ATI Catalyst 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 8.9 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under XP and Vista.
| Sep 16, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction

ATI Catalyst 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
IntroductionAs we begin to roll into the final quarter of the year, AMD are back again with their much loved Catalyst driver suite, now at version 8.9. In our usual style we'll be checking out how the new driver suite goes against the last set.We again see this month that AMD promise nothing in the performance department; I suppose they're feeling pretty confident with their HD 4800 products against NVIDIAs offerings.With that said, let's check out the test system and get stuck into the performance comparison.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(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 VistaDrivers: Catalyst 8.8 and Catalyst 8.9As mentioned already, there are no performance promises from AMD so let's just take the time to see if maybe they forgot something. 3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
The first test of the day shows no real difference between the two driver sets on all three cards we test here.

3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Our second graph shows the HD 4870 getting small gains in 3DMark Vantage at both performance and extreme settings.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Across the board it seems looks like CINEBENCH performance has gone up on all cards.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
We again see the HD 4870 get a small bump in performance while the other cards show no real change.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
UT3 performance is a bit all over the place; the HD 4850 and HD 3870 has seemed to dropped slightly with the new driver set, while the HD 4870 shows no real change.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Turning AA and AF on; we can see that there isn't a change between the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Under Windows XP we can see again there is no real change in performance when comparing the two driver sets.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Unlike our Vista tests, the CINEBENCH performance between the two driver sets here is a lot similar.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
ATI Catalyst 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
On a whole we don't really see much of a performance difference under World in Conflict.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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 8.9 Analysis - XP & Vista
Under XP it seems that performance has gone up a bit for the HD 4800 series while the HD 3870 performance seemed to have dropped back slightly.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsOn a whole there's a little bit of movement across the board with the new driver set. We can see under Vantage the HD 4870 seems to have gotten a bit of a boost while in the real world the performance increase was only seen in Crysis.The HD 4850 and HD 3870 didn't see any gains for the most part; in some places performance dropped slightly, which was a bit disappointing. This month again has been about bug fixes and there is a massive list which covers new games like Spore and Grid as well as older games including World in Conflict and Oblivion.While the bug fixes are the most important part of the driver updates, there's no denying that getting some extra frames with a drive download is nice. Hopefully the driver team are working on a special fourth quarter release and maybe an early Christmas present.Until next month, Happy Gaming!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

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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