In The Belly Of The .NET Beast

ATI decided to take a different approach this time around. The Catalyst Control Center (CCC) is written as a client/server pair, and allows for much extensibility and customization. All the underlying work of communicating with the driver has been taken care of in the server, which also exposes hooks to adjust any of the settings that ATI allows to be changed.



In talking about the usefulness of this, ATI has stated that vendors will now be able to customize effectively and quickly the control center for their product. We will also probably see UI mods from industrious users who want to add or subtract functionality, as the programming interface is not being kept private.

There are a couple of downsides to going with .NET for a graphics driver user interface. First, the client and server are constantly running. Second, the .NET framework from Microsoft is required (available via Windows Update). These aren't major kinks, but they definitely are not desirable. Probably the most annoying issue that we ran into is that installing the .NET framework made it such that our main user account didn't auto-login anymore. This was easily fixed and not that big of a deal (and it's also Microsoft's problem).

The 60 or 70 extra megs of memory used and multiple extra processes running are not what resource snobs are going to want to see, but ATI provided us a FAQ that addresses multiple questions about resources. They state that the CCC will release any memory that it occupies if another process requests it. We don't have a good way of testing this right now, but we can say that we haven't observed any performance drop in games due to the new UI. Maybe we should run Winstone to see if it impacts normal usage models.

So now that we know a little bit about how the CCC was built, let's take a look at what it does.

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  • ProviaFan - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    The framework comes integrated in SP2, not SP1, IIRC. :)

    But in that case, just get MS to send you a free SP2 CD (no shipping, even), and you'll get the framework also without having to download it (that could be a problem for the people in rural areas with unreliable 21.6k dialup - I was there once, and I feel sorry for them, because they have no other options).
    Reply
  • nserra - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    Interesting, have money for the superb 6800 card but don’t have for a cheap 128Kb-512Kb internet access.

    THE FACTS:
    ATI 4.8 VS ATI 4.7
    Driver: 8.25MB VS 8.35MB
    Control Panel: 10.8MB VS 13.6MB
    New driver IS SMALLER.

    Control Center you are not obliged to install IT! If you don’t want it! In fact you don’t even need to install the Control Panel in order to play games.

    Nvidia good drivers are not that good now, because ati have catched up. Not because they are worst.

    And I am a .NET programmer and it rocks, so stop complying.
    And about the fact you have to install the frame work, I am not sure but I think its part of SP1, so maybe you guys already have it installed and don’t even KNOW!
    Reply
  • Reflex - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    #28: I only wish more people understood this concept. Its the future of programming and one of the many benefits of the .NET architecture. No longer will apps be bound by memory limitations, and system performance will not be hindered so much by multi-tasking...

    Its a good thing.
    Reply
  • Novaoblivion - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    As a .NET developer I know that the releasing of memory when it is needed is true. I have played around with it a lot as when I first started using .NET I was concerned about losing a lot of memory to the runtime. However it does realease the memory and I havent seen any performance problems again. Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    /grumpy old man voice

    When I was a kid, we didn't have any gig of ram, we didn't even have a meg of ram. We had 16k of ram (that's a kilobyte of those of you under 30), and we LIKED it! We wrote interrupt service routines that fit into the unused half of a 256-byte casette tape buffer! Our floppy disks actually were floppy, and stored a mere 90k, and we LIKED it by golly!

    \end grumpy old man voice
    Reply
  • steeplerot - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    I would install .net if it would upgrade an ATI card to a GT. Reply
  • l3ored - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    it doesnt include the ability to overclock (not suprised) which would have been nice since it has radlinker-like abilities built in. anyone know if theres 3rd party sofware out there for it? Reply
  • flexy - Thursday, September 02, 2004 - link

    >>>
    the actuall downlaod of the catalyst 4.8 drivers with display driver, contral panel, catalyst control center, and capture wdm driver is only 41 megs. 26 megs with out ccc.
    >>>

    not that it bugs me (anymore) since i am on cable.

    But...seriously...noone ever think its only a bit "weird" that a device driver/control-panel now is a whopping 41MB just for the download ???? It's a f****g driver.....and after you adjust your settings (OG/D3D etc.) you USUALLY dont see a lot of the control panel anymore anyway.
    Oh...and i forgot...you need .NET

    Lol, i am coming from a generation where i had a whole OS running on 512K..and i remember tiems when a whole HD fit 40MB.

    And now we need 41MB just for ONE DRIVER <---- :)

    I know for sure that i will hold off with this control panel 'til i have my new build w/ >1Gig of Ram..IF I WILL EQUIP the new PC w/ an ATI card (oups) THAT IS..which is unlikely at the moment. (preference goes to 6800Gt right now, only R500 can save me i guess :)


    Reply
  • ProviaFan - Thursday, September 02, 2004 - link

    40MB downloads are nothing on dialup, if you plan it right. Just run it overnight, like I would have if it weren't for the DSL I got a few weeks ago.

    For those of you bitching about having to install .NET, get over it! It's basically like the next VB runtime, except slightly bigger, and for multiple languages. You'll have to install it someday, because more and more apps (including ones you _really want_) will require it (unless you're using Linux then, you're probably immune ;-).
    Reply
  • mlittl3 - Thursday, September 02, 2004 - link

    There it is done.

    From the time of my last posting, I

    1)downloaded and installed .NET 1.1
    2)downloaded ATI's CCC and Catalyst drivers 4.8
    3)uninstalled Catalyst driver 4.7 and rebooted
    4)installed the ATI's CCC and Catalyst drivers 4.8 and rebooted

    I also downloaded and installed Windows Media player 10 in that time just for sh**s and giggles (I use iTunes but I like to poke fun at microsoft by comparing the two players).

    No demonic hand burst out of my computer to rip out my heart. Everything works just fine. The only thing I noticed was that after installed the CCC and Catalyst driver 4.8 and rebooted, my resolution was changed to 1280x1024 from 1024x768. Big deal, I changed it back in 2 seconds.

    I'm sure everyone else with have a similar experience. Have fun kids.
    Reply

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