ATI Catalyst Quick Comparison – 8.12 vs 9.1

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There’s not much new in the latest Catalyst release for gamers really, so I decided to grab a couple games and run a comparison of 8.12 and 9.1 releases, and not do a whole bunch of games and benchmarks. I wasn’t expecting much of an improvement and didn’t really get any either, so no disappointments here.

 

Here’s a bit of the notes from the 9.1 release, you can find everything pertaining to the release HERE and driver downloads.

Full OpenGL™ 3.0 support
This release of ATI Catalyst™ provides full OpenGL™ 3.0 extension support.
The following is a list of OpenGL™ 3.0 extensions added in Catalyst 9.1:
• ARB_framebuffer_object
• ARB_half_float_vertex
• ARB_texture_rg
• EXT_texture_array
• EXT_texture_integer
• NV_conditional_render
• WGL/GLX_create_context (for new 3.0 contexts)
• GLSL 1.3
• ARB_color_buffer_float
• ARB_vertex_array_object
• EXT_draw_buffers2

Resolved Issues for Windows Vista and Windows XP Operating Systems
• “Move to Monitor” option does not work for some Open GL application
• Playing back MPEG2 files may fail to respond when task switching between virtual desktops in extended desktop mode
• Restoring to factory default, Catalyst Control Center may become unresponsive when multidesktop is enabled
• Catalyst Control Center: display index number are not the same as Displays Manager in Graphics Settings
• Catalyst Control Center: Some Catalyst text labels may be missing “General Settings Option” under Windows Traditional Chinese
• Catalyst Control Center: System may become unresponsive when uninstalling Hydravision package with all HV aspects checked in multi adapter configurations
• Catalyst Control Center: Enabling "Enable Desktop Manager" and "Enable Multi Desktop" will cause the following to be displayed in the Windows Task Manager HydraDM64 and HydraMD64
• Catalyst Control Center: Preparing Help dialog window will come up in
English on other localized Windows operating systems
• About Catalyst Control Center window may display some text corruption, when launched from the system tray
• Catalyst Control Center stops working when skin is changed to Quicksilver

Resolved Issues for the Windows Vista Operating System
This section provides information on resolved issues in this release of the ATI Catalyst™ Software Suite for Windows Vista. These include:
• With some ATI Radeon adapters and Windows Vista 64 systems with more than 4 GB of system memory the display driver may fail to load and report a code 43 error
• Some video performance playback may be noticed when using the latest version of Pixela
• Video combing effects may be noticed during movie playback while fast forwarding or rewindingATI Catalyst™ Release Note 6
• Catalyst Control Center: some screen corruption may be noticed after
enabling 1080p HDMI support and adjusting the scaling options
• Video may not fill secondary display when playing back HD 1080i content with Overlay Theater Mode enabled
• Launching Medal Of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead game demo may result in a system stopped working error
• Unable to extend the display to a secondary adapter until the system has been restarted after enable/disable CrossFire™
• Reinstalling the display driver using the INF method on a multi-display (ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2, Radeon HD 3870) system may cause the operating system to fail
• Playing Picture-in-Picture on a DVD with PowerCinema or PowerDVD may cause the system to halt.
• System may become unstable when mode switching during playback of
blu-ray content using WinDVD
• System becomes unresponsive exiting Windows Media Center while playing high definition content
• DXVA2 Video Decoder DDI Test failures on R7xx ASICs on Windows Vista Systems
• Some interlacing may be noticed when fast forwarding a DVD playback
• Catalyst Control Center: system may fail to boot after disabling CrossFire™ with dual ATI Radeon HD 48xx adapters
• System unresponsive on reboot after installing the Catalyst 8.12 driver on ATI
Radeon HD 4800 Series CrossFire™

 

So for some comparison I grabbed the old standby video card killer, Crysis, and the new Far Cry 2.

I’m using am Intel Q9650 CPU, Diamond Radeon 4870 1gig video card with 8 gigs of DDR2 ram on an EVGA nf680i SLI motherboard.

Of course I ran testing for both DX9 and DX10 for both games.

Far Cry 2 is up first, settings are basically maxed with resolution of 1680×1050:

Settings: Demo(Ranch Small), 1680×1050 (59Hz),Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(8x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Optimal), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Very High), Terrain(Very High), Geometry(Very High), Post FX(High), Texture(Very High), Shadow(Very High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)

farcry2 dx9

Actually we see a small drop running the 9.1 drivers under DX9 with FC2.

farcry2 dx10

Again here we see similar results

Next up we have Crysis, maxed settings, 1850×1050, 16xAA, Very High

crysis dx9 graph

A very small improvement over the 8.12 drivers

crysis dx10 graph

The average FPS drops a bit, though not playable at those rates with either driver version.

So is there anything new here, depends, I don’t see much new in terms of graphics performance really. The improvements are apparently more in the background and compatibility or bug fixes really, and of course the OpenGL 3.0 support now.

I did run other tests as well like Crysis Warhead and 3dMark06, and I got very similar results, not much new in terms of performance boosting properties with this release.

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