New features in Catalyst 7.1 for Vista Continued
Probably the second most notable feature in this release driver for us is the highly improved Catalyst Control Center (CCC). CCC has long annoyed many end-users for its slow loading times and really was quite horrible. AMD said they have taken advantage of the NET 2.0 architecture and dramatically improved start up time. Not only that, it is said to use less system resources by merging the three CLI.exe files into one. During our testing using the new CCC, we loaded the task manager and noted that CCC was only using around 3MB of memory and that's much lower than usual. Take a look;
Users of Windows XP will need to wait for Catalyst 7.2 for these improved features.
Just take a look at the claimed figures above - during our testing we were running a higher-end system then the one above and the new optimized CCC loaded and started in just one second and that's a vast improvement over the previous Vista driver, which took near enough to six seconds to load.
We're really impressed with the changes and it does make CCC a whole lot more pleasant to use as us enthusiasts do want everything to be quick and snappy and not make us feel like we are using a 486 PC. Good job but it is about time!
AMD has not just improved start up times but they've also changed the 3D preview when you are adjusting settings. The new preview makes it much easier to see the changes in your desired new AA or AF settings and even allows you to pause and zoom in on the image for a closer and more detailed look.
As far as other features go, Overdrive is supported in Cat 7.1 for Vista when you're using a graphics card which supports it. We didn't try any overclocking but we can confirm the feature is there. Now that we've covered all the new features of the drivers, let's move onto the benchmarks and see if AMD has been able to improve performance in their first official Catalyst driver for Vista.