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Introduction

ATI Catalyst drivers development follows a very precise schedule. The number after the point in the driver index stands for the release month. Since February is over and March has already passed its middle, the time has come for the new ATI Catalyst driver version 9.3 to be released. So, what do the ATI Catalyst driver developers can tell us about the new version?

According to the release notes, Catalyst 9.3 doesn’t promise any performance breakthroughs in any of the contemporary games, except Lost Planet: Colonies shooter, where we should see up to 20% performance improvement for Radeon HD 4800 cards and up to 50% improvement for less powerful solutions, such as Radeon HD 4600, 4500 and 4300. They also mentioned that performance may increase in a few other cases when it is limited by the CPU. They also haven’t forgotten about Folding@Home distributed computing project fans: the performance in GPGPU mode is also supposed to be increased.

As usual, the new Catalyst release corrects a number of bugs and issues. This time, they are mostly connected with video playback in Windows Vista:

  • Video combing effects no longer visible during movie playback while fast forwarding or rewinding
  • Avivo Video Color Settings are now retained after resume from Sleep/Hibernate
  • Overlay Theater Mode is now enabled with component video or composite video in extended modes
  • Catalyst Control Center: Avivo Video Advanced Color page is no longer grayed out and preview is now functional
  • OpenGL games now play properly with "Show Crossfire logo…" option enabled
  • Rotation now works if Aero mode is turned off

Besides, Catalyst 9.3 is the first unified ATI driver supporting Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, although the latter is still under development and will see the light of day no sooner than in 6 months. This way AMD is trying to say that their graphics division is the leader in developing drivers for the upcoming OS that will replace Vista. According to the company officials, Catalyst 9.3 provides complete support for WDDM 1.1 in Windows 7. Moreover, the games should work faster under the new OS than under Windows Vista. We are not going to check out if these statements are true and correct within our today’s article, but we will return to this topic a little later and offer you a massive comparison of gaming performance under these two operating systems side by side.

We also have to say that Catalyst 9.3 is the last ATI driver to support ATI old Radeon lineups. Starting with the next version, the updates for Radeon X1x00 will be made on a quarterly basis, just like it used to be done before. This way the company is going to cease supporting the inherited solutions and will invest all their efforts into maximum support for the contemporary ATI Radeon models. Well, it is time to check out how gamers can benefit from installing the new Catalyst 9.3.

 
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