AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new Catalyst 11.3 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Mar 30 2011 10:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: Game.AMD

Introduction


CATALYST 11.3 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS




I knew this driver was going to come, but I have to admit I was a little worried that for the first time in a few years AMD might just miss it. Of course they didn't, and today we're looking at the latest version of the Catalyst drivers - the 11.3s.

The thing is, though, it's pretty clear that AMD don't care about this driver a whole lot and instead it's only here so they don't ruin their perfect record. That's fine, because it means I don't ruin mine either with the Catalyst drivers, but with no performance improvements being mentioned in the driver and AMD instead choosing to put more emphasis on the next iteration, it's clear that this is just a filler driver.

The 11.4s are what AMD really seem to care about with an announcement on them coming out at the same time as the 11.3s went live. Of course, the 11.4s are looking to be a good driver and we've been using the betas a lot since the launch of the HD 6990. Still, today it's about the 11.3s.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11


AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 10 IMAGES


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.

With no performance improvements promised it will be interesting to see what the latest driver brings to the table.

Let's get started!


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 20 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 2
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.

AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little.

HD 6870 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little.

HD 5870 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little.

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 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little at the lowest resolution.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/




Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Across the board performance has dropped right back.

HD 6870 - Across the board performance has dropped right back.

HD 5870 - Across the board performance has dropped back; not quite as major as the HD 6000 series cards, though.

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 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 - 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.

AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little.

HD 5870 - Performance seems to have fallen back just a little at the lower resolutions.

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.

AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 11.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

HD 6870 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

Final Thoughts




I was disappointed on the 11.2 driver suite as it really brought a lot of issues to my testbed. While this one doesn't seem to bring any issues, it's just another crap driver, to put it bluntly.

To be completely honest, I expected it. For starters, every time we asked AMD about the 11.3s we got told about how fantastic the 11.4s were going to be. Secondly, the fact that it's come so last minute and offers no performance improvements in the release notes along with a very minor list of overall improvements tells us that AMD are only releasing this driver to keep up with the "New driver every month" thing they have going on.

Because of this, I'm really disappointed in AMD. They've chosen just to release a crap driver so they don't ruin any kind of streak. Instead they could've been concentrating more on the 11.4 drivers and making them even better again.

If you've missed the 11.2s, I would skip this one as well. If you're still on the 11.1s or earlier I would suggest you make the jump to the 11.4 beta preview that AMD has released. It's the best driver we've used in months and it should be fantastic by the time it hits WHQL stage. As for the official "WHQL" driver this month...yawn! Skip it!

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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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