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ATI Catalyst 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 9.12 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Dec 18 2009 6:06 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction


CATALYST 9.11 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS




I knew that the Catalyst drivers would come out on what was going to be my last day of work. It seems that ATI must've got the internal memo and decided to release them right on cue just to be a pain.

To be honest, though, this is exactly when I thought they would come out; the weekend before Christmas. So, have we got an early Christmas present from the Catalyst driver team, or have they left us a lump of coal?

There's only one way to really find out and that is to benchmark them on our HD 5000 series line-up of cards. Before we do that, though, let's have a quick look at the performance improvements that ATI are promising us.


- Performance Improvements

3DMark Vantage - overall performance improves as much as 9% on ATI Radeon HD 5800 and ATI Radeon HD 5700 series products. GT1 - Jane Nash performance improves as much as 15% and FT4 - GPU Cloth improves up to 15%

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Call of Pripyat - Performance improves as much as 6% on single card configurations

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 9.11, Catalyst 9.12


We've been promised two performance improvements; one is with 3DMark Vantage which is our first test of the rank. The other is the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game which we don't test, but hopefully the improvements in that game also translates to some others.

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


HD 5770 - At both presets we can see a nice little boost in performance.

HD 5850 - At both presets we can see a nice little boost in performance.

HD 5870 - At both presets we can see a nice little boost in performance.

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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no 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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - The HD 5770 sees a small bump in performance at both resolutions.

HD 5850 - At the lower resolutions we see a small bump in performance while at the highest we see no change.

HD 5870 - Across the board we see a nice boost in performance at all resolutions.

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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - There's a little bit of movement both ways, but nothing major.

HD 5870 - There seems to be a small drop here. It's not something we would be concerned about, though.

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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - At the lower resolutions there seems to be a little bump, while at the highest we're seeing a small dip; nothing to be worried about, though.

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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5850 - We can see a small increase at the lower resolution, but nothing to get excited about.

HD 5870 - We can see a small increase at the lower resolution, but nothing to get excited about.

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 9.12 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 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 9.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 29 | TweakTown.com


HD 5850 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - We don't see the same small drop as we saw in the non AA tests. Here there's no real change in performance.

Final Thoughts




The latest driver version from ATI is a pretty good one. We've got a cross between some nice little performance gains and similar results. As long as we're not moving backwards, it's always a good thing.

If you throw in the fact that you get the normal array of bug fixes, you've got a worthwhile upgrade from the previous driver or any driver before that. Aside from these improvements and fixes, we can also see looking through the release notes that ATI have implemented some new features.

We've got DirectCompute 10.1 support on the HD 4800 and HD 4700 series while also being supported in CrossFireX form. Also included is OpenGL 3.2 extension support on most models ranging from the HD 2000 series to the latest HD 5800 ones.

If you want to learn more about some of this technology, I recommend that you head on over to a recent article Sean did here.

Some good gains, bug fixes and some new features mean this is a driver you should be installing, especially if you're the owner of a HD 5000 series card.

Until next month, may all your frame rates be high and your games good fun! Oh, and have a Great Christmas / Holidays and Happy New Year.

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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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