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Catalyst 9.3: 1st Unified Windows 7 Driver?

Will AMD's Catalyst 9.3 drivers--set to go live today--be the industry's first unified driver with Windows 7 support? The company says "yes."

There's no question that Windows 7 is a hot topic. Indeed, we've user comments fly off the charts as readers frantically want to find out more about Microsoft's latest incarnation of Windows. Touted to be the best installment yet, developers are taking the latest build and gearing up for the operating system's eventual release. However, AMD is claiming stake in Windows 7 history, it's new frontier, saying that the Catalyst 9.3 drivers--set to go live between 1PM EST and 3PM EST today--will be the industry's first unified driver with built-in Windows 7 support. Yahoo.

"Thanks to the incredible expertise within our driver development team, we led the Windows Vista transition with a WHQL-certified unified driver that delivered industry-leading stability," said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, Software Engineering, Graphics Products Group, AMD. "The advanced state of our Windows 7 drivers this far ahead of the final Windows 7 release is yet another proof point of our graphics industry leadership. We are ready for Windows 7."

According to AMD, the new Catalyst drivers will be Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.1 compliant, heavily based on the DirectX 10.1 API, and support Radeon HD 3000 and 4000 series cards. Windows Vista originally introduced the WDDM driver standard, using DX9-class compatibility to render all those nifty visual desktop effects that many consumers ended up disabling. Not only will the new Windows 7 drivers benefit from the DirectX 10.1 foundation visually, but should offer better RAM regulation by the operating system.

Although the Catalyst 9.3 package will contain both Windows Vista and Windows 7 Beta drivers, the latter will implement new features from the upcoming operating system including Aero Shake and Aero Peek. As a bonus, AMD's Terry Makedon even said that Lost Planet should get a lot faster with the new Catalyst drivers, although he didn't go into any specifics.

The true test will come later today when consumers begin to install the new drivers--especially on Windows 7 Beta platforms--and report back on their overall performance. We look forward to the results.

  • thedipper
    " the latter will implement new features from the upcoming operating system including Aero Shake and Aero Peek."

    Those are OS-level features and have been working since... well, since the builds in which they were included.
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    "Note: The Windows 7 driver is not final and is provided "as is." It is not supported by AMD, and may contain software bugs. It has not completed full AMD testing. Use of this software is at your own risk."

    Sounds pretty beta to me, meh.

    I'll post results soon. Might even redownload lost planet just to check out the gains.
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    Ok, finished a quick runthrough of benchmarks. I have an ATI 4850x2, and a core 2 at 3.2Ghz.
    Crysis had lower framerates, but out of the normal games I play, it was the only one. CoD4 stayed the same, nothing noticeable. But with Farcry 2, World in Conflict, and neverwinter nights 2, I noticed a performance increase anywhere between 5 and 15 percent.

    Granted, I did this pretty quick, and only one runthrough of each game, so there should be some differences if I did things a little more complete. I might download lost planet here in an hour or two.
    Reply
  • scrumhalf
    Just curious, what makes this the 1st? Nvidia already has Win7 drivers, and I thought AMD did too. What exactly is special about this release?
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    scrumhalfJust curious, what makes this the 1st? Nvidia already has Win7 drivers, and I thought AMD did too. What exactly is special about this release?"According to AMD, the new Catalyst drivers will be Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.1 compliant, "
    Basically, real Win7 support. They've both had situational beta support, but no real full unified driver support. ATI is the first, though still with a beta-like warning.
    Reply
  • Niva
    Now if only they'll release a stable driver for linux I'll be sold. ATI/AMD's linux stability has always been so far behind nvidia's it's not even funny. Not that I blame them though, concentrating for the masses is a good business strategy, I know I'm an exception.
    Reply
  • gnesterenko
    Lost Planet is great and all, but how about optimizing for GTA IV? I know its a poorly ported game, but I'm sure theres SOME room for improvement?

    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
    Reply
  • jerreece
    The advanced state of our Windows 7 drivers this far ahead of the final Windows 7 release is yet another proof point of our graphics industry leadership.

    Give me a break. Just because you're the first to officially complete a Windows 7 Driver doesn't mean anything. Now, if you're the first, and your driver performs very well, and is completely stable, then it might be something. But that doesn't necessarily provide proof in and of itself that you're the industry leader in my opinion.

    I think AMD is tooting it's own horn a bit to much here.
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    jerreece Now, if you're the first, and your driver performs very well, and is completely stable, then it might be something.
    So far, it's been all of those things. Despite ATI's driver team being notorious for bugs and poor performance upgrades, they've done a pretty stellar job with Win7 so far.
    Reply
  • truehighroller
    I am on these drivers with my right now "single, because I just had to order a FPS power booster to be able to use my second card. My power supply can't handle all the AMPS being pulled with this setup." 4870 1GB HIS card and everything seems good.

    I benchmarked a score of 10880 with 3DMark Vantage and I have to mention my Q9450 is at 3.86GHZ as well so that does help a little with the score.. They installed a lot easier then normal. I was waiting to have to go into local and local low folders and delete stuff to install but nope. My 9.2 Drivers however had to be forced off my system with .net driver cleaner because of a uninstall glitch that made the program hang.
    Reply