of graphics cards. Outside of boosting support for the latest graphics cards, Catalyst 12.3 is a fairly light update with no mention of any performance improvements, though it does fix a handful of issues some gamers have been experiencing in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
The software geeks at AMD have finally stripped the 'Preview' tag from their Catalyst 12.2 driver packages, which are now available to download and install. A handful of new features highlight the new driver release, starting with support for AMD's recently released Radeon HD 7900 and 7700 Series graphics, albeit 'only' in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Those of you still kicking it old school with Windows XP will have to wait until Catalyst 12.4 is available to support those graphics cards.
If you want to get a jump start on upgrading the drivers for your AMD Radeon videocard, you can head over to AMD and grab the Catalyst 12.2 pre-certified drivers today. AMD says these drivers are identical to the upcoming certified release, just without Microsoft's official blessing, which will come later this month or in early March. In other words, this isn't beta code, the drivers just haven't gone through the certification process yet.
From preview to stable, AMD put the finishing touches on its Catalyst 12.1 driver package and has made it available as a stable download. Curiously missing in the release notes is implicit support for AMD's new Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, or any of the other unreleased 7000 Series, and the same applies to the 12.2 preview release, which also just became available.
Is anyone still playing Rage anymore? It's a fun game overall, albeit a short excursion into a bug-ridden landscape that desperately needs to be fleshed out. It's also been eclipsed by newer titles, like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Batman: Arkham City, and other recent titles. But hey, if you're still rocking Rage and own an AMD Radeon HD graphics card, there's a new preview driver available that's supposed to further smooth out game play.
AMD this week rolled out a couple of new Catalyst driver packages to play with, one of them a finished build (Catalyst 11.12 WHQL) and the other a preview driver with support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with CrossFireX configurations and a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a (Catalyst 12.1). Release notes highlights after the break.