Hey guys, I just built my first computer about a week ago and its working great . I have the MSI HD 7870 twin frozr iii 2gd/5 yada yada yada GPU, and I installed the drivers from MSI's website (Catalyst 12.8, I believe) Now, i heard that the AMD Beta drivers (12.11) give great performance upgrades, and i want to upgrade myself.
1. Should I upgrade to the beta drivers?
2. Should I uninstall the old drivers or just install the new ones over them?
3. If I choose to install, do I install the ones with ".NET 4.0 support" or not?
The 12.11 Beta drivers offer significant performance gains, especially in Battlefield 3, so you should go for it if you are playing that game.
However, all the Catalyst Drivers past 12.8 do have some problems with Skyrim, the main issue being that they cause artifacting in that game. If you want to use 12.11 with Skyrim, you're going to have to use one of two workarounds:
1. Set AA mode to Supersampling in Catalyst Control Center (this is the easiest fix, though it may exact a bit of a performance hit)
2. Extract the DirectX related driver files from 12.8 (atidxx32.dll, atidxx64.dll, atiumd64.dll, and atiumdag.dll), and put them into your Skyrim directory, this way Skyrim will use the 12.8 revision, while all other games will use the 12.11 driver.
If you do want to upgrade to 12.11, you don't need to uninstall the old driver, installing over the old one usually works without trouble.
You only need to get the version with .NET 4.0 support if you haven't already installed .NET Framework 4.0 for some other program, or you didn't pick it up with Windows Update. Get the one with .NET 4.0 if you aren't sure if you have it already, or know that you don't have it.
Thanks. However, what is "artifacting?" Also, how to I "extract" the driver files from the 12.8 directory? A detailed explanation would be helpful. And after I do this, is there any chance that there will be any artifacting in skyrim?
Artifacting in this case are flashing polygons appearing randomly on screen, all the post 12.8 drivers have this problem with Skyrim and 7800 series cards. I've found turning on supersampling AA eliminates this problem with 12.11 Beta.
If you want to use the more complicated solution, you should have a folder in C:\AMD for Catalyst 12.8. I believe you have to drill down into Packages/Win64a/B###### to find these files (I'm not on my desktop right now, so I can't tell you exactly where) you then have to grab the files I listed above, but they aren't in DLL format, but DL_, they are compressed. I recommend that you copy the specified files to a folder at the root of C:\ eg. c:\DX, you can create whichever folder you want for this.
Put the files into that folder, and then create a new text file. Inside that text file copy and paste the following.
Save the text file as expand.bat in the same folder where the .dl_ files are. Then run the .bat file, and that should extract the dlls. Then copy the dll files into your Skyrim directory. The dl_ files won't work.
Thanks, but that sounds complicated. I think I'm going to stick with 12.8 until I either finish skyrim or until AMD releases a more stable driver that fixes these problems. Is artifacting in skyrim the only problem with the new beta drivers? Thanks!
That's the only problem I have personally encountered with the post 12.8 drivers. Supposedly the problem can show up in some other games too. Witcher 2 artifacts in the same way as Skyrim with all the post 12.6 driver releases, so I have the 12.6 driver files in my Witcher directory to work around the issue. As I said above, enabling Supersampling AA in Catalyst Control Center also fixes the problem with Skyrim, and the game does remain playable with 45 FPS as my minimum when running Skyrim with 12.11 Beta.
If you aren't going to get to Battlefield 3 for a while, then you can just stick with 12.8 for the time being.