11.6 Catalysts usher in Steady Video, lock out Intel CPUs

As it does every month, AMD has released a new version of its Catalyst graphics drivers. Version 11.6 rolls in all the enhancements included in the Catalyst 11.5 hotfix and promises to improve the performance of Radeon HD 6800- and 6900-series graphics cards in DiRT 2, F1 2010, Tom Clancy's Hawx, Crysis Warhead, and the Unigine benchmark. Additional details are available in the release notes.

More interesting than the handful of promised FPS increases is the inclusion of Steady Video, a new technology designed to smooth out shaky-cam footage. Steady Video can be accessed through the driver control panel, and it'll even work with YouTube clips. However, only certain platforms are eligible. Llano-based A8, A6, and A4 APUs are ripe for Steady Video, as are upcoming Zacate-derived E-450 and E-300 chips. Curiously, though, the existing E-350 APU isn't on the list of supported devices, though that may just be an oversight.

Steady Video will also work with select Radeon graphics cards, and AMD's press release chooses its words on the subject carefully, saying SteadyVideo works on "AMD Radeon 6000 Series when used in combination with an AMD CPU." AMD isn't any more specific about CPU requirements, which appear to exclude Intel CPUs. The use of "CPU" rather than APU suggests that any old Athlon or Phenom will do. If that's the case, Steady Video likely doesn't require specific logic built into AMD CPUs that might be missing from Intel ones.

To be fair, Steady Video is a new addition to the Radeon arsenal. If it's being locked out of Intel platforms, AMD wouldn't be denying current 6000-series owners anything they were promised. The fact that AMD could be tying such a feature to one's choice of CPU is still troubling, though.

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