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Facelift: The ATi Radeon 9600 XT

New Drivers - Catalyst V3.8, Continued

The new "VPU Recover" feature also deserves to be mentioned. Should the 3D driver crash while running a program, this feature can restart the driver, saving the user the hassle of rebooting the entire computer. All you need to do is restart the game.

As we mentioned above, Overdrive allows the driver to dynamically overclock the 3D chip. When Overdrive is activated in the driver, the software attempts to determine the chip's temperature. If there is enough headroom, it will increase the chip's clockspeed. At the time of our test, ATi for the individual clock speed increases had not determined the temperature thresholds. Although the Catalyst 3.8 driver already supports Overdrive, ATi still needs to add the temperature thresholds for the Radeon 9600 XT. For the time being that means that Overdrive will not yet work on the 9600 XT.

For reference, here are the Overdrive overclocking increments of the Radeon 9800 XT:

  • 56° C - 127 °C = 412 MHz (default speed)
  • 48°C - 59°C = 419 MHz
  • 0°C - 51°C = 432 MHz

Performance-wise, the driver is on a level with the older Catalyst 3.7. Although ATi claims to have achieved a 20% performance increase in the game "Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness," we did not see such an improvement. More to the point, the results you will see in our test suite show no difference in performance between the two driver versions. More detailed information on bug fixes and the new features implemented in the new Catalyst driver can be found in the release notes .