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AMD Catalyst 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new Catalyst 11.5 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Thu, May 12 2011 4:26 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Manufacturer: Game.AMD

Introduction

CATALYST 11.5 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS


Introduction

This came as a bit of a surprise! AMD decided to release the 11.5 driver set which followed the massive 11.4 in the first half of this month. Normally we see the Catalyst driver come out towards the end of the month; this is more so seen after such a massive release.

It seems that AMD wanted to just improve Hydravision while doing the normal array of bug fixes which can all be seen below. With clearly not much emphasis being put on performance this time around, we're not expecting any miracles, but we'll see just what the new 11.5 driver has to offer over the previous 11.4 which we love.


New Features

Hydravision enhancements for Eyefinity configurations

- The HydraGrid feature found in HydraVision is now aware of user created Bezels.
- The HydraGrid feature found in HydraVision now also includes as "Automatic Grid" option that aligns to the user defined Eyefinity display layout.

Resolved Issues for the Windows 7 Operating System

This section provides information on resolved known issues in this release of the AMD Catalyst 11.5 software suite for Windows 7.
These include:

- PowerDVD no longer randomly crashes when HDMI 8 Channel Audio is enabled.
- Avivo settings are now correctly displayed in the AMD Vision Engine Control Center after connecting a secondary display.
- Windows Media Player no longer randomly hangs or displays a black screen after playing VC1 (WMV) video files for over 4 hours.
- PowerDVD no longer crashes intermittently after enabling / disabling Crossfire during BD playback.
- Bioshock no longer displays visual corruption with Vsynch and MLAA enabled.
- Transcoding MPEG-2 video to H.264 no longer causes an application crash.
- Transcoding H.264 to AVCHD no longer generates lagging video.

Resolved Issues for the Windows XP Operating System

- Civilization V no longer stops responding during game launch when Crossfire is enabled.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

AMD Catalyst 11.5 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.

Nothing has changed when it comes to the overall testbed, so we'll just get stuck straight into it and see what's going on with the latest driver.

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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 20 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

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

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

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

HD 5870 - 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 11.5 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 small amount.

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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

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

HD 5870 - 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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 24 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Here we see no real change.

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

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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com


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

HD 6870 - Here we see no real change.

HD 5870 - Here we see a small bump in performance at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200.

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 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27 | TweakTown.com


AMD Catalyst 11.5 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 28 | TweakTown.com


HD 6970 - Across the board we see little change.

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

HD 5870 - Performance is a little up and down here; nothing major overall.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Considering when we're seeing this release very little was expected from it for the simple fact AMD offered us such a huge driver last month in the form of the 11.4s. Unless the HydraGrid improvements are something you really want or one of the bug fixes impact you directly there's probably not a whole lot of reason to jump across to this driver.

On the performance side of things it's a little wobbly with performance going a little down in some areas and a little up in others. It's not really enough to probably sway most people one way or another. Instead it's going to be more about figuring out if the bug fixes or HydraGrid features help you.

The 11.5 isn't a bad driver and if you're just buying an AMD card today you may as well update to it, if you're on the 11.4 driver set, though, you're probably better off staying on it because if it ain't broke why fix it.

For now we'll be sticking with the 11.4 driver just to make sure everything is consistent in our own testing. With no real key performance differences either it won't impact the decision of how we rate any video cards against NVIDIA.

With the normal array of bug fixes and some improvements to HydraGrid, the 11.5s aren't a bar driver, if you're on the huge popular 11.4s, though, you may as well stay there as it's one of the best we've seen in a long time.

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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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