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Which drivers are the best for a 2900xt?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 14, 2008 12:39:42 AM

Hi, iI have been using the 7.9 drivers (yup i know..oldies) and was thinking about updating them...but im uncertain which drivers would be the most "useful"...I heard that the 7.12 were the best, sicne the new 8.1 and onwards are mostly used for teh new 3x00 series, and do not really ad much to the 2900xt performance/bugfixes
to which should i update?

Thank You.

More about : drivers 2900xt

February 14, 2008 10:43:41 AM

You heard wrong. The drivers should benefit all ati cards from the first x*** series onwards (x300, x600, x700 & x800 i.e. alot older than yours)

The idea that driver development for the 2900 and all non hd3xxx series cards has stopped/ground to a virtual standstill is just conjecture, at best.
Especially in the case of the 2900 pro & xt since their design is very similar to that of the 3850 & 3870. In short, whatever drivers benefit the 3870 & 3850 should very likely benefit your card too. In your case you missed out on one of the better driver releases, catalyst 7.10 which gave a nice boost over the 7.9's, not to mention compatibility improvements or improvements to dx10 performance, ...if you have vista that is. Although in general I would say you have missed out by sticking with the 7.9s, some nice maturing of the drivers with that architecture. For future reference you should consider a stock 2900xt as being equal to or say 5% slower than a stock 3870 on average. The initial reviews of the 3870's on their release showed some big performance jumps over the 2900xt, but as far as I can tell this was largely down to the newer drivers used for them (the 3870s) as benchmarks with the 2900xt and 3870 together and drivers from 7.11 and onwards show results being generally the same. Then again if you upped the core speed of your 2900 to 775mhz (+35mhz), the same as a 3870, you would probably null any advantage the newer card has over your xt in performance terms, and view 3870 benchamrk results (as 2900xts are hard to find in benchamrks these days) as the same as your own card.

Although it doesnt use the most current drivers, in fact only catalyst 7.11, and some of these numbers look a bit fishy (crysis numbers 1600x1200 4xaa 16xaf 34 fps on a 8800gt!?) this benchmark shows 2900xt results mixed in with 3850 & 3870 numbers against a wide range of games and resolutions:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_3850_1_G...

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The latest drivers are 8.2 released as of today, if you encounter problems try the 8.1's. Remember to use 'driver cleaner' (google it) to remove all trace of your present drivers and uninstall CCC before installing newer ones, to avoid any problems.

www.tweaktown.com benchmark new catalysts every month, comparing them to the previous ones. You can try comparing the 7.9 driver results with the 8.1 results (although 8.1 appears to be slower than 7.12 for some reason) but the 8.2 analysis should be out in the next few days (possibly monday) so you can compare the driver progress from september last year with that of the present. Do not some of the games are a little long in the tooth, so are not representative of performance in modern games, and some are demo versions, so performance numbers might be lower than with full, patched titles. Either way it's the only kind of resource I have been able to find on this subject.

Here are the links, open in 2 windows side by side makes things easier on the eye:

7.9 vs. 7.10:
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1202/2

7.11 vs. 7.12: http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1269/ati_catalyst_7_1...

Good luck and tell us how you get on.
February 14, 2008 10:46:24 AM

I would add that 8.1 taking a small hit in performance over 7.12 is par for the course with driver revisions. Often the ones after the slower ones rectify performance hits. Again, check the catalyst performance on tweaktown from 7.9 up to 8.1 (8.2 - when that analysis comes out in the next few days) to see for yourself the ups and downs over time.
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February 14, 2008 11:29:10 PM

Thank You very much for Your time, and all the information, i will probably wait those couple days more to see the 8.2 benchmarks.

as to ccc I always use it...since I also have a tv wonder 650, I usually try to wipe out everything that is ati related, and then install the gpu drivers, and the tv tuner drivers/apps after that, all at the same time so they would be paired (release wise)

To be honest I was actually waiting for the 8.3 drivers, sicne I read that they will enable AA in games that are based on the Unreal 3 engine...but it might only relate to the 3x00 series :( ...uncertain there...but i guess an update to the 8.2 (if itll be worth it) will be sufficient for now for me, since I mainly play RTS games, and from FPS's only TF2, and lately the frontlines beta...lol which is a U3 engine based game;)

Anyways thank You very much for all the info, will get into all the reading(links) tommorow as soon as I can, and then I guess wait till monday to see if which version will be the most benefficial.

Thank You.
February 14, 2008 11:33:35 PM

__ ___ ___
P.S. I just checked the charts on the linked site, it looks that i guess i might not need to worry about the 3x00 series that much...i was thinking that my 2900xt wil/is getting outdated ;) ...so i guess it might last me till the R700 or even the R800 series...sicne I honestly did not want to get a new gpu till atleast the end of 2009, or mid 2010...sicne i just got the 2900xt in August 07.
February 18, 2008 8:51:28 AM

Your most welcome. You shouldn't worry about your card being outdated quite yet. Since you got it the fastest single gpu card is still the 8800 ultra, so its not like the bar has moved alot higher really in terms of top performance (3870x2 is a bit immature at the mo.).

I got a 2900pro of ebay in December, just cos 3870's were hard to find in the u.k. and I wanted a new card to replace my 7900gt, and so like you I plan on holding on to it (my current card) for at least a year from now.

But in all honesty if it wasn't for me having bought crysis I wouldn't be that bothered about changing drivers cos I generally only play bf2, bf2142 & supreme commander on a monitor with a 1400x900 max resolution, and they all fly with a stock 2900pro. I do plan on overclocking it some time this year, my goal is to buy a replacement hsf and get to 850mhz on the gpu totally gaming stable. That would be 15% higher than an xt and 41% faster than the stock pro clock, bringing it somewhere just behind a 8800gt for performance.

On a side note, still no sign of the catalyst 8.2 analysis on tweaktown.com, have they stopped doing them? hope not :( 

Write back if you can and tell us what (catalyst) version you changed to and what effects it had.
February 18, 2008 2:39:08 PM

Hi, I am still waiting for the tweaktown info to surfae as well, so as soon as something will be out, and I will have time I will switch to the best drivers.
As to crysis I was in its beta, and to be honest I was waiting for that game for almost 2 years, but as soon as playd it I thought to myselfe..."what garbage optimization" and I just decided to not waste my $$ on it.
Usually I play supreme commander, company of heroes+ Opposing fronts(really got into it lately), I used to play Medieval 2 for almost a year, and lately I anjoyd Team Fortress 2, and the Frontlines:fuel of war beta, which i think I will purchase as soon it will be released since it looked nice, and run very very well (average ftp's in the upper 50's) TF2 thought somehow bogged down to 20 frames constantly for me, and many many people have that problem with it, (more than 64 pages posted on its forum on that issue) so its not my hardware, since it used to have frames exceeding 60 during the most hectic moments.

lol so to be honest now that teh frontlines beta is over i have nothing to play, since tf2 is really unplayable with 20 frames :( 

Also I found a new PVR software yesterday, so I might have time to test it out prior to the new driver installation(since I always updated the gpu, and tv tuner card drivers/software together, so usually it took me a good hour or two to do so.)


btw just out of curiosity is the 3d mark(if im not mistaken) a good bench app? im asiking since i got one (it came with my gpu), and i was wondering if it would help me out to decide...to be honest im really a nobie when it comes to the menching apps, usually i just know the framerate differences in games ;) 

one more thing were there any news maby on the new catalyst supporting AA in unreal 3 based games? ...Im asking since I am planing on getting frontlines, and that game has no AA option in it, and i heard /saw that people forced it to do AA....but on nvidia cards though....the game looked even more amazing than it does with AA...no AA gives it about 55 to 60 frames stable, x4 AA bogs it down to about 40 frames. x8 is rather unplayable(20/30 frames)

Thank You.
February 25, 2008 2:11:56 AM

the tweaktown analysis is up now ^^
February 25, 2008 8:52:29 AM

Yeah and its pants. No 2900xt results, nor a dx10 test under vista, rather dx9 tests under vista. Feeling rather bitter, ive decided not to bother looking on that site again.
February 25, 2008 4:14:08 PM

just checked it out... this sux, I was hoping it would help me out lol ;) ...seems that some scores actually went down rather than up...or some did not really get better, so I guess there is no rush to get the 8.2 :( .....lol now i can wait for the 8.3 lol which supposed to have support for AA for unreal3 based games....since I really would like to have some AA support for rontlines(since the game comes out tommorow)...and I saw how nice it looks with 8xAA ;) ...i wouldnt mind even 4x ;) 
February 25, 2008 4:33:09 PM

Yeah ive got a 2900pro and i was a bit gutted, that was the only benchmark with the 2900 in it that i could ever find lol. I havent seen one with my card since last year now :(  it's all to be expected though i guess, march of time and what-have-you.

Dude, seriously, are you STILL on the 7.9's ? You really should change, your missing out on free fps for the sake of 30 minutes downloading uninstalling and reinstalling lol.

Don't know about aa support under the ut3 engine, but I would say get an up-to-date driver for tf2 and frontlines: fuel of war, the newer the title the more you should benefit from a driver update.

As far as 3dmark06 goes, its good if you overclock 'cos you can see what effects thats having on graphics performance relative to where you started from, and if you upgrade your graphics card. Going from my old 7900gt to a 2900pro, the difference was really quite impressive. It was nice to actually watch the game tests run smoothly for a change lol. Apart from that though, there isnt much to be gained from comparing nvidia and ati cards. ATI cards do really well in 3dmark06, but lie some way behind nvidia cards in games performance with aa&af enabled. The reasons for this are probably many, but ati cards fly through the last game test like a mad thing, boosting the score way up.

Either way, the 7.10, 7.11 & 7.12 catalysts made some real headway in making the r600 work better in games, so please, for the love of god, download some newer ones! lol ;) 
February 25, 2008 4:34:18 PM

illuminatirex said:
Hi, iI have been using the 7.9 drivers (yup i know..oldies) and was thinking about updating them...but im uncertain which drivers would be the most "useful"...I heard that the 7.12 were the best, sicne the new 8.1 and onwards are mostly used for teh new 3x00 series, and do not really ad much to the 2900xt performance/bugfixes
to which should i update?

Thank You.


update to 8.2 lol


February 25, 2008 4:41:31 PM

lol was way 2 byzy in the past week.....btw any way to force AA using it on U3 based games?....just curious
!