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ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 9.10 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Vista.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Oct 26 2009 2:13 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction


CATALYST 9.10 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS




New cards and new drivers; there really isn't much more we could ask for from the Radeon producing company. As always, when new cards come to the market we begin to mix it up when it comes to what cards we test. This month is no different and you'll see some major changes to the card line-up along with another small difference coming next month.

While you probably already know what's going to be included, we will still cover it in our next page. Before we do that, though, let's see what changes the 9.10s carry with them first.


New Features

- GPU acceleration for the Windows 7 Drag and Drop video converting application

This release of ATI Catalyst provides GPU support for the Windows 7 Drag and Drop
video converter application found in the Windows 7 Operating System. This feature is
supported on the ATI Radeon HD 5800, ATI Radeon HD 5700 and ATI Radeon


- Super Sample Anti-Aliasing for the ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series

This release of ATI Catalyst provides support for a new Anti-Aliasing method on the
ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series. Users can now experience the high level of anti-aliasing
image quality using Super Sampling anti-aliasing while maintaining good performance
levels.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: ATI Catalyst 9.10, ATI Catalyst 9.9 and ATI Catalyst 8.14.10.0700 Beta

The biggest changes the driver brings with it is support for the HD 5800 series. Something worth noting, however, is that the 9.10s don't support the 5700s which we saw released recently.

This is a bit of a disappointment as the AMD driver team is normally on its game. If you find yourself with a HD 5700 series card you're going to have to stick to the one that hopefully came in the bundle.

When it comes to performance there aren't any promises for any model. With that said, we'll be testing the two brand new HD 5800 cards today; those will be compared to the original driver that came with our samples which seems to be a 9.10 beta. We'll also be including the HD 4890 to see if there are any changes against last month's 9.9 drivers. As of next month, we'll be dropping this model and replacing it with the HD 5770.


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 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 11 IMAGES


HD 5870: In both presets there seems to be a slight drop in performance when compared to our original beta driver.

HD 5850: In both presets there seems to be a slight drop in performance when compared to our original beta driver.

HD 4890: In our P preset there seems to be a small drop not unlike our HD 5800 card saw. The X one is slightly up, though.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 02 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 03 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: Here we see no real change.

HD 5850: Here we see no real change.

HD 4890: Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 04 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 05 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: Here we see no real change.

HD 5850: Here we see no real change.

HD 4890: It seems the new driver set gives us quite a nice boost under Far Cry 2 for the HD 4890, which is always welcomed.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 06 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 07 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: The minimum FPS is a bit all over the place here; we continue to be above 30 FPS at the lower resolutions which is the main thing.

HD 5850: In the minimum department we manage to see a nice little boost, but more importantly we break 30 FPS at 1920 x 1200 in the minimum result.

HD 4890: Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 08 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: There seems to be a small drop in performance, but nothing major and probably more a bit of fluctuation if anything.

HD 5850: Here we see no real change.

HD 4890: Like the HD 5870, we see a little drop in performance. Again, though, it isn't anything concerning.

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.


Far Cry 2

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 09 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 10 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: Here we see no real change.

HD 5850: A small drop that in no way affects game play. It was unplayable before at these settings and it's unplayable now.

HD 4890: Here we see no real change.


Left 4 Dead

ATI Catalyst 9.10 Vista Driver Analysis 11 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870: Here we see no real change.

HD 5850: Here we see no real change.

HD 4890: Here we see no real change.

Final Thoughts




Considering the original drivers from ATI for the HD 5800 series card were pretty much a 9.10 beta, it doesn't come as too much of a surprise that there's limited difference between the two sets. With that said, though, it's disappointing to see the performance under Vantage has dropped on both the cards. Hopefully this is something that will be fixed; we tested it multiple times, re-installed the drivers for a second time and the numbers were consistently slightly lower.

As for new features, we're not sure if they're something that's going to interest you; they will no doubt be beneficial to a certain crowd, but not everyone is interested in AA or Windows 7.

As for performance of the new drivers compared to the previous ones when looking at a HD 4800 series card, we see that performance is the same to slightly better. With a normal array of bug fixes and what not, there's no real reason not to upgrade to the latest set.

It's disappointing and to be honest slightly confusing to find that the new HD 5700 weren't included in the driver set. We had all intentions of including the model this month, but instead we'll add it next month in which it will replace the HD 4890.

If you're looking at the drivers yourself and notice something worth mentioning, make sure you drop a line in our forums; it's simply impossible to test every card on every game, so it's good to hear from gamers out there.

Until next month, happy gaming and 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.

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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