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AMD Catalyst 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

AMD has just released a new Catalyst 11.7 driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.
@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Thu, Jul 28 2011 8:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Manufacturer: Game.AMD

Introduction

Catalyst 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis

Introduction

I just got off the phone with someone before I started writing this and came to the realization that we're just four days away from the end of another month. We've just about finished the first third of quarter three. The start of the year was pretty crazy, but the rest of it is going to be even more so I think with so much happening from all the major companies.

Today, though, we have to look at our humble Catalyst drivers that have just been released. You know what? Looking at the release notes, I'm not expecting much, since there's no mention of performance improvements. The fact that they also came so last minute means that we're probably mainly getting a driver that will just fix a few things, but more importantly just to make sure AMD keep up with their promise of one every month.

If those two things weren't enough to think that not much was going to be going on with the driver, the fact that the 11.8 Preview driver has been released at the same time tells us that they're probably working more on that. We won't get too much into that driver as when it comes out in WHQL form we'll have a better look at it. For now, though, let's just look at the latest WHQL one, the Catalyst 11.7, and see what exactly is going on with the latest driver when it comes to the performance side of things.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

AMD Catalyst 11.7 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.

There's not much that needs to be said here and we'll just get stuck straight into it. The only thing I will say is that from next month we will be mixing stuff up a bit as we move onto our new testbeds. We won't get into that now and we'll instead leave that till later when they're up and running.

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 11.7 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

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 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 21 | 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 - 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 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 22 | 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 - 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 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 23 | 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 - 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 11.7 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 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 25 | TweakTown.com

HD 6970 - Little bit of fluctuation, but probably more so to do with the fact the FPS is quite high.

HD 6870 - Little bit of fluctuation, but probably more so to do with the fact the FPS is quite high.

HD 5870 - Here we see no real change.

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 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 26 | TweakTown.com
AMD Catalyst 11.7 Windows 7 Driver Analysis 27 | TweakTown.com
AMD Catalyst 11.7 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

Final Thoughts

Well well, that was boring. To be honest, quite often when we see no performance mentions in the release notes, there's sometimes a little bit of movement here and there, but comparing the latest set to the previous ones, there's no difference across the board under any settings it seems.

The thing is, though, last month the 11.6 set was quite a major release; before that the 11.4 series was, and at the moment it looks like the 11.8 set that is going to come to us in August will probably be a major release as well. It seems we're getting this strong driver release, then a more bug fix orientated one, then another strong driver release and then a bug fix orientated one.

It's not a bad thing, but it does make testing the latest driver a little boring as you enter almost identical FPS on every benchmark. So, should you upgrade? Only if you're having problems with the 11.6! There's no reason to otherwise; if everything is running like a dream, with no change in performance, there seems to be no good reason to update to the latest iteration.

There's not really that much else that needs to be said about the latest driver. The results really speak for themselves. The only two things I would leave you with is, check out the latest Release Notes to make sure that there's no bug fixes that might fix an issue you're having. The second is, if you're feeling a little adventurous, you might want to head on over to the AMD website and grab the 11.8 Preview which does offer us some performance increases.

I think that just about covers everything, though, so let's leave it at that and we'll take a close look at the Catalyst 11.8 Driver Suite when it officially hits us up some time next month.

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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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