The graphics division of Advanced Micro Devices sticks to their schedule and releases new Catalyst driver versions once a month, which is reflected in their numeric indexes. As we have already found out, the first release of this year, version 9.1, did in fact ensure a significant performance improvement in certain games. However, it was not free from a number of issues. In particular, the video post-processing was disabled in for some reason, and there were some problems with enabling anisotropic filtering using the corresponding options in the Catalyst Control Center.
Since the second month of 2009 is almost over, it was time for ATI to release their next Catalyst version 9.2. And they didn’t keep us waiting any longer: the new ATI Catalyst driver was just announced following the recent 182.06 driver release from Nvidia. Of course, we are primarily interested in the possible changes that Catalyst 9.2 brings to certain games, and here is what it promises us:
- Up to 20% performance improvement in Crysis in DirectX 10 mode;
- Up to 20% performance improvement in Crysis Warhead in DirectX 10 mode;
- Up to 5% performance improvement in World in Conflict.
Besides that, the new ATI driver should have the following issues fixed:
- Catalyst Control Center now enables Anisotropic Filtering for DirectX 10 applications.
- In Call of Duty 4, some intermittent game corruption no longer occurs when soften smoke edges is enabled.
- With Anti-Alias enabled Doom3 no longer intermittently fails to start on some CrossFireX systems.
- Enemy Territory: Quake Wars corruption observed in the globe in the main menu no longer occurs.
- The display driver no longer fails to load on some systems with more than 8GB of system RAM.
- Resolved intermittent system instability with some ATI Radeon HD 4800 CrossFireX configurations.
They have also fixed a number of issues with the Catalyst Control Center that many users have been complaining about. Moreover, they have also resolved some video playback issues and eliminated the problems with HDMI devices connection. You can check out the complete list of fixes in this driver version on the official developer web-site.
Anyway, we are primarily interested in finding out how the new driver is going to behave in contemporary games. That is why we ran a number of performance tests of the new ATI Catalyst 9.2 driver in the games mentioned by ATI as well as in a few additional titles, where the new driver may prove better or worse than the old one.