Normally we're the one making note of how late ATI are to release the latest version of Catalyst but not this time around, its us who are running late with bringing you our monthly Catalyst driver performance analysis.
All for good reason though - with the release on the new ATI Radeon graphics cards, one would think that the latest 6.9 drivers would bring support for the new cards from ATI (the X1300XT, X1650PRO and of course the X1950XTX). We were shocked though after completing tests on our hacked 6.8 driver on the new cards to then discover the new 6.9s doesn't support the cards.
The guys at the ATI driver team in Canada didn't have enough time to provide support for their new cards and the with strict time constraints, the driver had to be released without support for the new Radeon cards.
Back to the drawing board it was to pull out the previous models and begin retesting as our test system had been updated and the results from our latest preview were absolutely useless.
So after a whole lot of mucking around and a whole lot of unnecessary testing we have with us the latest 6.9 drivers compared against the previous 6.8 drivers that we saw last month.
Release Notes from ATI
3DMark2006 - overall performance improves 6.7-23.7% with anti-aliasing enabled due to improvements in HyperZ efficiency on the Radeon X1300, X1600 and X1800 series of products. The largest gains can be seen on Crossfire™ configurations and/or 256MB card configurations at resolutions of 1280x1024 or greater
Doom3 - performances improves up to 9.3% due to further OpenGL shader complier and transform engine optimizations on the entire Radeon X1000 Series of products. The largest gains can be seen on Radeon X1900 configurations at resolutions of 1600x1200 or higher