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AMD to Now Only Update Drivers 'When It Makes Sense'

With the release of AMD's Catalyst 12.6 Beta drivers on Thursday, the company also announced that it's moving away from its monthly Catalyst release plan.

ATI originally released the first Catalyst driver in June 2002 just before its Radeon 9700 "R300" graphics card hit the market. But months after the launch, ATI decided to release a new driver each month. This continued until now, with AMD now having decided to release drivers when it makes sense.

"Our goal is to ensure that every Catalyst release delivers a substantial benefit to our end users; as we have today with the release of the Catalyst 12.6a Beta," AMD said on Thursday. "We will still continue with the Catalyst naming convention; Catalyst: Year.Month., You just won’t see a new driver every single month. We are confident that this will only benefit the end user; you’ll only need to upgrade to a new Catalyst driver, when it makes sense. "

In addition to the announcement, AMD also launched a new AMD Issue Reporting Form. The company said it made a number of improvements to the older Catalyst Crew Feedback form, making it more comprehensive, ensuring that AMD gets the best feedback possible.

"Feedback is very important in every product company’s life, especially in our fast paced environment," AMD said. " This is not just a check-box for us – we take these reports very seriously. We will review every report posted here and investigate every issue encountered. Please use this form whenever you encounter something worth mentioning."

To download the new AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta driver, head here -- the page lists resolved issues and feature highlights. AMD customers can also download the AMD Catalyst feature preview driver for the just-released Windows 8 Release Preview.

"Featuring full support for the new WDDM 1.2 driver model, this new driver enables customers to take full advantage of the model’s features as applications are updated to leverage them," reads the driver description.

Features include support for the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series, and the AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series, native stereo 3D support, a unified video API and more.