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ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 9.11 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Sat, Nov 21 2009 3:29 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:28 PM CDT
Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction

CATALYST 9.11 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS


Introduction

ATI just had to release the 9.11 driver on the day the HD 5970 launch. Honestly, as if I wasn't busy enough already. The whole release was also a bit more nightmarish than usual due to the fact that I had just re-set up my testbed and needed to re-test a bunch of new cards for the article.

Normally what would happen is the new drivers would come in, I pull up my graphs from the month before, I delete the 9.9s, move the 9.10s there and add the 9.11s. Because there was no data from the new testbed in regards to the HD 5850 and HD 5770, those cards had to be tested at the same time.

The exciting thing about all this is that our Catalyst Analysis now includes Windows 7 which in turn has added DX11 games into the mix.

Let's quickly make mention of a couple of the new features that are included since ATI haven't promised us any form of performance improvements, then we'll move onto the good stuff; benchies.

New Features

- GPU Acceleration of H.264 video content using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta
- High Quality downscaling for video transcoding MSE

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 Kingston Hyper X PC3-16000 2000MHz DDR CL9 (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: Catalyst 9.10, Catalyst 9.10 5700 Series Beta, Catalyst 9.11

Not mentioned in the new features section, but no doubt still important, is the fact that the new Catalyst 9.11 drivers now offer support for the HD 5700 series which was something that wasn't included in the 9.10s. In saying that, there was a 5700 series beta of the 9.10s which did offer support, for which reason we've used that driver for the HD 5770 which is now included.

Also included in the new and improved Windows 7 lineup is the HD 5850 and HD 5870. What would've also been included if the 9.11 drivers supported it is the HD 5970. It's disappointing to see that the new driver doesn't support the new model, but it's something we're becoming accustomed to. For now people will probably find themselves using the driver that came with the card.

While we don't doubt that some people are going to have issues with the fact that the HD 4000 series cards are no longer included and that Vista is gone, I learnt a long time ago that you can't please everyone. We're sure that ATI will now shift their focus to supporting the new HD 5000 series models and for that reason it's what we want to concentrate on.

Finally, before we get everything moving I just want to let you know that when you look through the graphs and you see only two lines for the HD 5770 with 2560 x 1600 tests being empty, it's not a mistake. Since 2560 x 1600 isn't really an option for the model, we chose to skip it. It's also the reason the HD 5770 isn't included in our AA tests. What this ultimately lets me do is test the drivers faster and really not waste anyone's time with a result that moves from say 3.2 FPS to 3.8 FPS.

Let's get started!


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 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 20 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 10 IMAGES


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - It seems that the HD 5870 owners are going to get a bump in their Performance 3DMark Vantage score.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DX10 & DX11)

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark/



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

DirectX 11

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - 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 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - At the higher resolution there seems to be a bit of a bump. This is something that is helpful as it moves us a bit further away from that 30 FPS minimum that the HD 5850 just scraped in at getting when running at 2560 x 1600.

HD 5870 - Like the HD 5850, we see a bump in performance here. The good news is that it seems to translate to all resolutions and not just the highest one.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php





Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.

The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.

Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High Darkest of Days take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.

PhysX set to Low w/out PhysX based Card

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Movement is a bit back and forth here, but really we don't see anything that's worth mentioning.

HD 5870 - Movement is a bit back and forth here as well and once again we don't see anything that's worth mentioning.

Benchmarks - BattleForge

BattleForge

Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/





The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.

But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.

Note: Supporting DirectX 11 we have seperated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.

DirectX 11 (ATI HD 5000 Series Only)

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

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.


Resident Evil 5

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27 | TweakTown.com


HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.


Far Cry 2

ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.11 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 29 | TweakTown.com


HD 5850 - There's a little bit of movement, but nothing that is really worth mentioning.

HD 5870 - There's a little bit of movement, but nothing that is really worth mentioning.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

It comes as no surprise that there's very little performance improvements when it comes to looking at the FPS. In saying that, there's a bit of movement for the HD 5850 in some areas and slightly more for the HD 5870. The main reason we didn't expect a whole lot from the driver was because the Catalyst team has probably no doubt been working hard on creating a stable driver for the HD 5970.

If you're a HD 5770 user we would recommend that you move off the beta and onto the official WHQL driver for the simple fact that it's an official one. If you're also on a HD 5800 series model you may as well make the jump; there's no negative performance effects in our tests and a few positive ones to be seen.

If that's not enough to make you move over, there are a few new features included on the latest drivers. Of course, there's also that typical lineup of bug fixes that are always included with a new set.

While there's nothing to really get excited about with this particular driver, we do have to give some big props to the driver team for creating a wonderful HD 5970 driver. You can know that if you have a HD 5970 or if you're lucky enough to have two, you will see some simply fantastic performance from the setup.

As always, if you've got a different operating system, card or game and you're seeing some results worth mentioning, make sure you drop us a line in our forums. Next month should mark the final 9 series Catalyst driver from ATI and we hope that Santa in the red suit is bringing us something to get excited about this holiday season.

Until next month, may all your frame rates be high and your games good fun!

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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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