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ATI Catalyst 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 10.1 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Jan 29 2010 6:39 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:29 PM CDT
Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction

CATALYST 10.1 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS


Introduction

Let's not kid ourselves. Just days before the end of the month comes to a close, ATI squeezes out a Catalyst driver, I think it's safe to say that this driver is more so to keep the flawless monthly release record than to bring massive improvements or new features.

The driver seems so rushed out that someone forgot to update the Catalyst Control Center to actually say 10.1. Instead it still says 9.12. Terry Makedon @ CatalystMaker even said on Twitter that this is just a standard release driver to fix some bugs.

In all honesty, though, we blame no one. Even the people behind the Catalyst drivers have families and deserve to have some time off over the holidays. It's just a bit disappointing that instead of saying we're going to be working on the 10.2s for six weeks, they chose to quickly whip out a driver set for January before getting stuck into the next set of drivers.

It's not all gloomy, however. We'll talk about that more in the final thoughts, though. For now let's have a quick look at the performance improvements ATI are promising before getting into the results.


Performance Improvements

Left 4 Dead 2 - Overall performance improves as much as 3% on ATI Radeon™ HD 5700 series products and ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 series products

Crysis - Performance improves as much as 3% on ATI Radeon™ HD 5700 series products and as much as 4% on ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 series products

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 9.12, Catalyst 10.1, Catalyst Hemlock Beta Driver


This month we've added the HD 5970 into the mix. This is not only going to give us an idea of how ATIs top performing model goes with the new driver each month, but should also give us some insight to performance improvements related to CrossFire.

We never tested the 9.12 drivers with the HD 5970, so instead we've just thrown in the original Hemlock Beta driver to see if there are any improvements since that release.

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


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no change.

HD 5970 - We see a nice bump in performance when compared to the original beta driver the HD 5970 came with.

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 10.1 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.

HD 5970 - 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 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - At the higher resolution we see a small bump in performance.

HD 5870 - At the lower resolution we see a small bump in performance.

HD 5970 - Here we see no 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 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - We see a very small bump in performance when looking at the minimums.

HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - At the lower resolutions we see a nice little bump in performance when looking at the minimum scores.

HD 5970 - Performance is a little up and down here. Nothing too major, 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 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - We see a little bit of positive movement at the higher and lower resolution, but nothing to get excited about.

HD 5870 - 1920 x 1200 and above sees a little bump in performance.

HD 5970 - Here we see no change.

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 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


HD 5770 - Here we see no change.

HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no change.

HD 5970 - We see massive gains at the lower resolution when compared to the original beta driver.

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 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27 | TweakTown.com


HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - We see a minor bump in performance here.

HD 5970 - We see a minor bump in performance here.


Far Cry 2

ATI Catalyst 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28 | TweakTown.com


ATI Catalyst 10.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 29 | TweakTown.com


HD 5850 - Here we see no change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no change.

HD 5970 - Here we see a little bump in the minimum department.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

There's a few bumps in performance here and there. And if you're still on the original Beta driver that came on the CD with your HD 5970, it's really worth upgrading to the latest 10.1. Really, I thought we wouldn't see anything to get excited about at all, but combine a few bumps in performance here and there with the normal range of bug fixes and it's a nice little driver update.

Mass Effect 2 users might be disappointed with the fact they can't get AA working. The good news is that a hotfix driver came out soon after the release of this driver which fixes the problem while adding some CrossFireX performance improvements. You can nab the driver here.

While the 10.1 is being considered a standard driver, Terry has come out on Twitter and said, "CatalystMaker: 10.1 is just a standard release to fix up some bugs, but 10.2 and 10.3 will indeed have some major new features". So the good news is that while this driver isn't the most exciting, hopefully we have something more to talk about in February and March.

At the end of it all, there's nothing wrong with the 10.1 driver and you may as well take the chance to upgrade. If you're on one of the new HD 5600 cards, though, you'll be disappointed to know that this set doesn't support the newly released model.

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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