Catalyst 9.3: 1st Unified Windows 7 Driver?

Will AMD's Catalyst 9.3 drivers--set to go live today--be the industry's first unified driver with Windows 7 support? The company says "yes."

There's no question that Windows 7 is a hot topic. Indeed, we've user comments fly off the charts as readers frantically want to find out more about Microsoft's latest incarnation of Windows. Touted to be the best installment yet, developers are taking the latest build and gearing up for the operating system's eventual release. However, AMD is claiming stake in Windows 7 history, it's new frontier, saying that the Catalyst 9.3 drivers--set to go live between 1PM EST and 3PM EST today--will be the industry's first unified driver with built-in Windows 7 support. Yahoo.

"Thanks to the incredible expertise within our driver development team, we led the Windows Vista transition with a WHQL-certified unified driver that delivered industry-leading stability," said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, Software Engineering, Graphics Products Group, AMD. "The advanced state of our Windows 7 drivers this far ahead of the final Windows 7 release is yet another proof point of our graphics industry leadership. We are ready for Windows 7."

According to AMD, the new Catalyst drivers will be Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.1 compliant, heavily based on the DirectX 10.1 API, and support Radeon HD 3000 and 4000 series cards. Windows Vista originally introduced the WDDM driver standard, using DX9-class compatibility to render all those nifty visual desktop effects that many consumers ended up disabling. Not only will the new Windows 7 drivers benefit from the DirectX 10.1 foundation visually, but should offer better RAM regulation by the operating system.

Although the Catalyst 9.3 package will contain both Windows Vista and Windows 7 Beta drivers, the latter will implement new features from the upcoming operating system including Aero Shake and Aero Peek. As a bonus, AMD's Terry Makedon even said that Lost Planet should get a lot faster with the new Catalyst drivers, although he didn't go into any specifics.

The true test will come later today when consumers begin to install the new drivers--especially on Windows 7 Beta platforms--and report back on their overall performance. We look forward to the results.

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  • thedipper
    " the latter will implement new features from the upcoming operating system including Aero Shake and Aero Peek."

    Those are OS-level features and have been working since... well, since the builds in which they were included.
  • curnel_D
    "Note: The Windows 7 driver is not final and is provided "as is." It is not supported by AMD, and may contain software bugs. It has not completed full AMD testing. Use of this software is at your own risk."

    Sounds pretty beta to me, meh.

    I'll post results soon. Might even redownload lost planet just to check out the gains.
  • curnel_D
    Ok, finished a quick runthrough of benchmarks. I have an ATI 4850x2, and a core 2 at 3.2Ghz.
    Crysis had lower framerates, but out of the normal games I play, it was the only one. CoD4 stayed the same, nothing noticeable. But with Farcry 2, World in Conflict, and neverwinter nights 2, I noticed a performance increase anywhere between 5 and 15 percent.

    Granted, I did this pretty quick, and only one runthrough of each game, so there should be some differences if I did things a little more complete. I might download lost planet here in an hour or two.