AMD releases Windows Vista graphics driver for ATI cards

Markham (ON) - ATI has posted the final version of its first Windows Vista certified graphics driver on its website. Catalyst 7.1 promises a broad range of features supporting the new Vista Driver Model.

According to AMD, the driver introduces native support for OpenGL under Vista, providing some performance gains over the previously released RTM driver. Version 7.1 also brings Crossfire support for the entire X1000 family of cards to the operating system and, probably most dramatically, allows users to playback Blu-ray and HD DVD media using the 32-bit version of Vista.

Blu-ray and HD DVD, however, requires a third party media player from Cyberlink or Intervideo, a HD LCD with HDCP chip as well as a Radeon graphics card with HDCP chip. According to ATI, all newer Radeon cards, including the X1650 PRO, X1650 XT, X1950 PRO and X1950 XTX include such a chip, while it was up to the add-in card vendor to include such a chip in older X1000 versions, such as the initial X1300 and X1600 series.

Competitor Nvidia is preparing the release of a Vista graphics driver for January 30, which will replace the currently available Nforce RC1 driver package. The company recently released v.100.54 driver to developers and journalists, which was intended for DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 application testing in single GPU only. Nvidia recommended to use this specific driver in combination Geforce 8800 GTX/GTS series GPUs and mentioned that the driver can slow down application performance on Geforce 6 and 7 models.