ATI Catalyst 7.2 Performance Analysis (Windows XP)

Although a little late to the game this time, we have published our Catalyst 7.2 Performance Analysis for Windows XP.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Feb 28 2007 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Manufacturer: none

Introduction






As the second month of the year rolls on by us, we sneak our monthly AMD Catalyst driver update in. Running a bit late with the performance improvements we can see below (mostly in Windows Vista it seems) it looks like it might be worth the upgrade from previous versions.

There is only one way to find out, so let's get stuck straight into it.


Performance improvements

Open GL performance improves for all ATI Radeon X1000 series products. Gains of up to 25% in Doom 3, 48% in Quake 4 and 21% in Prey can be seen on a variety of ATI Radeon X1000 cards. These performance gains are noticed under the Windows Vista operating system.

New features

Catalyst 7.2 introduces a brand new version of the Catalyst Control Center for Windows XP. The new Catalyst Control Center delivers a number of significant enhancements:

- Significant performance gains; Catalyst Control Center start-up time has been substantially reduced, and overall responsiveness has improved.
- Reduced system resource usage
- New 3D preview which significantly improves the ability for users to understand the benefits of enabling the many Catalyst features of their ATI Radeon graphics accelerator
- Increased stability
- Native 32 and 64-bit support

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3150MHz (350MHz FSB 1:1)
Motherboard(s): ASUS P5B Deluxe (Supplied by ASUS)
Memory: 2 X 1GB G.Skill HZ PC8000 @ 350MHz 4-4-4-12 (Supplied by Bronet)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA 2
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2


The release notes claim that Vista sees performance improvements up to 25% but we're stuck with Windows XP for now.

Let's see what the drivers do for XP, still the OS of choice for us and most of our readers.


3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.




3DMark05 doesn't show us anything too exciting. Let's move on.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




The mid-range and lower end cards see a slight dip in performance but nothing you would be all that worried about.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)


Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Lost Coast opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Lost Coast with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.






Lost Coast again sees a dip in the Radeon 1950PRO and below. It's nothing major but a dip none the less that seems consistent.

Benchmarks - PREY


PREY

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here




PREY is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.




The game we had our eyes sees one take one step forward and two steps backwards. Some disappointing results across the board.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.






Low res XTX results see a slight increase with high res XTX results being almost the same, again though we see the 1950PRO and X1650PRO take a small drop.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

In our High Quality tests we bump the Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) up causing the card(s) to be put under more load. This usually helps us remove the CPU limitation. We use 4 x AA and 16 x AF as this is quite a common setup for most people who are venturing into the AA and AF area.




HQ tests see a similar picture with no real changes that you would be concerned about.




We see the drop again in the same cards.




PREY sees a nice increase for the XTX but apart from that the drivers have been the same or slightly worse.

Final Thoughts




We hope so very badly this doesn't become a trend from AMD and ATI. We have seen this kind of stuff happen before - something new comes out and they stop thinking about the old stuff. The problem is that Windows XP is such a large part for computer users that we really hope that AMD and ATI don't decide to stop thinking about the millions of XP users out there who feel that Vista isn't for them or simply just can't afford it.

If you're using Vista there is no doubt you want to make the move to the latest driver. The other thing is the loading times for the Control Center now are fantastic in not just Vista but also XP which sees the inclusion of the new control panel in this driver. It's worth the upgrade along if you're a frequent visitor to the Control Center as well.

Overall it's a bit of a disappointing release for XP users; even though performance improvements were claimed for Vista we kind of hoped we would see some kind of increase for our beloved XP operating system.

Until the next driver release, happy benchmarking!

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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