Summary And Conclusion
Both ATI and Nvidia currently offer their cards with Windows 7 drivers that serve up enough 2D performance for using GDI/GDI+. ATI has almost completely fixed the issues pointed out by our testing with an average performance improvement by almost 100%. This is really a clear answer.
Much of the incoming correspondence from our readers, as well as the positive feedback from some affected software vendors, has confirmed the relevance of our 2D benchmarking. Of course, the typical 3D-focused user hardly runs into the problems we described, so we can understand some of the doubts expressed regarding our findings as well. The reactions of the driver team and the timing of the implementation prove that AMD/ATI, too, has taken this issue more seriously than it initially publicly admitted.
In the end, the solution was developed quickly and the affected software now works without any restrictions. Only the ‘Task Manager paradox’ shown in our test results keep our minds occupied, as we see a great potential for further performance increase here.
Are Other Graphics Cards Affected?
In addition to benchmarks run on the high-end cards, we also performed some random testing with mid-range cards (GeForce GT 240 and Radeon HD 5750). The results are similar enough to those of the high-end cards that we can dismiss the existence of exceptions, and expand our conclusion onto the smaller cards of the current product series.
One Small Restriction
Despite significant improvements made by the ATI driver developers and Nvidia, the two graphics manufacturers are not exactly soiling themselves with glory. The performance level that Windows XP sported in 2D is still very much missing.