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ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 8.7 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under XP and Vista.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jul 22 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista



As we roll towards the end of the month, I have to admit we were a little worried when we hadn't seen the latest Catalyst release. No doubt AMD have been extremely busy working on the latest HD 4870 incarnation; the X2.

3DMark Vantage: Performance increases of up to 20% is noticed in the Performance Preset on single card configured systems when using ATI Radeon HD 36xx or ATI Radeon HD 34xx products

Company of Heroes DX10: Performance increases of 3% to 12% is noticed in specific maps on single card configured systems when using either an ATI Radeon HD 48xx, ATI Radeon HD 38xx, or an ATI Radeon HD 36xx product

Lost Planet DX10: Performance increases of 4% to 15% is noticed in specific maps on single card configured systems when using either an ATI Radeon HD 48xx, ATI Radeon HD 38xx, or an ATI Radeon HD 36xx product

Call Of Duty 4 DX9: Performance increases of up to 4% in specific maps is noticed on single card configured systems when using an ATI Radeon HD 48xx product

Lost Planet DX9:CrossFire scaling improves up to 1.7x and performance increases up to 80% across all Radeon; products when AA and AF is enabled

There are some decent looking performance improvements, so let's see how they go in our tests today.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 8.6 and Catalyst 8.7


With the release of the HD 4870, it was time to mix it up a bit, so we've dropped the HD 3870 X2 and added the HD 4870 and HD 4850. We've also added 3DMark Vantage into the mix, so let's not ramble on anymore and just get stuck into it.


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.


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


Across the board we can see there isn't much of a change between the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We can see the HD 3650 gets a small bump but the rest of the cards don't really see a change.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We can see the HD 3870 is a little down and the HD 3650 a little up, but on a whole there isn't really much difference between all the cards.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We can see the HD 3K series get a slight bump across the board, but the new HD 4800 cards show no real difference between the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We see slight bumps in performance at some resolutions with the new drivers. The best gains are seen at around 1600 x 1200.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06

ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


Turning on AA and AF under 3DMark06 doesn't really show any difference between the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


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.


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


3DMark06 under XP sees the HD 3650 again get a little bit of a bump, but the rest of the setups really see no change.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We again see here that the HD 3650 gets a bit of a performance bump while most of the other cards really see no change.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


Again, the HD 3650 gets a FPS bump while the other cards continue to show no real difference between the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


ATI Catalyst 8.7 Analysis - XP & Vista


We can see that UT3 performance is a bit up in particular tests, though the HD 4850 performance manages to fall back slightly.

Final Thoughts




While the new drivers don't offer massive performance gains or anything like that, there are a number of nice little bumps on offer here today. With the fixes implemented in the driver, they're a good upgrade for most users. People who will be particular happy, however, are mid-range HD 3650 users who want an extra few FPS here and there.

There's no doubt that the AMD guys are extremely busy at the moment with the HD 4800 series of cards, but with the X2 just around the corner, hopefully it begins to calm down a little bit and the team can get stuck into the drivers and try and get us some more performance from the new cards.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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