How about that? Within hours of the new Nvidia ForceWare release, AMD has announced that it, too, has let loose new graphics drivers. The new AMD Catalyst 8.10 release brings performance improvements, bug fixes, and a couple of new control panel features.
Starting with the speed boosts, AMD says users of Radeon HD 4000- and Radeon HD 3800-series cards can look forward to frame-rate increases of up to 15% in Unreal Tournament 3. Those using the same cards in CrossFire multi-GPU configurations may also see a 2-5% improvement in Prey.
More interestingly, the Catalyst 8.10 release adds a fan speed control setting in the Overdrive tab of the Catalyst Control Center for Radeon HD 4000-series cards. AMD says the feature will give users "greater control and flexibility when over-clocking their graphics accelerator," but we suspect those who like their PCs quiet will find it interesting, too. Considering how hot the Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 already run, though, we probably wouldn't recommend reducing fan speeds on those cards.
In addition to fan speed control, the drivers add an option to force component video detection that "enables to users to force certain Component Video modes to be shown in the Catalyst Control Center Displays Manager." The official release notes (PDF) also mention bug fixes pertaining to City of Villains, Blu-ray movie playback, HDMI-related crashes during DVD playback, and a few other problems.
You'll find 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of the new drivers for both Windows XP and Windows Vista on AMD's Game website. Linux users can seek out their own Catalyst 8.10 release on the old AMD drivers page, although AMD hasn't yet published release notes for those drivers.