Catalyst 8.6 drivers boost performance


— 2:26 PM on June 18, 2008

As it does every month, AMD has released a new set of Catalyst drivers for its Radeon graphics cards. This latest Catalyst 8.6 release brings a plethora of new features, performance improvements and bug fixes.

Among those new features, Radeon HD users will find support for custom adaptive anti-aliasing filters in OpenGL games, and users of Radeon HD 3850, 3870, and 3870 X2 cards will find support for three- and four-GPU CrossFire modes in OpenGL titles. In addition, AMD has modified its Catalyst driver installer so users no longer have to reboot after a driver update. We would guess this particular feature only works in Windows Vista, because of Microsoft's revamped driver model, but AMD doesn't mention any operating system restrictions.

Moving on to the meat of the driver release, AMD certainly isn't shy about boasting improved performance. The company claims the following gains:

  • 3DMark Vantage: Performance increases between 10% to 15% across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series of products, with larger performance gains in specific cases.
  • Call of Duty 4: Performance increases across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series of products, with performance gains as large as 35% in specific maps.
  • Call of Juarez DX10: Performance increases between 2% and 9% across all ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series of products
  • Company of Heroes (DX10 version): Performance increases between 4% and 10% across the ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series of products.
  • Lost Planet (DX10 version): Performance increases of 1 or 2 frames per second across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series products and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series of products, resulting in as much as a 20% performance increase.
  • Lost Planet (DX9 version): Performance increases between 2% and 20% across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series or products
  • Prey (OpenGL): Performance increases between 3% and 5% s across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series or products
  • Quake 4 (OpenGL): Performance increases up to 8% across the ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series or products
  • On top of these, AMD says it has fixed bugs in BioShock, Call of Duty 4, Crysis, Frontlines: Fuel of War, Guitar Hero III, Lost Planet, Sins of a Solar Empire, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and Unreal Tournament 3. You can check the official release notes (PDF) for a detailed look at bug fixes and new functionality. The drivers themselves are available from AMD's Game! website, as always.

    Oh, and there's a Catalyst 8.6 driver release available for Linux, too. That particular release is available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and it "introduces support for UYVY and YUY2 pixel format conversion to RGBA output for video playback," along with resolving issues in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Maya 2008, and Quake III: Arena.

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