AMD raises graphics performance with second-gen Vista driver

Markham (ON) - AMD today released its second Catalyst graphics driver for Windows Vista, promising performance gains between 21% and 48% in certain games. Nvidia also has caught up with Vista and recently released its first final driver for the new operating system.

The new Catalyst 7.2 works with all ATI graphics cards from the current flagship Radeon X1950 down to the 9500 model, with the exception of X1950 XT model. The driver is available for both Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit as well as Windows Vista XP.

AMD promises that the new Catalyst improves Open GL performance for all Radeon X1000 series cards running under Windows Vista. Gamers should see an increase of about 25% in Doom 3, 48% in Quake 4 and 21% in Prey, the company said.

Catalyst 7.2 also comes with a new version of the Control Center for Windows XP. AMD said that software now includes a new 3D preview as well as native 32-bit and 64-bit support. According to the company, the tool requires less system resources than its predecessor and offers more stability.

Nvidia, which has been heavily criticized for not providing a finalized Vista graphics driver at the time of the operating system's release has posted its first Vista driver on January 19. The Nforce 100.65 driver supports all Windows Vista versions as well as GeForce graphics cards ranging from the 6500 to the current 8800 models on the consumer side as well as workstation cards ranging from the Quadro NVS440 to the Quadro FX5500.

However, the driver release notes still indicate quite a number of issues with this driver, including "some known image quality issues," lacking support for 5.1 surround sound, a 255 MB memory limit on shared memory "TurboCache" cards, as well as some missing features in the Nvidia Control Panel.