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Introduction

Our express-test sessions upon release of new ATI and Nvidia graphics card drivers have already become a good tradition. We only make exceptions when the developer claims there are no performance improvements or any significant functionality changes.  The recently released Catalyst 9.6 is not one of those exceptions for sure, because Advanced Micro Devices promises a significant performance boost in several games, such as:

  • Company of Heroes – performance improves up to 25% with HD 4600 series products and below as well as improvements of up to 10% on HD 4800 series
  • Crysis – performance improves up to 13% in multi-GPU configurations
  • Crysis Warhead – performance improves up to 11% in multi-GPU configurations
  • World in Conflict – performance improvements of up to 30% can be seen in settings that were previously CPU limited

We believe this is reason enough to perform another test session and check out if the above mentioned promises really take place in the new Catalyst 9.6 driver version. As usual, besides performance benefits, the new ATI driver version fixes some of the existing issues. Namely, they resolved the following:

  • Opening Crossfire pages no longer causes Catalyst Control Center to stop responding
  • Changing the bitrate slider values, while transcoding WMV files, no longer causes Catalyst Control Center to stop responding
  • On some systems configurations, the Overdrive options no longer fails to display
  • Catalyst Control Center content no longer appears interlaced when automatic deinterlacing is enabled
  • Display settings no longer missing when hot plugging a CRT display in clone mode

They also claim that the following fixes are in place for the Windows Vista operating system:

  • On some configurations, video artifacts are no longer visible during playback of Avivo transcoded video files
  • Second adapter will now run at default minimum clock values, instead of custom
  • Corruption and flickering no longer visible when switching between window and full screen mode when playing Crysis

Besides, they have also resolved a number of issues with Catalyst functioning in Windows 7 OS. You can find the complete list of improvements and fixes on the official Advanced Micro Devices site in the section devoted to ATI Radeon HD graphics card drivers. As for us, we are primarily interested in checking out if the claimed gaming performance improvement will prove true.

 
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