AMD announced that its Catalyst driver's days are numbered. The old name for the Radeon graphics driver suite will be retired before the end of the year, along with the antiquated software package. Radeon Software Crimson is the new Radeon graphics driver suite, but there's much more to it than a fancy new name.
AMD said it has been working on the Radeon Software Crimson package for nearly a year. The company focused on redesigning the user interface to be more modern and far more intuitive. The company said it had received feedback over the years that it was hard to find functions within the Catalyst suite, so it put emphasis on improving discoverability of functions.
The new layout looks clean and simple to use. There are buttons along the top for different setting categories including Gaming, Video, Display Eyefinity and System. Along the top edge you'll find Updates, Preferences and Notifications buttons, along with various social media links.
AMD didn't just improve the menu system in Radeon Software Crimson; it also improved some features. The Game Manager, for example, detects the games installed on your computer and lets you edit their profiles individually. Not only will you be able to change things like anti-aliasing method, anisotropic filter settings, and tessellation modes, gamers will have the option of setting individual overclock settings to each game.
This feature is of particular interest, as all too often, one or two games will dislike an otherwise stable overclock. Having the option of lowering the settings for specific troublesome games could be very helpful. Of course, there will be people who aren't interested in going into the settings for individual games. For those gamers, a Global Settings feature that will load the same settings across all games is included.
The Video tab features a number of visual presets, including Home Video, Cinema Classic, Outdoor, Sports and more. The Display tab lets you toggle between all the different display options. You can enable FreeSync, Virtual Super Resolution and GPU scaling, as well as select scaling modes. When multiple displays are in use, all of these options are available independently for each panel. You can have one display with FreeSync and another without, or you can have scaling on one of the displays and not the other.
AMD also improved the Eyefinity configuration tools. Not only is there still an Advanced setup option to manually configure the displays, but the company has included a single-click Quick Setup option for basic setups.
AMD said it also received a significant number of complaints regarding how quickly the Catalyst software responds. According to AMD, the Catalyst Omega application takes an average of eight seconds to boot up. When the company started working on Radeon Software, it wanted to achieve instant access. AMD claimed the upcoming new driver package will open up within 0.6 seconds on a slower gaming PC and even faster on higher-end hardware. The company said this was achieved by redesigning the application from the ground up and ditching the .Net framework, which the Catalyst Control Panel relied upon heavily.
AMD's Radeon Software Crimson Edition is the first edition of the software, which the company said will be updated on an annual basis with a new shade of red for each edition of the software. The naming convention is actually quite simple: Radeon Software is the software name, Crimson is the edition (which will change annually), and there will be a four-digit number indicating minor revisions that will be formatted as YY.MM. AMD has not yet released the software and has not been specific about when it will become available -- only to say that Radeon Software Crimson Edition will launch before the end of the year, and that more information will be released in the coming weeks.