AMD Posts Catalyst 12.1 Drivers, Catalyst 12.2 Previewby Andrew Cunningham on January 27, 2012 5:00 PM EST
AMD has posted its first Catalyst driver package of the new year, Catalyst version 12.1, the feature set of which hasn't changed much since the preview release - the banner feature is still custom application profiles, which allow users to create custom 3D and CrossFire setting for individual games. This has long been a feature offered by NVIDIA's driver packages, and it's nice to see AMD implementing it. AMD notes that users of the Catalyst 12.1 preview package should restore the Catalyst Control Center's default settings after upgrading to prevent compatibility issues.
The 12.1 drivers also enable 3D display support for CrossFireX setups, and a "Stereo 3D mode" over HDMI 1.4a connections which supports 1080p at 30Hz on displays that can take advantage of it. New video color and quality adjustment panels offer no new features but aim to simplify adjustment of those settings. A handful of game and bug fixes for Windows 7 and Vista users round out the release notes.
The Catalyst 12.2 preview, available here, focuses primarily on Eyefinity 2.1 improvements. These include a "larger" selection of resolutions are available, the drivers will automatically switch between different display configurations as monitors are plugged in and unplugged, the HydraVision software now allows the Windows taskbar to be moved and resized, and the driver also offers "increased support" for Display Groups, including groups of up to five monitors. Additionally, the 12.2 driver addresses many of the "known issues" with games present in the 12.1 drivers.
Interestingly, neither driver offers support for the newly-released Radeon HD 7970 cards—AMD says that 7970 users need to stick with the separate 8.921.2 RC11 driver, posted here. Given that the preview driver packages tend to be pretty representative of the final WHQL-certified versions, we may not see 7000-series support in the Catalyst packes until 12.3 (but hopefully not much later).
As usual, these drivers are available for desktops running 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista, and XP, and laptops running Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Most DirectX 10 and 11 capable cards, IGPs, and APUs in the 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 series are supported.