Final Catalyst 10.3 drivers now available

Barely a week after the public preview release, AMD has put up a final, Microsoft-certified version of its Catalyst 10.3 drivers for Radeon graphics cards. As one would expect, today's release can be grabbed from AMD's Game website in Windows 7, Vista, and XP flavors for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

We already talked a little bit about some of the tweaks in these drivers, such as new multi-display functionality and support for Mobility Radeon HD mobile GPUs. However, AMD now tells us users with Radeon HD 5000- and 4800-series graphics cards can also expect performance improvements in a plethora of current and older games.

The list includes Aliens vs. Predator, Call of Duty: World at War, Company of Heroes, Crysis, Crysis Warhead, Devil May Cry 4, DiRT 2, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat benchmark, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., the Unigine Tropics benchmark, World in Conflict, and Wolfenstein.

AMD quotes maximum frame rate increases of about 2-6% in those games, although there's a handful of outliers. For example, users could see improvements of as much as 10% in Devil May Cry 4, 15% in Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., and 30% in DiRT 2. Do keep in mind that driver release notes tend to list performance speedups obtained in best-case scenarios—so don't go in expecting meaty frame rate hikes across the board.

Moving on to new functionality, the new drivers update the Catalyst Control Center with tweaks for Eyefinity users: display bezel compensation, per-display color adjustments, the ability to set multiple Eyefinity display groups, and "improved display configuration switching." AMD has also laid the groundwork for stereoscopic 3D support, updating its Direct3D driver to enable "3rd party middleware vendors such as DDD and iZ3D to output stereo L/R images at 120 Hz (60 Hz per eye)."

Last, but not least, AMD dropped us a line yesterday to say it had released updated CrossFire profiles for Alien vs. Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Dark Void, the Unigine Heaven demo, Just Cause 2, and Singularity. The new profiles are available here from Rage3D, and if we're not mistaken, they should work with both this release and the 10.3 preview. (AMD introduced modular CrossFire profiles in the 10.2 Catalysts.)

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