ATi's Catalyst Control Center Geared for Enthusiasts and Neophytes

The Catalyst Control Center

With its new Catalyst Control Center, ATi aims to satisfy the entire of gamut of demands, from the menu-shy novice to the tweak-happy enthusiast. Everyone's requirements will be fulfilled through the new Control Center and its new user interface. The interface offers simplified menus for the beginner and more detailed settings and options for the seasoned enthusiast. Various "wizards" make the selection of complex settings easier. Also, separate 3D settings for OpenGL and Direct3D are now a thing of the past. There is now a 3D preview that demonstrates what effect the individual 3D settings will have.

The new Catalyst Control Center comes with a completely new look and feel.

Modularity: Skins And Microsoft .NET

The Catalyst Control Center (CCC) presents the card manufacturers with a number of new possibilities. Thanks to its modular design, the driver can be provided with the company's own CI (corporate identity). From the placement of the company logo in the driver menu to a company-specific skin and even a different menu structure, everything is possible. Developers of third-party tools such as RIVA Tuner or Rage3D Tweak could even integrate their tools into the CCC as modules. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before the first CCC mods appear, be it in the form of overclocking modules, skins or other tweaks.

ATi provides a number of different skins to start with.

This modularity comes at a price, though, as ATi's CCC requires the installation of Microsoft's .NET framework (opens in new tab) . Matrox decided to follow this path a year ago with the drivers for their Parhelia cards - a step that was not met with great approval, it should be noted. The reason is simple: many users are wary of the software giant.

ATi may come under fire for a different reason as well. Even today's driver downloads are large enough to test the patience of anyone without a broadband Internet connection and make them think twice about a driver upgrade. The current driver package already weighs in at 26 MB, but the new CCC increases the download to an even heftier 38 MB. And that's still excluding the separate download of the .NET framework that is necessary before the first installation, which adds another 24 MB to the total! If you've got a 56k connection, this means that the download time for the new drivers will increase from somewhere around one hour to at least two and a half hours - and that's just for the graphics driver. Oh, and did we mention you'll need Macromedia's Flash player as well?