While we were at CES, AMD briefed us about several things. We’ve already had a chance to tell you about the Redwood chip behind the Radeon HD 5670 and 5570, and the Cedar chip behind the Radeon HD 5450. There was one last thing we haven’t had a chance to tell you about yet, and that’s drivers. Along-side our briefings about AMD’s new cards, they spent some time discussing what would be happening with the Catalyst 10.2 and Catalyst 10.3 drivers.

The Catalyst 10.2 drivers come out today, while the Catalyst 10.3 drivers will be next month’s release. We’ll just jump right in to the heart of things and list what’s coming with each release:

Catalyst 10.2

  1. Crossfire profile – Per-game Crossfire profiles are being moved out of the drivers, so that AMD can distribute out-of-band profile updates.
  2. CrossfireX rearchitecture - Certain parts of AMD’s multi-GPU code has been moved from the 3D driver to another driver component; this segmentation is largely to benefit Fuzion integrated CPU/GPUs later this year.
  3. Ultra Low Power State – This feature for lower-idling on Crossfire slave cards has been in the entire 5000 series. However it’s only being enabled across the board starting with this release.
  4. Crossfire Eyefinity – Eyefinity now works with all Crossfire configurations, not just on the 5970..
  5. DisplayPort Audio – The 5000 series is now capable of outputting audio over the DisplayPort in accordance with the DisplayPort standard.

Catalyst 10.3

  1. Catalyst Mobility – AMD will once again be releasing Catalyst drivers for most Mobility GPUs.
  2. Eyefinity Bezel Correction – Eyefinity setups can finally be adjusted to compensate for the space occupied by monitor bezels.
  3. Eyefinity Per Display Controls – Per display color correction, particularly useful for mismatched monitors.  
  4. Eyefinity Multiple Groups
  5. Eyefinity Display Configuration Switching
  6. 3D Stereo driver hooks – AMD is implementing some low-level hooks to help 3rd-party 3D displays work with Radeon cards.

For today’s 10.2 release, much of what AMD is enabling has already snuck out in earlier driver releases in some form or another. December’s 9.12 Hotfix enabled Crossfire Eyefinity, DisplayPort Audio, and Ultra Low Power State, so it’s best to think of the 10.2 driver as the shipping version of what we saw with the 9.12 hotfix.

10.3 on the other hand has not been released in a hotfix form, so everything here is brand-new.

10.2: Ultra Low Power State Confusion & Crossfire Eyefinity
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  • anactoraaron - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    yeah "fast and versitile control panel" that doesn't include any overclocking option. And why is that again? Oh yeah, Nvidia cards these days (provided you acutally are getting "new" technology and not a rebrand) run HOT. And looking at load temps/power usage from any other article on this fine website will show proof of that. OC with them with no water cool and you are asking for trouble. And don't even get me started with all of the issues with nTune... I lost count of all the times nTune crashed my pc with my 8800... Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    stop useing caps (please press report post to remove users post like this) Reply
  • bim27142 - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    man, chill... if you don't want CCC, then just download the drive only and then get yourself some other softwares (say ATI Tray Tools perhaps?) Reply
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    I'm just glad they will finally have monthly drivers for my wife's laptop so I'm not at the mercy of HP deciding they want to support it. Her machine can't do full screen Flash with the CPU only, and HP has refused to release an updated driver with Flash 10.1 acceleration support, even though they could, so hopefully by next month she'll be watching Hulu on her laptop full screen. Reply
  • RaynorWolfcastle - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    While all this is great, I think ATI should instead focus on fixing the grey screen bug that shows up on Win7 x64. My 5770 is all but unusable because it crashes every 30 mins while I'm browsing the web. Unfortunately, this issue is not a bad card but a widespread issue with the current drivers that affects several brands and models. Google "grey screen of death" to see what I mean.

    So AMD, how about we start with the basics, and get your cards to work without crashing instead of these new features?
    Reply
  • heymrdj - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Now if only drivers would get rid of this random problem.. Reply
  • FXi - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    If AMD manages to get mobile drivers out this could be doom for Nvidia in the mobile space.

    DX11 (judging by Nvidia's silence on the mobile DX11 topic) is apparently not within Nvidia's capability this year. It's not even on the roadmaps. Fermi is big and hot, not mobile. Now mind you, AMD has been "talking" mobile drivers for a year and has yet to deliver, so there is that weakness to this. But if AMD is DX11, and the only mobile DX11 solution, with drivers on top of that, Nvidia can wave bye bye to all their mid to high end GPU solutions for laptops.

    To top it off AMD's mobile solutions are all 40nm, so they are lower power than Nvidia's high end mobile solutions.

    If Nvidia has a flag to wave, they had better wave it soon. The DX11 mobile parts are here. Drivers come in 30 days. And the marketshare shift comes after that. That spells doom and gloom for Nvidia's sales.
    Reply
  • Ramon Zarat - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Very nice article.

    Despite the fact that I recognize ATI tremendous progression on the driver front in recent years, in many respects, they are unfortunately still behind Nvidia.

    On the other hand, they definitively have the current hardware market lead and momentum. And to be honest, their drivers have not been this close to Nvidia, ever. So close, but still so far at he same time...

    To really take the longterm control of the GPU market, they must pull all the stops and take the lead from Nvidia within the next 10 months. Once you have missed this windows of opportunity, it's too late. ATI have proven they can execute flawlessly on the hardware level with the impressive roll-out of the 5000 series. Now they need to do the same of the software side of the equation.

    In the mid-term, GPGPU, or more to the point OpenCL, will become much more than just the niche market CUDA is right now, more or less confined to the role of marking bragging rights and branding technological statement. It will soon become, if not already the case, a major purchasing decision factor.

    Just like Adobe flash, despite currently being based on Microsoft proprietary DXVA2, more and more apps will become GPGPU aware. Logically, sooner than later, every applications will take advantage of it simply because of the decisive market edge it will provide. Anything that don't will instantly become obsolete. That mean all and every applications requiring more juice than Microsoft calculator or Solitaire...

    2011 is shaping up to be the Opencl year and as such, a significant turning point in the overall computing balance of power. ATI can't afford to miss that boat and must in fact imperatively be ahead of that game. That's crucial for them as for the AMD's branch fusion platform. Integration and convergence will be more prevalent than ever.

    There are much more things to do than just OpenCl, but in my opinion, that should be priority number one. The fact they are so behind in that department is obvious if you compare Stream with Cuda market penetration, drivers maturity, OpenCL SDK and their overall strategy. Add to this the need to be ahead 10 months from now means only one thing: MAJOR R&D spending and hire A LOT of software engineers!

    Anything less would qualify as a monumental missed opportunity as such fundamental transitive market vectors (GPGPU and OpenCL) are a very rare occurrence in the computing technological evolution cycle. It's not everyday that a technology goes from a totally exclusive vertical gaming centric focus to a complete horizontal, general purpose capable device delivering, in a variety of applications, 30 to 100% processing speed acceleration, and in some situations a lot more than that compare to CPU alone!

    In fact, I can't even remember anything close the near-paradigm of the current situation since the inception of electronic digital computing device with the introduction, in 1937, of the Atanasoff–Berry computer. In all that time, we have witnessed many incredible innovations and actual real paradigms shift, but as far as I know, nothing like this transmutation of an existing technology. It's like the GPU went from the confine of its larva state to finally hatch and achieve its full GPGPU potential! OpenCL is the mean to open that floodgate. That's why it's so important ATI make this happen, fast.


    Ramon
    Reply
  • R3MF - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    I want it AMD, and it want it installed by default in the catalyst driver. Reply
  • tntomek - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    The 5000 series mobile GPU adoption is seriously hurting. Dell has nothing, HP only has the envy which is great if only if were available in Canada/UK for less than $2199

    And what really is the point of i5 if I can't switch and run on Intel graphics when I'm working in Word, doesn't have to be pretty and automatic just give me the option if even via reboot or logout. No need for slow notebook and sweaty palms in 2010.
    Reply

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