ATI Catalyst 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new ATI Catalyst 10.5 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.

Manufacturer: AMD
5 minutes & 46 seconds read time



The end of the month is all very hectic at the moment and straight in the middle of our busiest time ATI have dropped the latest driver on us like clockwork. Combined with the pre-Computex news getting along that there's an NDA lifting on the new mid-range GTX 400 series next week and it's just busy, busy, busy times.

On the performance front ATI isn't promising us anything with the 10.5s so we're not expecting anything too exciting. To be honest, the late release in the month makes us think it was all a little rushed.

In saying that, there's some things worth noting. Two big features are the fact that 120Hz displays are now supported on both HD 3000 and HD 4000 series cards which is great for people who want to get some ultra smooth gaming done.

The other big news is that the flicker on extra monitors has been fixed. This was done by upping the 2D clocks which has in turn bumped up idle temps, but for most it shouldn't be anything too serious.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

ATI Catalyst 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 99

Normally we would give you a run down on each graph, but today we're not. The bottom line is that across all four cards there's nothing worth really mentioning in the performance side of things.

There are a few little ups and downs here and there, but nothing that's really worth noting. Hopefully we'll see something a bit more exciting next month.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 20

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21

Benchmarks - BattleForge


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

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 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

ATI Catalyst 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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

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Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25

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 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26

Resident Evil 5

ATI Catalyst 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

ATI Catalyst 10.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28

Final Thoughts

There's nothing all that exciting about this driver. To be honest, though, we've had a massive run of awesome driver releases from ATI and we know the run couldn't last forever. The driver isn't so much bad as it just a bit boring. Some are going to appreciate the fixes, while others are going to need it. Others won't appreciate the increase in 2D clocks, though, which in turn has increased idle temperatures.

The other big thing worth noting is the latest driver also messes with our much beloved Bad Company 2 load times. The driver team is on it, though, and a hot fix is coming; so in the event that you're into Bad Company 2 big time, avoid this driver and wait for the hot fix.

As always, though, we've got the big list of bug fixes in a number of games which is always appreciated. Too be honest, though, if you're not going to benefit from anything on the bug list and the monitor flicker isn't an issue, you could just about give this release a bit of a miss.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next month. Of course, we've got Computex next week which should hopefully bring with it some exciting new developments. ATI at the moment are staying very tight lipped; we just wonder if it's because there's nothing to talk about or if they're just behaving themselves.

Stop the Press, though, because there seems to be something about this driver that ATI hasn't told us. People are reporting that CrossFireX performance when running Eyefinity has sky rocketed. Some people have reported Metro 2033 going from a slide show to now giving an average of over 100 FPS.

Make sure you drop us a line in our comments section below if you're an Eyefinity CrossFireX user. For some users this could be a very good reason to update to the latest driver. The bottom line is Surround Gaming / EyeFinity is going to be heating up in the coming months.

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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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