AMD the other day announced the availability of its ATI Catalyst Software Suite 9.12, though there doesn't appear to be a whole lot that's new in the updated driver package.
Catalyst 9.12 brings full support for DirectCompute 10.1 for the Radeon HD 4800 and 4700 series in both single card and CrossFireX configurations. The new driver package also ushers in OpenGL 3.2 extension support for the Radeon HD 5800 series and on down to the 2000 series.
Other than that, there's a couple of performance boosts, including up to a 9 percent gain in 3DMark Vantage benchmarking, and as much as a 6 percent gain in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Call of Pripyat in single card configurations.
Catalyst 9.12 resolves several niggling issues in Windows 7, including fixing a corruption issues with some DX9 apps when AA 8X is enabled, and playing back Blu-ray content on some systems with a 120Hz display no longer results in a black screen.
Apple doesn't exactly have the greatest track record on mouse designs, and while you probably weren't going to switch platforms just for a "magic mouse" anyway, thanks to a clever new hack, you won't have to. The team over at uneasysilence.com has found a way to extract both the 32 bit, and 64 bit drivers by using WinRar on the latest Apple Bluetooth update and so far users are reporting no issues. The Apple driver, oddly enough, seems to contain all the components you will need to use the mouse on any Microsoft based machine from Windows XP all the way to Windows 7.
At $70 the magic mouse isn't as hideously overpriced as most Apple hardware, and debatably, it might actually be a decent travel mouse given the profile. Based on how easily the drivers were discovered, it also makes you wonder if Apple had planned Windows support for this mouse all along.
Has anyone tried out the magic mouse or the driver hack? Let us know what you think after the jump.
ATI on Tuesday released its Catalyst software suite, version 9.11, for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The latest release appears to put a heavy focus on squashing bugs as opposed to injecting performance enhancements to specific gaming titles.
New features include GPU acceleration of H.264 video content using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta, and high quality downscaling for video transcoding MSE. Everything else in the release notes is geared towards resolving issues for various OSes. Some of these include:
Users can now enable and disable CrossFire when three displays are configured in extended mode (all OSes)
Catalyst Control Center no longer stops responding when setting Eyefinity SLS mode for extended HDMI display (all OSes)
Resolved an issue where high bit rate audio from Blu-ray discs might not output when using PowerDVD 10 (Windows 7)
Wolfenstein no longer stops responding when running a 2560x1600 resolution (Windows 7)
No more green lines at the bottom of the screen when playing some interlaced content (Vista)
PowerDVD no longer intermittently terminates when playing HD MPEG2 content in extended/clone mode (Vista)
Transcoding of AC3 files no longer shows corruption in transcoded files (XP)
There are plenty of other bug fixes, as well as some lingering known issues, all of which you can view in the release notes here (PDF).
We're hoping for great things out of Nvidia's upcoming "Fermi" graphics chips, and we can only hope the leaked pics showcasing what the GPU can do turn out to be legit.
The pics come courtesy of Chinese website PCZilla and show a pair of human face renderings like nothing we've ever seen before, at least not on the desktop. There's so much detail the images could pass as real photos, but let's hope they're not.
There's also an image of a ray-traced demo that may not look as impressive at first glance, at least until taking in the various lighting sources and reflections, which requires a second and third look to fully appreciate.
Update: Source video found! Find if after the jump.
AMD's latest graphics drivers -- ATI Catalyst 9.10 -- are now available for download, and it appears that most of the attention was placed on squashing bugs.
On the performance side, AMD claims the latest release adds GPU acceleration for the Windows 7 Drag and Drop video converting application, and super anti-aliasing for the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series has been tossed into the mix as well. And that's it, at least according to the release notes.
Bug fixes are another story. Catalyst 9.10 resolves several issues, some of which include:
Video preview in Avivo Video - Basic Quality page no longer flickers while playing SD/HD Blu-ray titles
Switching profiles in Avivo Video - Basic Quality now works as it should
Ghostbusters game no longer flickers between desktop and game play when AA is set to 8X and game resolution set to 2560x1600 in under Windows 7
Combat Mission Shock Force no longer fails after a duration of game play (Vista)
Intermittent flashing no longer visible in Windows with ViewSonic VE150m displays (Vista)
No more corruption during Blu-ray DVD H.264/VC-1 content playback (XP)
For the full list of changes and bug fixes, reference the Release Notes here (PDF). Driver downloads here.
Now that Windows 7 has officially been released to manufacturing (RTM), expect to see third-party driver development kick into high gear, especially as the OS's October 22nd release date inches closer. AMD appears to be ready and has announced the release of the company's first WHQL-certified ATI Catalyst graphics drivers for the RTM.
AMD's Catalyst drivers are of the unified variety, meaning the same set works with both Windows 7 and Vista. With regards to Windows 7, AMD promises its drivers will offer stability and compatibility out of the gate, bring "full support for the visually stunning desktop environment of Windows 7," better gaming performance when compared to Vista, and full support for ATI FirePro professional graphics.
Nvidia this week released new WHQL videocard drivers, now in version 186.18. A handful of bugs have been squashed in this newest update, most of which relate to Windows 7. Some of the resolved issues include:
Resolves issue where PhysX option would be disabled by default in multi-GPU configurations (XP)
Resolves issue where the system would not resume from Standby mode when running a 9800 GX2 (Vista and Windows 7)
Changes made to program settings from the Nvidia Control Panel in 3D Settings are now preserved after closing and reopening when running a 9500 GS (Windows 7)
SLI focus display can now be switched using "Set SLI configuration" for GTX 260 owners (Windows 7)
Not a whole lot has been done to improve performance if you're upgrading from a previous 186.xx or 185.xx driver release. However, if you're upgrading from 182.xx, Nvidia claims double digit performance boosts in a number of titles, including up to 45 percent in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled, 30 percent better performance in Half-Life 2 engine games with tri- and quad-SLI enabled, and a 25 percent boost in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.
AMD/ATI this week released new Catalyst drivers, now in version 9.6. The new driver package sports a number of performance improvements, including:
Company of Heroes - up to 25 percent better performance with HD 4600 series
Crysis - up to 13 percent better performance in multi-GPU configurations
Crysis Warhead - up to 11 percent better performance in mutli-GPU configurations
World in Conflict - up to 30 percent better performance in settings that were previously CPU limited
In addition to goosing performance in a handful of titles, Catalyst 9.6 also squashes a boatload of bugs and resolves a ton of issues across all current Windows operating systems. Some of these include:
Opening Crossfire pages no longer causes Catalyst Control Center to stop responding (all Windows OSes)
Catalyst Control Center no longer appears interlaced when automatic deinterlacing is enabled (all Windows OSes)
On some configurations, video artifacts are no longer visible during playback of transcoded video files (Vista)
Team Fortress 2 some slowdowns no longer occur during gameplay (XP)
Catalyst Control Center no longer shows Crossfire as disabled (Windows 7)
For a full list of improvements (and there are many), refer to the release notes (PDF). Driver downloads available here.
Asus this week announced new beta drivers for several of its motherboards that "enable Asus motherboard users to run Windows 7 RC." By doing so, Asus claims its mobos are the world's first to support the newly released operating system.
"Asus' industry-leading Research & Development team has kept close pace with each new beta release of Windows 7, and has developed beta drivers that enable Asus motherboard users to try Windows 7 RC immediately," Asus wrote in a press release. "The drivers can be downloaded from the Asus Motherboard Support website (http://support.asus.com/)."
Asus notes the following models are now officially supported:
P6T Deluxe V2
P5Q PRO Turbo
P5Q SE PLUS
Updated drivers for the full range of P6T, P5Q, and M4 series boards will be coming soon, Asus says.
Back in February, we brought you an article called Give Windows a Clean Start, which explained all the details about how to properly perform a system-cleansing reformat, without losing your valuable data. It covered important steps like salvaging product keys, deactivating apps, prepping iTunes and making backups. The original article was written for desktop PCs, and although nearly all of the techniques also work for laptops, we thought a supplement about how to install laptop drivers on a fresh Windows install as called for.
Sure, almost all laptops come with recovery discs or recovery partions, so a full reformat is rarely absolutely necessary, but there are a number of reasons you might want to do it:
2. You want to reformat and upgrade or downgrade to Vista or XP.
3. You’ve managed to truly, thoroughly hose your laptop beyond all recognition, and you lost your restore disc.
If one of the above applies to you and you have a retail Windows install disc, then give your laptop a clean start!. First, check out the original article for advice about saving your data, then read on to learn what software you'll need to install after your reformat.