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ATI Catalyst 4.5 vs. 4.6 Performance Analysis

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon Drivers in Software | Posted: Jun 13, 2004 4:00 am

Release Note Comments


There is only really one section that we are interested in when looking through the release notes for the 4.6. Below is the area explaining the performance increase that ATI are promising.


As with most CATALYST™ releases performance has increased in various situations.


The following performance gains are noticed:


- Pixel Shader compiler improvements bring significant performance gains to PS 2.0 applications such as Halo (2-3%), Tomb Raider (4-5%) and Mother Nature (4-5%).


- ShaderMark 2 shows numerous gains in the 3-6% range. The High Dynamic Range scenes in ShaderMark (Tests 20 & 21) gain 10-15%.


- RADEON X800 driver tuning improves performance for several Vertex-Shader-heavy tests. For example, Battle of Proxycon, Troll's Lair and Mother Nature gain 9-15% on the RADEON X800 PRO.


- Improvements in our surface allocation and texture management code have increased performance for resource-challenged cases. Re-Volt scores improve 25% at 1600x1200 across several RADEON configurations. ShaderMark Test 14 (Veined Marble) improves dramatically (up 380% at 1600x1200) on some 256MB products.


- Improvements in OpenGL driver efficiency bring numerous small gains (1-3%) in Call of Duty, Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory, Star Trek - Elite Force II, Serious Sam, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Quake III Arena.


- X800 memory tuning improves Anti-Aliasing performance in a number of games and benchmarks. For example, at 4xAA, 3DMark2001 gains 4-7%, UT2003 Antalus and Asbestos Flybys improve 2-7%, and the CodeCreatures score rises 15%.


As you can see, a number of performance jumps seem to be heavily focused on 3DMark 2003 or anything that is using PS 2.0. Another thing you may have noticed is that they have tuned the X800 series Anti-Aliasing performance for a number of games and benchmarks.


Another thing that is worth noting is that the X800 Pro now has Overdrive built into these drivers. Depending on the temperature of the GPU, Overdrive will overclock the core automatically and accordingly. Some people prefer to manually overclock as you'll be able to obtain a much higher overclock but if you don't know how to or you are worried about killing a brand new and expensive graphics card, it is a handy little feature.


If you would like to read the full release notes, they can be found here at the ATI website.


Let's have a look at some of the numbers on offer with the new drivers from ATI.


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