ATI releases Catalyst 6.6 drivers

Close on NVIDIA's tail, ATI has released its latest Catalyst 6.6 graphics drivers. The new 6.6 release adds a couple of media-friendly features, including support for ATI's new Theater 650 Pro TV tuner chip. ATI has also included an extension that brings Avivo hardware-accelerated video conversion support to Windows XP Media Center Edition.

As usual, ATI claims the new drivers enhance performance in a number of games. Performance has apparently been improved in Far Cry, F.E.A.R., and the original Splinter Cell. Far Cry performance is claimed to increase by up to 18.3% with anisotropic filtering enabled, while F.E.A.R. frame rates reportedly climb by as much as 8.5% with Radeon X1800 and X1900 graphics cards. F.E.A.R. is said to see gains of up to 14% with dual-GPU X1800 or X1900 CrossFire setups, as well.

Bug fixes are also on the menu for Age of Empires 3, Quake 4, and City of Heroes, among other applications. A complete list of enhancements and tweaks can be seen in the driver release notes, which are available here. Interestingly, ATI has discontinued support for older Radeon 7000, 7200, 7500, 8500, 9000, 9200, and 9250 graphics cards with the new drivers. Users of those cards will have to stick with last month's Catalyst 6.5 release.

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