ATI releases Catalyst 3.8

ATI has unveiled its Catalyst 3.8 drivers and there’s actually quite a bit going on in this new release. Though ATI isn’t making any wild claims that the new Catalysts will revolutionize DirectX 9 performance, there are a couple of intriguing new features for enthusiasts to play with.

  • Hydravision – While ATI hasn’t added any Hydravision features to Catalyst 3.8, they have offered a simplified version of the interface to help more mainstream users get the most of two screens easily.
  • Uninstaller – Included by popular demand, ATI’s new uninstaller will purge a system of any previous Catalyst drivers.

  • Profiles – Catalyst 3.8 supports multiple profiles that will allow users to have a number of pre-defined image quality settings to switch between. A future Catalyst release will automatically launch application-specific profiles.

The above features will be available to all Radeon users, but ATI has also whipped up a couple of special new features to take advantage of its latest Radeon XT hardware:

  • Overdrive – The Catalyst 3.8 drivers can dynamically overclock Radeon 9600 and 9800 XT VPUs to improve performance. Overdrive automatically cranks up core clock speeds based on the VPU’s temperature, which should improve performance on well-cooled graphics cards. Overdrive can be disabled, of course, and it will never run a VPU below its default clock speed.

  • VPU recover – Ever had a graphics driver crash your entire PC? Never again; the Catalyst 3.8s are capable of resetting only the graphics core to recover from what could have caused a total system crash. The driver may be able to fully recover the system, or at the very least drop into a software rendering mode so the PC can be shut down properly. VPU recovery is apparently a requirement for Microsoft’s upcoming “Longhorn” version of Windows.

ATI has also made a new commitment to provide more frequent Linux driver updates. A new unified Linux driver with open source 2D and closed source 3D components will be updated six times a year.


Update: VPU recover isn’t limited to the latest Radeon XTs; the crash recovery feature also works with older Radeons.

Comments closed
    • lyc
    • 16 years ago

    i have noticed significantly reduced antialiasing quality, and the gamma goes mad sometimes when exiting 3d apps.

    i have an ntfs partition, and am very scared of losing my data. is this tweak on by default (given its “tweak” status i should hope not)?

    update: it also makes window scrolling /[http://lycium.cfxweb.net<]ยง

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    #2- “LargeSystemCache”

    What this tweak does is strap everything but 4mb of system memory to the system cache. This will greatly improve it’s speed. This tweak is very good, but in some very demanding programs such as 3d graphics rendering programs or graphic intense games performance can be degraded. I wouldnt worry though, I have never noticed. To do this all you do is change the key value to 1 from 0.

    In ATI cards it can also corrupt ntfs partitions

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    this is for post #42

    i owned a 8500 i knew about the system cache error its a widely known problem relating to using ntfs and enabling that tweak along with an ati card, simple solution don’t enable the tweak.

    • Jive
    • 16 years ago

    there was a great performance increase on my radeon 9800 after install 3.8. But that could be due to disabling fast writes ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Anyone ever heard of a delayed write fail error?

    It takes out your entire partition of windows, if you are not familiar with windows recovery you would have to reformat the partition.It also messes up security ddescriptors of ajoing partitions on the same drive.

    It happened a few days ago to me, took 30 windows installs before i figured out that by enabling system cache optimization in windows was conflicting with catylist drivers, i tried 3.1,3.5,3.7. In the end once i found out it was ATI causing problems i got google to find me a solution.

    ATI drivers will never be the same in my eyes again.

    How can loosing your entire partition and data and having to buy another hard disk due to wear and tear caused by all those reinstalls justify a r9xxx card , half life or no half life.

    The problem is now widely known and yet ati do not mention it in their release notes.

    Oh i might aswell squeeze this in hear, haven’t valve heard of xp pro/ntfs/encryption/import export certificates.

      • indeego
      • 16 years ago

      1. Massive crap IDE hardware out there right now.
      2. My theory is that they are very very susceptible to EMI/power levels, and the power supplies out there are just crap, can’t handle the interference, sags, loads, etc on a typical line nowadays. Also important that is mostly ignored by the UPS’s out there are the quality of the ground attached to each outlett. Most power measurement ignores the ground, but I believe their is a lot of faulty grounding wired out there.

      Oh well.

      I googled your problem. Sucks. Seems rampant.

      Our building, rewired in 1995, has horrible ground code, hence my theories… heh. 30 drives dead in 3 years since I’ve been here, I’ve UPS’d everything with high quality UPS’s and it’s helped slow the problem down, but we still see a dead drive every few months.g{<.<}g

      • just brew it!
      • 16 years ago

      Reinstalling Windows doesn’t impose significantly more “wear and tear” on your hard drive than normal day-to-day system use. If the drive died during a system re-install, it was just coincidence… it was gonna die anyway.

        • indeego
        • 16 years ago

        He’s not talking about the install process, rather the combination of ATI drivers and settings within Windowsg{<.<}g

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      It IS in the release notes. When you install the drivers, you know the readme file that first pops up? It’s in there, plain as day.

        • DaveJB
        • 16 years ago

        Yeah, right near the end.

        Having said that, how many people actually use the “Large System Cache” option? I thought that degraded performance outside of server apps?

      • YeuEmMaiMai
      • 16 years ago

      are you running a server? ATI specifically warns against using this tweak and if you are STUPID enough to enable it anyways, then you are STUPID enough to reinstall windows 30+ times as you have indicated..

      Stupid is stupid does.. Forrest Gump a very smart man ๐Ÿ™‚

    • PRIME1
    • 16 years ago

    Also released with version 3.8:
    *[< Half Life 2 Random Release Date Generator<]*

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    VPU recover???

    A great tool of overclockers.. maybe so. If else I would rather like to think that my VPU never crashes my system, and if it does it need better drivers or ultimately be RMA’ed

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    The shader toys in the 3D panel are pretty neat, too.

    I just played a bunch of BF1942 in black and white. The flag icons, team markers, and unit IDs were still in color, and there were traces of yellow in explosions/gunfire/etc, but it’s 99% black and white, as advertised. Setting ‘inverse colors’ worked on the intro movies and menus, but the game was still ‘stylized B&W’…. Possibly a bug.

    ‘Sketch’ mode in OpenGL is pretty r0x0r, too. Makes any FPS cel-shaded. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Patrickr
      • 16 years ago

      Does it affect fps at all?

      • Krogoth
      • 16 years ago

      I’m just notice the shader tools they are really neat. Try using ASCII Green 8)

    • Ryu Connor
    • 16 years ago

    q[

    • ExpansionSSS
    • 16 years ago

    about a 100-300 point gain in Aquamark 3, for my Radeon 9700 pro.

    Oh and it wouldn’t work with any drivers but Cat 6 and earlier until this.
    ( got random lockups / restarts after 5 minutes of whatever game )

    …aww heck, this one might do that too….we’ll see.

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    The very letters “XT” remind me of computers released over 20 years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But seriously, I’ve been a happy Radeon 9700 and 9800 Pro owner since jumping back into the ATI camp in the spring of this year. ATI has been coming out with regular driver updates and I’m very happy with my overall gaming experience. I look forward to trying out the new drivers.

    And no, I won’t be buying one of the new XT video cards. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • dolemitecomputers
      • 16 years ago

      At least it’s not XP. I’m sick of everything being coined “xp” in the model name.

        • DaveJB
        • 16 years ago

        XP? That’s /[

          • Anonymous
          • 16 years ago

          Deponds on how you look at it

          XP = eXtreme Power
          FX = Failed DirectX9

          Works for me….

            • axeman
            • 16 years ago

            The Windows XP/ Office XP that started it stands for eXPerience IIRC

      • DrDillyBar
      • 16 years ago

      my first computer was the IBM XT.

      ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Deth
      • 16 years ago

      q[

        • derFunkenstein
        • 16 years ago

        The nVidia 1400 MicroChannel SX? That’s a budget card!

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Fixed one problem , created three more just like all previous ATI drivers.

    Nothing to see here folks move along

    • Steel
    • 16 years ago

    They finally support overscan on TV’s! ‘Bout freakin time…

    • DaveJB
    • 16 years ago

    I’m interested to see what sort of improvements Overdrive will give on the 9600XT. The current 9600 already overclocks like mad, and the fact that the 9600XT uses strained silicon (I think) should mean even more headroom!

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 16 years ago

    I wonder who will be heading development of the Linux drivers since it was reported that they were letting their FireGL division fade away into oblivion by year’s end.

      • getbornagain
      • 16 years ago

      well i thought is was just that they were moveing them to canada

    • R2P2
    • 16 years ago

    VPU recover /[

      • pez-king
      • 16 years ago

      VPU recover works on my 9700pro. It isn’t just for the XT line.

        • Anonymous
        • 16 years ago

        You managed to crash it that soon?

    • eitje
    • 16 years ago

    oh boy! an uninstaller! i’ve been sitting on Cat 3.2s forever, because I was scared to switch them out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    and that “6 times a year” promise for Linux drivers nearly makes me quiver with joy.

    • MagerValp
    • 16 years ago

    No overdrive feature for our “old” 9700 boards? I was looking forward to that.

    Any performance improvements in Halo or BF1942?

    • Deth
    • 16 years ago

    This is the great thing about the video card industry… todays whipping boy may well be tomorrows leader.

    First Matrox was eclipsed by 3dfx, who in turn was trumped by nVidia, who is now being pummelled by ATI (who has been there since the very beginning). What’s next, a kickass card from Trident or S3 (who the hell owns that license now?) Maybe the successor to the P10 will swoop in and whoop all there collective asses, but I wouldn’t put much money on that one ;D

    I just bit the bullet and got a 9800 Pro (nice upgrade for my Ti4800), and considering all the crap nVidia’s been pulling recently, I don’t regret it one bit.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 16 years ago

      VIA is who the hell owns the S3 license now. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And don’t you remember back in mid-september the article about Delta Chrome on TR? That’s the S3 “kick-ass” card.

        • Deth
        • 16 years ago

        q[

    • Krogoth
    • 16 years ago

    I have updated to Catalyst 3.8 drivers I don’t really some much of difference over the previous set of Catalyst drivers. Then again I’m using just a Radeon 9700 PRO.

    • MaceMan
    • 16 years ago

    An Uninstaller? They finally got around to this? Groooaaaarrrrgggggg. That’s like the Mac folks finally getting around to a two button mouse. Fer’ cryin’ out loud, get your butt into gear.

    ATI may finally have solid driver support and quality hardware products, but they need to PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS too. I accept that my next VC will probably be from ATI and not nVidia. But please ATI, don’t make me grit my teeth and feel whiny about your drivers. Just don’t.

    Application specific profiles sounds sweet. Would definately be nice for differently optimized games (FPS vs. RTS).

    VPU recover will be nice. Interesting that it’s a Microsoft driven feature (standard) pending in Longhorn.

    Overdrive would be VERY interesting; especially if people use water cooling or other [H]ard methods.

    • Ruiner
    • 16 years ago

    Wow. That overdrive and vpu recover might alone be worth an upgrade from my geforce4600, if they work as advertised.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 16 years ago

      Oh, and the features of the 9800Pro/XT aren’t enough as it is? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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