AMD Releases New Catalyst Drivers: New Features, Performance Improvements
4/27/2011 by: Theo Valich
Like a clockwork, AMD released a new set of Catalyst drivers for April 2011. Under the number 11.4, AMD is bringing improvements to the user interface as well as "traditional" performance upgrades.
Catalyst 11.4 supports Radeon cards from HD 2000 series (R600 architecture) all the way to contemporary graphics cards, as well as Radeon 3000 and 4000 series chipsets. The major changes that should immediately give you a reason to upgrade are new user interface for display management as well as performance enhancements in select titles.
According to the company, 11.4 brings improvements in Vision Engine Control Center and Catalyst Control Center (depends on you using a notebook or a desktop system), with new task-based Display Management, new Eyefinity setup panel and Catalyst Update Notification. The notification part was brought forward by nVidia with their Release 270 in a form of tray icon. Then again, we know that AMD is releasing drivers each month - still, some users will appreciate the notification.
Furthermore, AMD improved GPU Compute capabilities with new OpenCL Runtime. The new runtime includes zero-copy on APUs (i.e. no double copying between the CPU and the GPU portion of the die) and increased performance in PCI Express transfers between CPUs and discrete GPUs.
As far as performance enhancements go, the list is as follows. Do not that the company listed performance increases for the actual generation hardware, most notably AMD Radeon HD 6800 and 6900 Series:
- Call of Duty Black Ops – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single GPU configurations.
- Battleforge – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Batman Arkham Asylum – gains of up to 20% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Aliens vs. Predator – gains of up to 8% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Civilization 5 – gains of up to 15% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Far Cry 2 – gains of up to 6% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Just Cause 2 – gains of up to 9% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
- Lost Planet 2 – gains of up to 10% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
If you own supported AMD hardware, you'd be hard pressed not to upgrade your system with the new software soup from the team formerly lead by my friend Terry "Catalyst" Makedon.
AMD, Advanced Micro Devices, Catalyst, Catalyst 11.4, CAP, Catalyst Application Profile, Eyefinity, Display Management, OpenCL, GPU, GPGPU, GPU Computing, APU, PCIe, PCIe transfer, Call of Duty, Battleforge, Batman, Arkham Asylum, Aliens vs. Predator, AvP, Civilization 5, Far Cry 2, Just Cause 2, Lost Planet 2, Terry Makedon
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