ATI Catalyst 6.7 Performance Analysis

ATI weren't the only ones late with Catalyst 6.7 drivers for Radeon. As usual, we compare performance against Cat 6.6.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Aug 2 2006 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Manufacturer: none

Introduction






Coming out on the last day of July, ATI only just sneaked in being able to call the latest release driver version 6.7 but they probably would have anyway even if they were released in August. We saw the previous Catalyst 6.6 come out quite late in the month and while we expected the 6.7 drivers to come out late, we didn't expect them to be here on the last day.

While there is a huge amount of fixes in the latest driver release along with enhanced CrossFire support, it seems as if ATI has not been able squeeze any more performance out of the latest release.

In any case, we will have a look at this in our normal line up of games and application benchmarks. We are a little late with our performance analysis because of some unfortunate food poisoning situation but everything is okay now.

As always we've cut to the chase and just get straight into the benchmarks because we think that is all you are interested in seeing in our Catalyst Performance Analysis articles.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): AMD Athlon X2 3800+ @ 2.6GHz (260MHz FSB 1:1)
Motherboard(s): DFI SLI DR Expert (Supplied by Bronet)
Memory: 2 X 1GB G.Skill HV DDR500 (Supplied by Bronet)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB SATA 2
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 and Catalyst 6.7 and 6.6


With the Radeon X800XL back we are up and running again with our X1K line up along with our older generation graphics card. Nothing else has changed and we continue to run our processor @ 2.6GHz.

Without any performance improvements being mentioned this time around we aren't expecting a lot.


3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 120
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.



3DMark05 sees no difference across the board.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 102
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




Moving to the more intensive 3DMark06 we also see that there is no difference in performance across the board.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)


Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Lost Coast opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Lost Coast with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.






Lost Coast performance is up and down but there isn't anything that is consistent or that stands out.

Benchmarks - Doom 3


Doom 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.idsoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.doom3.com
Buy It Here




Doom 3 is still one of the most popular games at the moment and is quite intensive in the 3D department, even though it is starting to age. With our own custom time demo we are able to give a realistic rating on what kind of FPS you will be achieving.

For more information on benchmarking Doom 3 we recommend you check out our extensive article regarding it here.




Doom 3 performance sees a small fluctuation in two of our tests but nothing that is consistent or you can really comment on.

Benchmarks - Quake 4


Quake 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.idsoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.quake4game.com
Buy It Here




Quake 4 is one of the latest new games to be added to our benchmark suite. It is based off the popular Doom 3 engine and as a result uses many of the features seen in Doom. However, Quake 4 graphics are more intensive than Doom 3 and should put more strain on different parts of the system.




Quake 4 performance sees a small decrease on the X800XL and a small drop on the X1300 but we see that the rest of the cards show no difference.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R.

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.vugames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/
Buy It Here




F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.






As usual F.E.A.R. sees no difference across the board.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

In our High Quality tests we bump the Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) up causing the graphics card(s) to be put under more load.

This usually helps us remove the CPU limitation. We normally use 4 x AA and 16 x AF as this is quite a common setup for most people who are venturing into the AA and AF area.




Like our non AA tests we see no difference again.




Half Life performance is again up and down with the X1300 being slightly up and the X800XL being slightly down.




On our final test we again see that the X1300 gets a bump in performance while again the X800XL has seen a little dive.

Final Thoughts




Overall there isn't anything really exciting with the new driver release, as far as the performance numbers go. We can see that the X1300 takes a small rise in some applications, while the X800XL drops in a few but nothing major.

The main emphasis on these drives would seem to be fixes and there is an absolutely huge amount available and when you venture to the ATI website to download we would recommend that you have a look through first before you upgrade.

Maybe this month, it just isn't worth your time to upgrade or maybe Catalyst 6.7 will save you from some technical issues you've been having.

Till later this month, Happy Benchmarking!

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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.

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