As we roll into April, AMD / ATI managed to just sneak a March release of their Catalyst display drivers just in time. They seem to really be scraping in just at the end of the month at the moment but the drivers are still being released.
With a release every month for a few years now, you have to wonder, that as we get towards the end of the month, do we just get a quick release with little benefits to keep up with the monthly update trend or will we actually see some performance improvements?
Besides performance improvements, Catalyst 7.3 sees Crossfire dual graphics enhancements for Windows Vista particularly to do with OpenGL support. Proceed with caution though, many users have been reporting BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) issues under Vista but there is a fix published over at Extreme Tech which explains how to avoid the problem, if you're upgrading your Radeon Vista display drivers.
Let's see what the latest incarnation of the Catalyst bring us. Again we are only testing under Windows XP since still only a very small majority of our readers are using Windows Vista.
Dark Messiah Might and Magic performance improves 12.5% or greater on all Radeon™ X1000 series configurations when running in CrossFire™ mode under both the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems. Larger gains of 60% or more can be seen on high end products.
OpenGL CrossFire™ Support Under Windows Vista
Catalyst™ 7.3 introduces OpenGL CrossFire™ support for the entire ATI Radeon™ X1000 product series under Microsoft Vista. Users will see significant performance gains in a number of applications when running in CrossFire™ mode under Windows Vista.
CrossFire™ Enhancements for Windows Vista
Catalyst™ 7.3 includes CrossFire™ enhancements for Windows Vista that enable the Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) CrossFire™ rendering mode by default, enabling performance benefits for all AFR compatible applications immediately (including newly released applications that have not been officially profiled for CrossFire™). Future Catalyst™ releases will add further CrossFire™ performance gains once new applications have been profiled specifically for CrossFire™.
Note: Applications already profiled for AFR will not see any performance benefits from this feature.
Let's get this show on the road!