AMD Launches Catalyst Driver for Windows 8.1 Preview

AMD is now offering a Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview reference driver for AMD/ATI GPUs (32 and 64-bit). The company reports that the Catalyst Driver is provided "as is," and resides under the company's terms and conditions of the End User License Agreement. That said, you're on your own with this new Catalyst.

According to the release notes, the new Catalyst contains support for WDDM 1.3, an upgraded display driver model in Windows 8.1 that provides users with several new features. Supported GPUs for this model include Kabini, Temash, Richland and Trinity. The WDDM 1.2 driver model, also included in the Catalyst, supports Llano and Brazos GPUs.

PCs will get a boost in the graphics department thanks to Windows 8.1, including support for Microsoft's own wireless display technology, 48 Hz dynamic refresh rates for video playback, aggressive V-sync interrupt optimization, and Skype/Lync video conferencing acceleration. The new platform will also get a visual boost from "tiled resources," a new instruction set to the DirectX 11 API.

The complete list of compatible APUs and GPUs can be accessed here. The Windows 8.1 Preview driver is offered as the AMD Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview Driver (32 and 64-bit), and as the AMD Firepro Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview Driver (32 and 64-bit). AMD customers must have Windows 8.1 Preview installed to use these drivers, which can be downloaded here as an ISO file (opens in new tab) (bottom of page) or directly from the Windows Store.

"Windows 8.1 Preview ISO files (.iso) are provided as an alternative to downloading the preview through Windows Store," Microsoft states. "If you are an advanced user and want to install the preview on another partition, another PC, or a virtual machine, we recommend you download the ISO files."

A new Preview build and new Catalyst drivers? Sounds like a good time to benchmark.