ATI Catalyst 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 8.11 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under XP and Vista.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sat, Nov 15 2008 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Manufacturer: none

Introduction





With the release of the new i7 platform from Intel I have to admit that the latest Catalyst release did sneak up on me. With the release of a new platform, though, I was intrigued to find out if ATI would offer anything on the performance front.

Looking through the release notes, ATI has made a promise for performance increases in Far Cry 2 with gains as high as 14% when in Crossfire, while S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is being promised gains of up to 30% when using CrossfireX. Fortunately, both games also offer performance increases for single card setups.


Performance Improvements

The following performance gains are noticed with this release of Catalyst

FarCry 2 - performance gains of 3 to 10% for Single card mode and 8 to 14% in Crossfire mode, with some specific configurations showing even greater improvements. Performance gains were noticed on all Radeon HD4xxx and Radeon HD3xxx products.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky - performance gains of 6 to 18% in single card settings and 10 to 30% in CrossfireX mode. Performance gains were noticed on all Radeon HD04xxx and Radeon HD3xxx products.

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 8.10 and Catalyst 8.11


Since the Cat drivers did come out a little earlier than expected, the drivers will be tested on the same cards and the same system as last time. Come next month, though, our new i7 test beds will be up and running. So prepare for some major changes on both the hardware and software front.

While we don't test any of the games where a performance increase is promised, let's hope that the increase is seen in some other games that we do test.


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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


Off the bat we can see there isn't much difference between the two sets of drivers. Let's now check something a bit more intensive out.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


Across the board we can see when under Vantage there are no real gains seen with the new driver set.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


CINEBENCH performance on a whole is a bit all over the place, but there are no significant gains or losses seen.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


Across the board we can see that Crysis sees small gains on most setups with the HD 4870 showing the best increase.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


UT3 doesn't show anything too fancy with performance being pretty similar between the 8.10 driver set and the new 8.11s.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


Turning on AA and AF doesn't seem to give us any gains or losses with the updated driver.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


As with our Vista testing, no gains are seen for 3DMark06 with the new 8.11 drivers.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


CINEBENCH performance is again a bit all over the place, but no significant gains or losses can be seen.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


ATI Catalyst 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


WIC performance, like last month is a bit up and down with some small gains being seen in some areas and small losses in others.

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 8.11 Analysis - XP & Vista


UT3 performance doesn't show anything too unusual with performance between the two drivers being extremely close.

Final Thoughts




Even if you're not playing Far Cry 2, as always we would recommend you upgrade to the latest driver suite. While for the most part we don't really see any gains in the games we test, it's clear that there are going to be some gains out there which is always important. Add in the fact that there's also a bucket load of bug fixes as usual and there isn't much to complain about.

As we draw closer to the year's end, it will be interesting to find out what ATI do. Are we just going to see a normal driver update with bug fixes and perhaps a performance jump here and there, or is there going to be something special? - Only time will tell, but hopefully Santa brings us something special.

Even if there aren't any performance gains, next month is going to be exciting with the Catalyst test bed getting an upgrade to i7 and X58. Before no time we will be seeing the Catalyst 8.12 round out the year and Santa will be coming down your chimney. So until next month; Happy Gaming!

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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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