New Radeon drivers promise better performance, frame pacing improvements

Earlier this month, AMD introduced its first public graphics driver with frame pacing support for multi-GPU setups. The feature addresses the uneven frame delivery—otherwise known as microstuttering—that we've observed on CrossFire configurations. Today, the Radeon maker released a second version of that driver with additional performance enhancements for both CrossFire and single-card configs. Catalyst 13.8 Beta2 is now available on AMD's website. Here are some of the highlights from the download page.

  • Saints Row 4: Performance improves up to 25% at 1920x1280 with Ultra settings enabled
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist: Performance improves up to 9% at 2560x1600 with Ultra settings enabled
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Improves single GPU and CrossFire performance
  • Far Cry 3 / Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon: Resolve corruption when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center
  • Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Improves CrossFire performance
  • CrossFire: Frame Pacing feature – includes improved performance in World of Warcraft, Sniper Elite, Watch Dogs, and Tomb Raider

Unfortunately, frame pacing doesn't play nicely with BioShock Infinite's Clash in the Clouds DLC; the game can hang when the feature is enabled. AMD recommends disabling frame pacing for that title, which can be done through the Catalyst Control Center. Good thing frame pacing can be controlled on a per-application basis.

Frame pacing has other limitations, of course. The scheme doesn't work with DirectX 9 games, and it's limited to single-monitor configs at resolutions up to 2560x1600. The new Catalyst betas don't address those shortcomings. I hope AMD is working on support for 4K displays and multi-screen Eyefinity rigs, though. The high resolutions offered by those setups pretty much require multi-GPU solutions to achieve smooth frame rates.

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