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AMD: 2D Performance Progress in Windows 7 With Catalyst 10.4?

AMD: 2D Performance Progress in Windows 7 With Catalyst 10.4?
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Not long ago, the 2D performance of newer ATI graphics cards left much to be desired in Windows 7. AMD acknowledged the problem and released new driver versions. We took a closer look at Catalyst 10.4 in order to let you know what has changed.

Not long ago, the 2D performance of newer ATI graphics cards left much to be desired in Windows 7. AMD acknowledged the problem and released new driver versions. We took a closer look at Catalyst 10.4 in order to let you know what has changed.

Since February and the publication of our 2D benchmark articles 2D, Acceleration, And Windows: Aren't All Graphics Cards Equal? and Part 2: 2D, Acceleration, And Windows: Aren't All Graphics Cards Equal?, we have been looking into the matter a bit more. As you might remember, the results of our performance exploration were concerned with Windows 7 2D performance in GDI-based applications using the newest drivers, as well as the unresolved issues with direct output to a visible display area.

In the initial articles, we referred to the Task Manager paradox. This was one of the reasons why some results were not immediately reproducible, and why measurements on similar systems resulted in different results. We will get to this later.

A Promise is a Promise

The problems we reported were initially met by skepticism from AMD/ATI. However, with the help of the benchmarks and lively internal correspondence with the driver developers, we were happy to see that the bottleneck was both recognized and removed. The reproduction of the problem ultimately led to the optimization of the drivers, as well as AMD publicly announcing that they would actively address this problem.

The release notes for Catalyst 10.4 now promise, among many other improvements and fixes, a performance increase in GDI-based 2D programs and benchmarks under Windows 7. We acknowledge this mention of the word benchmark with a humble smile, because, as a means to an end, it turns out our benchmark Tom2D was quite a useful tool. Let us start with a direct comparison between the different driver versions.

As you can see in the above graph, while presented as new in the Cat. 10.4 release notes, the changes in the drivers were in fact implemented prior to that version. In any case, the driver developers did a splendid job, and we like giving credit where credit is due. We sincerely recommend that users of the affected cards use the newest drivers in Windows 7.

While this pretty much concludes the first matter, we went into more depth and can present you with some rather interesting detailed test results. In addition to these individual comparisons, we will discuss the ‘paradox’ that initially led to incorrect evaluations of the benchmark results over the course of the following pages. Some questions still remain unanswered at this time.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2010 10:13 AM
    Keep doing those 2D testing. It's important for many users.
  • 13 Hide
    Poisoner , June 2, 2010 7:16 AM
    the greater goodTA152H, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


    What was insane about his post?
  • 12 Hide
    Onus , June 2, 2010 10:12 AM
    Just because he applied the sarcasm with a mortar rather than a butter knife does not make TA152H's post insane.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    ta152h , June 2, 2010 6:32 AM
    Well, Microsoft creating an even slower operating system than their previous one is a company tradition. Bloated, slow, buggy software is something they take seriously, and it's not up to companies like AMD or Nvidia to take this privilege from Microsoft. People like it - they keep buying it.

    It's a pity OS/2 never made it. Windows needs real competition. Look what the K8 did to Intel.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2010 6:45 AM
    Lines, ellipses, and polygons are rarely, if ever, used in window system toolkits from the last 5-7 years. You will likely never see them used other than in specialized benchmarks. They are an API vestige of days long past.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2010 6:49 AM
    Am I missing something? 10.5 is the most recent
  • 13 Hide
    Poisoner , June 2, 2010 7:16 AM
    the greater goodTA152H, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


    What was insane about his post?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2010 7:29 AM
    Does Catalyst 10.5 bring anything new to the table?
  • 10 Hide
    spidey180 , June 2, 2010 7:35 AM
    Keep up the good work ATI.
  • 5 Hide
    FUtomNOreg , June 2, 2010 8:41 AM
    Now where did I put that PCMag Winbench CD?????
  • 3 Hide
    outlw6669 , June 2, 2010 9:26 AM
    Quote:
    Does Catalyst 10.5 bring anything new to the table?

    You can now over/underclock while running multiple displays without tearing on the second monitor....
    Other than that, looks to be just a few minor bug fixes.
  • 0 Hide
    crazybaldhead , June 2, 2010 9:42 AM
    Yes, this article needs to be updated for 10.5. Also with the newest drivers, my 4870's GPU clock idles at 600 Mhz and not at 450 Mhz like it used to.
    Upping the idle clock frequencies is not a solution to the 2d performance problem, more like a *simple* workaround.
  • 12 Hide
    Onus , June 2, 2010 10:12 AM
    Just because he applied the sarcasm with a mortar rather than a butter knife does not make TA152H's post insane.
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2010 10:13 AM
    Keep doing those 2D testing. It's important for many users.
  • 1 Hide
    cushgod , June 2, 2010 12:20 PM
    10.5 Catalyst is out. Is that even better? Maybe a follow up article.
  • 0 Hide
    juliom , June 2, 2010 12:25 PM
    crazybaldheadYes, this article needs to be updated for 10.5. Also with the newest drivers, my 4870's GPU clock idles at 600 Mhz and not at 450 Mhz like it used to. Upping the idle clock frequencies is not a solution to the 2d performance problem, more like a *simple* workaround.


    Since you don't even know that the 4870 idles at 500 MHz (not 450), double check the 600 MHz you think you saw.
  • 1 Hide
    invlem , June 2, 2010 12:35 PM
    the greater goodTA152H, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


    ... Now I'm going to have to watch that movie again (Billy Madison)
  • 1 Hide
    sohei , June 2, 2010 12:51 PM
    competition is good ...bravo ATI
  • 0 Hide
    misry , June 2, 2010 12:57 PM
    Cushgod10.5 Catalyst is out. Is that even better? Maybe a follow up article.


    While it is only an incremental u/g it is still worth taking. From a practical standpoint, I found 10.4 made the installation of a (no cost) 4350 card to supplant my built-in 4200 chip "worth it". Prior to 10.4 I seemed to get better performance from the 4200. Afterward, while performance remains the same, given a high side margin of error, using the 4350 now notably off-loads tasks from the CPU *and* frees system memory.
  • 1 Hide
    crazybaldhead , June 2, 2010 2:17 PM
    Quote:
    Since you don't even know that the 4870 idles at 500 MHz (not 450), double check the 600 MHz you think you saw.


    Hate to give in to trolls, but hey, here you go;

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