After new beta Catalysts, AMD to slow driver release cycle

— 5:37 PM on May 31, 2012

There's a new set of graphics drivers out for Radeon users. The Catalyst 12.6 Beta Driver is available here, and it adds a handful of bug fixes (mostly related to multi-GPU and multi-display configs), support for Dual Graphics configurations with Trinity APUs, and Dual Graphics profiles for several games (among them: Diablo 3, Skyrim, and StarCraft 2).

More notably, AMD has used this opportunity to announce a major change to its driver update cycle. Turns out the company will stop serving up new Catalyst graphics drivers every month; instead, updates will come out only if they deliver "a substantial benefit to . . . end users." Here's the full text of the announcement, as posted by AMD:

With the release of the AMD Catalyst™ 12.6 Beta driver (“Catalyst”), AMD would also like to announce that we are moving away from our Monthly Catalyst release plan. Our goal is to ensure that every Catalyst release delivers a substantial benefit to our end users; as we have today with the release of the Catalyst 12.6a Beta. We will still continue with the Catalyst naming convention; Catalyst: Year.Month. You just won’t see a new driver every single month. We are confident that this will only benefit the end user; you’ll only need to upgrade to a new Catalyst driver, when it makes sense.

Catalyst drivers have been coming out every month like clockwork since before AMD acquired ATI in 2006, so this signals a big change of direction for the company. I suppose it might be for the best, though. Earlier this year, we saw the firm virtually pelt users with new drivers. Updates came out several times a month, features showed up in "preview" drivers but were absent from subsequent WHQL-certified updates, and things were generally rather muddled.

Nvidia has managed to stay on top of new game releases with a much slower update schedule, so perhaps AMD will follow along the same path. And perhaps users will be better off for it. I hope this doesn't mean we'll have to wait longer for bug fixes and important additions, though.

Like what we're doing? Pay what you want to support TR and get nifty extra features.
Top contributors
1. BIF - $340 2. Ryu Connor - $250 3. mbutrovich - $250
4. YetAnotherGeek2 - $200 5. End User - $150 6. Captain Ned - $100
7. Anonymous Gerbil - $100 8. Bill Door - $100 9. ericfulmer - $100
10. dkanter - $100
Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options

This discussion is now closed.