ATI releases Catalyst 6.5, Vista Beta 2 drivers

ATI has released new Catalyst 6.5 drivers for its desktop Radeon graphics cards. The new drivers claim to offer performance gains of up to 23% in Unreal Tournament 2004 and Splinter Cell with Radeon X1300 and X1600 CrossFire configurations. In addition, ATI has also back-ported Adaptive Anti-Aliasing functionality to all cards from the Radeon 9500 up. Previously only available to Radeon X1000-series cards, adaptive AA smoothes transparent textures like fences, grills, and tree leaves. NVIDIA offers a similar feature dubbed transparency AA, but it is only supported in GeForce 7-series graphics cards.

Along with performance improvements and adaptive AA, bug fixes are also on the menu for the new Catalyst 6.5 release. Issues have been resolved for 3DMark 2005, Aquamark 3, Doom 3, and Far Cry, as well as the Catalyst Control Center, TV input and output functionality. A more detailed list of fixes and known issues is available in the release notes.

In addition to its new Catalyst drivers for Windows XP, ATI has also released a Catalyst Beta 2 driver for Windows Vista. The driver coincides with the Beta 2 release of the upcoming OS, and offers support for ATI's entire line of DirectX 9-compatible graphics, multimedia, and chipset hardware. Windows Vista testers can download the Beta 2 driver here.

Update: ATI has also reworked the "Chuck patch" for the new Catalyst 6.5 drivers. The Chuck patch allows users to enable both high dynamic range lighting and antialiasing with Radeon X1000-series graphics cards in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. The download page for the Chuck patch still mentions Beta 6.3 Catalysts, but ATI assures us that the patch has been updated to take advantage of the Catalyst 6.5 release.

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