AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new Catalyst 10.12 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
| Dec 14, 2010 at 3:49 am CST
Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction

CATALYST 10.12 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS


Introduction

It's official; we're in December with the release of the Catalyst 10.12. As the Catalyst driver team has done over the past few Decembers, they're at it again offering us something special at the end of the year.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem like performance improvements are very focused on this month. Instead we've got ourselves a fresh looking interface and you can see just below the transition that has happened over the years.

VIEW GALLERY - 14 IMAGES


We won't go into too much detail on the whole interface, but we will cover it a little in our final thoughts. As usual, though, we'll fire up our benchmarks and see if anything is happening when it comes to performance improvements.

Before we move into that, though, it's got to be said outside of the new interface that we're seeing today, the Catalyst 10.12s now also support the new HD 6800 series that we saw launch in October. For that reason we're mixing it up a bit when it comes to our test line-up, but we'll cover that on the next page.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 99 | TweakTown.com


We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

We've done a bit of reshuffling with our line-up today; we've added in the HD 6850 and HD 6870 and removed most of the other cards. With that said, we've still included the HD 5870 which was one of the largest selling HD 5000 series cards for AMD when it came to performance users.

We won't be getting rid of the HD 5870 out of the line-up any time soon, but from here on out we want to see if the new HD 6000 series sees benefits from new releases. What this means for today, though, is we'll be seeing how the HD 6800 series cards go with the new 10.12 against the original launch driver which was a beta of the 10.10.

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.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 20 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 We see a nice little bump in both presets here for the HD 5870.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 We see a little bit of positive movement at all resolutions.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 Here we see a nice little bump at all resolutions.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Elezen (Male)
Developer Homepage: http://www.square-enix.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/




Final Fantasy XIV, also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, is the fourteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is developed and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a land called Hydaelyn, mainly in a region named Eorzea, which will have a contemporaneously aesthetic blend of science fiction and classic fantasy elements.

The battle and job systems will be different from the one previously used in Final Fantasy XI, which utilized experience points and level-based progression. Final Fantasy XIV is being designed to utilize a skill-based progression[15] system similar to that of Final Fantasy II. Character races will resemble and allow players to create avatars similar to ones in Final Fantasy XI. Group play has been de-emphasized, and now solo and group play have been balanced. Weapon use will alter "character development".

Note: Final Fantasy XIV gives us a score and not a normal FPS rating, our understanding is that anything around 2000 points or above is considered playable.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 Here we see no real change.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 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.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 Across the board we see a nice performance increase.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 Across the board we can see the minimums get a bit of a bump.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF and Final Thoughts

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.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


HD 5870 We see a big boost in performance under Far Cry 2.

HD 6850 Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 Far Cry 2 sees a little bit of a boost.


Final Thoughts

This is a great driver release; there are some nice little improvements on the performance front, but ultimately this driver is all about that improved interface which hadn't changed since 2004.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 03 | TweakTown.com


It's also clear that AMD want to bring more to us in the coming releases, which is great news. There also seems to be some improvements in ways we'll get Crossfire profiles as well.

Inside, though, the interface is nice and easy to use. We've still got that standard and advanced view and we're sure as time goes on little improvements will be made to make it even better.

There's really no reason to not get this release, so if you haven't already got it we recommend that you go out and grab it. For now I'll leave you with some screenshots from the new user interface.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 05 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 06 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 07 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 10.12 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 04 | TweakTown.com


I hope everyone has a happy holidays and next year we'll see you for the Catalyst 11.1 release!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:29 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

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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