AMD's Radeon HD 5870: Before And After A Year Of Driver Updates

Benchmark Results: World Of Warcarft: Cataclysm


1680x1050
No AA/16x AF
1680x1050
8x AA/ 16x AF
1920x1080
No AA/16x AF
1920x1080
8x AA/ 16x AF
2560x1600
No AA/16x AF
2560x1600
8x AA/ 16x AF
Percent Gain
from 9.10 to 11.1
-2.33%
1.65%
-3.92%
3.77%
9.39%
20.58%


Besides Battlefield: Bad Company 2, this is the other benchmark that requires us to use Fraps. Since there is no scene in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm that is completely reproducible, this adds to the potential for variance. Even when we resort to flight points, we can't manage a 100% match like we can in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Different characters pop up on the screen at different times.

With that said, the trends we see can't be dismissed as isolated anomalies. In two-thirds of our benchmarks, Catalyst 10.3 introduces a performance reduction, which we might be inclined to attribute to the early status of the software in relation to our modern benchmark suite. In a couple of cases, we get back what was lost in 10.8. However, we only see a large back-to-back performance gain at 2560x1600, and once we turn on AA and AF, we see a very linear progression from driver to driver. If you like playing Cataclysm with maxed-out settings, there is a potential 20% performance gain in moving from Catalyst 9.10.

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89 comments
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  • I run a 5850, have loved it, and always get the newest driver.
    4
  • Wow, someone is really pissy.
    3
  • More like someone has been really moderated ;-)
    1
  • hahahyoursowrong"The moral of the story: be sure your graphics card drivers are always up to date."I'd love to cept I get a blue screen every time and can't even get to windows going from 10.4 to the newest.

    Uninstall all drivers before installing new ones.
    2
  • If that guy who created/posted his problem 5 times spent that much effort understanding why his rig BSOD'd when he used the latest set, he might have resolved his problem by now.
    3
  • ever since 10.11 ... many user got "100% GPU usage" and "top right mouse lag" issue
    11.4 early preview still having the issue
    from what i know the issue above mostly effect radeon 5000series (5850 and 5970)
    for people having those issue forced to stick with 10.10e

    still no news when amd will fix those issue, as from what i heard amd can't replicate the issue on their lab, thus can't fix it
    3
  • I know you're terribly busy, but any way we can get the CF comparisons from then and now, even if it isn't as thorough?
    6
  • I'm eager for a new driver release. I've switched my old 4670 ddr2 for a 6850. In some games I'm having a few VSync problems, and the overall performance during video playback has decreased and I have no idea why, quality did not change, or at least I didn't see any changes.

    This 6850 just doesn't feel as rock solid as the good old 4670, which never gave me any trouble. Here's hoping new drivers will solve my issues. Else, I might even switch to a pair of GeForces instead of getting another 6850 for crossfire.
    1
  • assmarI know you're terribly busy, but any way we can get the CF comparisons from then and now, even if it isn't as thorough?


    Excellent story idea, assmar.
    3
  • Andrew Ku forgot to mention that ATI's lousy drivers have and for the foreseeable future will always have problems.

    Not to say that Nvidia occasionally has driver issues, but at least they fix the problems. Only 10.9 and a couple versions before that don't give my 5870 any major problems.
    -11
  • I dunno, the entire time I had my 5770 (a little over a year), I never had any driver issues. It was part of the reason I decided to pull the trigger on a 6950 instead of something from the Nvidia camp. The only time I had any driver issues with ATI was back when I had an old 9800SE, but I more assumed it was because I had soft modded it. YMMV I suppose.
    2
  • howiejceeAndrew Ku forgot to mention that ATI's lousy drivers have and for the foreseeable future will always have problems.Not to say that Nvidia occasionally has driver issues, but at least they fix the problems. Only 10.9 and a couple versions before that don't give my 5870 any major problems.


    Nice trolling man.
    2
  • I'm not liking the new AMD drivers. They were never good in the first place. Sure Nvidia screwed up by burning a few video cards, but they are easier to manage IMO.
    -4
  • I were happy with the driver updates until 10.11 All drivers from 10.11 and up give me numerous problems such as 99% GPU usage,high 2D clocks etc. So unfortunately for some people,new drivers have much problems.
    1
  • I've previously done my own comparison of driver performance, but not at this level.
    The conclusions I made (based on upgrades done after the hardware was about two years old) were that:
    - Returns are diminishing as the hardware gets older.
    The manufacturer will spend less time updating drivers for a three year old card than they do updating for the latest generation.
    - Returns can even be negative when paired with older software.

    It would have been very nice to see the test incorporate some of the benchmarks used to test the 5870 when it was released, to see if/how these have improved.
    2
  • now try the same for Linux and cry :-)

    just kidding. the drivers game is the same for both camps. Nvidia is usualy more stable while AMD tries to improve often even at the cost of regresions.

    the issue with the AMD driver schedule is that they alternate development teams. basicaly fixes from one driver release don't have to be included in the next, since the development started before the current one was finished. it's mostly visible on Linux drivers. One release fixes an issue and it's back in he next one.
    2
  • cangeliniExcellent story idea, assmar.

    That's because you were already working on it, weren't you? :P
    1
  • If they spent more time on stability instead of trying to get 3 more FPS out of the latest AAA game to make it seem as if they have the best cards in benchmarks then everyone would be happier IMHO
    1
  • Nice Tom's. You hit another one out the park. Driver improvements do make a nice difference, and are important. Thanks for the quality article Tom's.
    3
  • Wonderful article , thanks Tom`s Hardware.
    3