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Today, on the 17th of August, 2009, AMD is introducing its new driver for Radeon series graphics cards. The Catalyst driver is regularly updated once in a month, the new version being number 9.8. The driver is WHQL-certified by Microsoft and is the second Catalyst version to support the new operating system Windows 7 besides the widespread Windows XP and Windows Vista. In this report I am going to benchmark two graphics cards with the new driver.

First, let’s see what changes are declared for the new Catalyst. The new interface of the Control Panel has been inherited by version 9.8 (00_cat98) from the previous 9.7, and I think it is indeed more user-friendly and intuitive. However, it is gaming performance that we all are interested in. Radeon HD 4870 X2 and HD4xxx-based CrossFireX tandems are claimed to deliver a 50% performance boost at resolutions of 1680x1050 and higher in certain games, e.g. in Far Cry 2.

In particular AMD claims to offer the following performance improvements in the new driver version:

  • Battleforge DirectX 10/DirectX 10.1 - performance improves up to 15-50% in CPU limited settings with the largest gains in CrossfireX configurations
  • Company of Heroes DirectX 10 - performance improves by up to 10-77% in CPU limited settings
  • Crysis DirectX 10 - Dual CrossfireX performance improves as much as 10% and Quad CrossfireX performance improves as much as 34% in CPU limited settings
  • Crysis Warhead DirectX 10 - Dual CrossfireX performance improves as much as 7% and Quad CrossfireX performance improves as much as 69% in CPU limited settings
  • Far Cry 2 DirectX 10 - Dual CrossfireX performance improves as much as 50% and Quad CrossfireX performance improves as much as 88% in CPU limited settings
  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. DirectX 10/DirectX 10.1 - Dual CrossfireX performance improves up to 40% in CPU limited settings with Quad CrossfireX performance improving up to 60% in CPU limited settings
  • UnigineTropics OpenGL - performance improves 5-20%
  • UnigineTropics DirectX 10 - Quad CrossfireX performance improves 5-20% in CPU limited settings
  • World in Conflict DirectX 10 - performance improves by 5-10%

Besides, AMD says that AMD-based graphics cards may perform better if installed in PCs with AMD’s CPUs. I will not check out this claim in this review because most users stick to Intel’s platform and anyway I wouldn’t have been able to benchmark the driver with two graphics cards and on two platforms due to time constraints.

 
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