If you're the glass half empty type, AMD's penchant for releasing hotfixes in between major driver releases must drive you bonkers. 'Get it right the first time,' is what you're probably thinking. For those of you who sip from a glass half full, these hotfixes help address annoying issues without having to wait a month for the next full-blown driver update. With that in mind, you'll be either to be ticked to know or thrilled to find out that AMD just dropped its Catalyst 11.b hotfix for Windows 7 and XP.
AMD today launched its second set of Catalyst display drivers in a little less than two weeks. The newly released Catalyst 11.5 driver suite replaces the 11.4 suite as the most up-to-date drivers and, like before, applies to Radeon HD 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 series graphics cards, and Radeon 3000 and 4000 series chipsets. So what does the latest update bring to the table that wasn't served with 11.4?
AMD sent out a press release detailing its upcoming Catalyst Hotfix 11.a drivers, which the company promises will bring increased performance and "a slew of new features." As it pertains to the new Radeon HD 6900 and 6800 series of cards, some of the highlights include:
3DMark Vantage: 7 percent improvement
3DMark05: 3 percent improvement
Call of Duty: Black Ops: 20 percent improvement at 4xMSAA, up to 35 percent at 8xMSAA
Batman Arkham Aslyum: 4 percent improvement
Metro 2033: 28 percent improvement at 4xMSAA
AMD says the hotfix also provides some new tessellation controls with the goal of giving users full control over the tessellation levels used in applications.
According to HardOCP, the new drivers will be publicly available on January 26th.
It doesn't matter what videocard you own, chances are there are updated drivers available for download. AMD on Friday released its Catalyst 10.10 driver package, and now Nvidia has just dropped its GeForce 260.99 WHQL drivers into the wild.
New to version 260.99 are Express (one-click) and Custom (customized) installation routines. Those who choose the Custom option can decide whether or not to have Nvidia first remove older drivers prior to installing the new ones (clean install), as well as what driver components you want included (PhysX or 3D Vision).
The latest drivers support the GeForce GTS 450 and GT 430 GPUs and fix a handful of issues across several operating systems.
TIE Fighter is the single greatest game ever created; that fact is undeniable, so let’s not even bother trying to address it in a flurry of comments to this post. Case closed.
The problem? This is 2010. TIE Fighter came out in 1994. We’ve seen great changes in the computing industry within that sixteen-year gap: The growth of the multi-core platform. The death of the space-sim genre. And the uber-death of those strange contraptions called, “joysticks,” which one would use in said space games to fly about and rip things up with lasers or what-have-you.
Do I plan to go out and purchase a joystick just to play a sixteen-year old title? Or, for that matter, any game in the space-sim (or racing!) genre that requires such a device? No. That would require effort and money. And why should you invest those in a retail product when applications like PPJoy can give you exactly what you need to play such titles using the very devices that already sit at your fingertips!
It’s hard to maintain any kind of neutrality when writing about Valve’s Steam service. Indeed, it’s hard to write anything about Steam without adopting a grin the size of a cartoon character and lavishing compliments on the service faster than needles firing out of a medic’s syringe gun.
The recent partnership between AMD and Valve that put an easy-to-access, “download new video drivers here please” tool within the game-drenched packet manager has been an unexpected-yet-delightful addition to the service. And I’ve said it before: It’s about time.
However, it's also time for hardware manufacturers to step up to the challenge of releasing clean, comprehensive drivers for their full product lines--legacy hardware included. More importantly, Valve needs to take its little "AMD experiment" as more than just fun dabbling. As gamers and enthusiasts, we're way overdue to see someone rise to the occasion to deliver a one-stop shop for zero-hour driver updates that gamers of all backgrounds deserve to have.
And yes, if you say, "What about Windows Update," I'm going to throw up.
AMD has made available its ATI Catalyst 10.9 software suite, which you can download directly from AMD or access via your Steam account.
There are only a handful of performance improvements in the latest release, including double digit gains in Stalker: Call of Pripyat benchmark for HD 5700 and HD 5800 graphics cards owners, and single digit performance gains in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena for HD 4800, HD 5700, and HD 5800 owners.
Some new profiles have been added and updated (Aliens Vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, F1 2010, Kane & Lynch 2), as well as a handful of resolved issues for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
Driver updates through Steam? Brilliant! AMD agrees and has now begun offering Catalyst graphics drivers through the Steam platform, an idea we're shocked no one thought of before.
"Steam gamers will never again have to worry about finding the most recent ATI Catalyst graphics driver," AMD said in a statement. "PC gamers can now detect and install the latest ATI Catalyst driver for their ATI Radeon graphics card directly from with Steam! Gamers using ATI graphics will not only be kept posted on the latest available drivers for their hardware, but with every update they'll know that they're getting the overall best possible gaming experience AMD and Valve can deliver."
AMD says the first ATI Catalyst update to made available via Steam will be ATI Catalyst 10.9
The Catalyst 10.7 drivers for graphics cards isn't the only piece of software AMD released this week. The chip maker also announced its OpenGL ES 2.0 driver, the first driver for desktops to support WebGL, which is designed to bring plug-in free 3D graphics to the Internet.
"AMD is a steadfast supporter of industry standards, including those that unlock the power of GPU acceleration," said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. "At AMD, we see the future of computing as being intensely visual, requiring a variety of rich media 2D and 3D applications. With functionality like the OpenGL ES 2.0 driver and technology breakthroughs made possible by AMD Fusion APUs, we aim to deliver the ideal development platform for immersive experiences both online and natively on virtually any PC form factor."
In addition to porting 3D to the Web, AMD's new driver also makes it possible for software developers to use desktop PCs and workstations powered by AMD graphics when creating apps based on OpenGL ES 2.0 for smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices, AMD said.
Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox), and Opera (Opera Software) are all contributors of the WebGL Working Group.
Astute readers might remember that we already posted an announcement about Nvidia's 258.96 drivers a week ago, but apparently the only ones that weren't labled as 'beta' were those for the GTX 460 and above.
That's no longer the case, and now anyone with a GeForce videocard has access to WHQL-certified drivers from Nvidia. The release notes remain unchanged from last week, and the latest drivers still don't support Surround Gaming with 3-way SLI setups. In addition, the Graph tab on the Adjust Desktop Color Settings page is also not available.
The drivers do, however, resolve a number of issues in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 for both single- and multi-card setups. For a full list of changes, see the release notes here (PDF).