New Catalyst drivers improve security, performance

When AMD announced plans to slow down its driver release cadence in late May, I didn’t expect to see the company release not one, but two new Catalyst drivers less than a month later. Oh well; at least Radeon users shouldn’t feel neglected. They can now grab final Catalyst 12.6 drivers, which have Windows Hardware Quality Labs approval, as well as a Catalyst 12.7 beta update.

AMD paints the 12.6 WHQL update as more of a maintenance update, and sure enough, the release notes outline a fairly meaty list of bug fixes. Among them is the plugging of a potential security vulnerability. AMD doesn’t say what the vulnerability is, only how it came to discover it:

CERT recently approached AMD with information pertaining to what they believed to be a possible video driver vulnerability exposed by non-default settings of the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). EMET is a security test tool that allows system administrators to create test conditions to validate correct behavior of system components or indicate potential weak points.

Some of the other fixes and additions were already present in last month’s Catalyst 12.6 beta. Those included support for Dual Graphics configs involving Trinity APUs, and a handful of new Dual Graphics profiles.

As for the new bleeding-edge release, Catalyst 12.7 beta, AMD says that one brings a wealth of performance improvements over the previous WHQL release, Catalyst 12.4. Here’s the full list of expected increases (which are, we should point out, likely all best-case scenarios):

  • Up to 25% Skyrim
  • Up to 6% in Crysis 2
  • Up to 20% in Total War: Shogun 2
  • Up to 3.3% in Battlefield 3
  • Up to 6.9% In 3DMark™ 11
  • Up to 4.8% in Aliens vs. Predator
  • Up to 6.5% in Batman: Arkham City
  • Up to 8% in Crysis Warhead
  • Up to 7.2% in F1 2010
  • Up to 8% in Just Cause 2
  • Up to 12% in Wolfenstein MP

AMD says Diablo 3 players can now enable MSAA and SSAA antialiasing modes through the AMD Catalyst Control Center, as well.

Also, according to the company’s blog post, the 12.7 beta includes compute and video transcoding enhancements. It supports video transcoding via the Radeon HD 7000 series’ VCE block in vReveal and ArcSoft MediaConverter, and AMD claims the release "opens the floodgates on performance for non-gaming tasks, like file compression and video transcoding." Those enhancements aren’t mentioned in the release notes, though.

Comments closed
    • nstuff
    • 7 years ago

    The BSOD issue with dual-monitors was pretty devastating pre-12.6beta on my 7950. Gigabyte techsupport was worthless. Some apps like diablo3 would work fine, but others like just simply running steam or installing Office could trigger BSODs. Haven’t had a single issue since upgrading to 12.6beta.

    Now that things are stable, I’m looking forward to upgrading to 12.7b. The opencl enhancements look nice.

    • Firestarter
    • 7 years ago

    At least my problems with 120hz are fixed. I don’t even need to change the default clocks (like in 12.4) to fix the display corruption!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    Not that it applies to me (with an nVidia card I mean), but I’m curious: Why would someone use the driver control panel to enable AA in Diablo 3 instead of the in-game setting? And that leads me to ask, what does the in-game setting default to?

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      Well, I’m sure you’re aware that there are many different forms of AA. Could be that D3 defaults to the simplest one FSAA, that may cause a larger performance hit than the MSAA which doesn’t offer quite as high of quality but offers GREATLY improved performance.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 7 years ago

    Seeing Cat 12.5 was supposed to be the last regular driver release for the HD2000-HD4000 series and a full cleanup to serve as the basis of continuing legacy driver releases it was concerning that Cat 12.5 was canned. Luckily, it looks like Cat 12.6 does support the HD2000-HD4000, so older GPU owners ended up getting 1 month extra mainstream driver support from AMD’s driver scheduling reshuffle before the transition to legacy.

    EDIT: To avoid confusion, I should note AMD’s release notes for Cat 12.6 have since been updated to reflect no support for HD2000-HD4000.

      • format_C
      • 7 years ago

      12.6 doesn’t support HD2000-4000.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        AMD says it does: [url<]http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalystSoftwareSuiteVersion126ReleaseNotes.aspx[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Damage RT’d an AMD employee on Twitter saying it doesn’t.
          [url<]https://twitter.com/CatalystCreator/status/218713395577372673[/url<] So there's at least a little confusion.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            He’s saying the same thing as the release notes. 12.6 support 2000 and up, 12.7 doesn’t.

            • swaaye
            • 7 years ago

            Check the release notes again. They’ve changed.

        • ltcommander.data
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t have a GPU in that series anymore, so sadly I can’t actually test it. I was just pleasantly surprised to see them listed as supported in the release notes.

      • Krogoth
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t see what big deal with it. The hardware and software platform for HD 2xxx-4xxx families are very mature at this point. All of the major issues have already been address. The remaining issues are just nusiance and only affect a tiny minority under certain hardware/software configurations it is not make fiscial sense to draw resources into these obsolete hardware platforms.

      Before the fanboys come and claim that Nvidia hasn’t done the same thing. They already ended driver support for the Geforce FX family and soon the 6xxx-7xxx families will meet the same fate. It will probably be another year or so before the same thing happens to the venerable 8xxx family. I don’t see the problem here either, since these familes are already mature and there are no major issues with these hardware platforms.

        • swaaye
        • 7 years ago

        Radeon 2000-3000 doesn’t run Skyrim correctly and Bethesda doesn’t support the cards. I find that to be a curious thing. Maybe it’s because they didn’t sell and very few people own them anymore anyway.

        GF8 will probably be supported for a much longer time than those were, if only because G92 has been in so many products. As a side note, those cards run Skyrim fine.

        However, I don’t really agree with saying NVIDIA is on the same level as AMD here. NVIDIA is still supporting GeForce 6 whereas AMD dropped support for their DX9 cards years ago. I’m not sure what the state of GF6 running today’s D3D9 games is, but I have toyed with an X1950 and found various unplayable messes.

          • Krogoth
          • 7 years ago

          You realize that Radeon 2000-3000 family is almost five years old? It is kinda unrealistic to expect it to run a modern game without any issues, since I doubt QA is going to be testing hardware platforms of that age.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This