About three weeks ago, I met with AMD to go over some concerns with their Enduro graphics switching technology. At the time, AMD gave me a preview release of their Mobility Catalyst driver and promised a public beta by the end of October. We’re over a month ahead of that schedule, and today I received an email from AMD indicating the Catalyst 12.9 Beta for laptops is officially available.

I’m still working on the final review of the Clevo P170EM with 7970M from AVADirect, but in the meantime I’ve updated to the 12.9 Beta and everything appears to have gone smoothly. One thing to be aware of is that the current beta may not fix the GPU underutilization issue, particularly with HD 7970M, but AMD is working on a hotfix. They expect that to be released to the public in the next week or two, and they’re offering us a chance to do some early testing of the driver so we’ll be putting it through some tests over the next couple of days.

For all of you that have Enduro/PowerXpress 4.0 or later laptops and have been waiting for a driver update, head on over to AMD’s site and grab the latest beta. If you give it a shot and have a minute, post your comments on how the new drivers work (or don’t?) on your laptop. We’d love to get a collection of testing results from a wider variety of hardware than what we currently have on hand.

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  • Bob Todd - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the feedback Jarred, and for all the nice Enduro coverage. I knew what a sorry state the driver support was in before my purchase, mostly from reading previous coverage here. I just hope AMD pulls through for everyone whose hardware is capable. If not, I'll probably be looking for something new shortly after the Haswell release, and eBay can find a new home for this one. Reply
  • HOODY - Saturday, September 29, 2012 - link

    Well I'm with you on this one Bob,

    I have a dv7 6c00 2670QM with the same card (7690M XT) and this Intel 3000.

    I have been round and round with HP and AMD on this for 2 months, the only "hope" as you put it is that they (AMD) do get this insanity fixed, so we can ALL download drivers again from the maker of our cards, not the maker of our laptops.

    I have one other thought though, if AMD does finally get the switchable graphics thing under control on their end, what would that mean for the Intel 3000 graphics driver? Would that driver be left as is? or does it also need to be updated? and by whom? Intel? if so how do you just install that driver so as not to effect the AMD part?.

    Man I just don't think whom ever came up with this bright idea thought it through to start with. I would be fine to be able to just disable the 3000 altogether some how and use only this 7690M XT, and have AMD come up with a driver that would be able to power down the 7690 if needed too on battery.

    Anyway, I'm "hoping" too.

    I just started using a laptop , have only used desktops, so never had any problem like this with drivers not being able to be gotten direct from the graphics maker.
    Reply
  • Bob Todd - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I'm actually more annoyed with HP than AMD. The only graphics drivers for this laptop are from the initial release. The AMD driver in the bundle will be a year old tomorrow! And the newer Ivy Bridge version hasn't had any updates since release either. That's nuts for their "high end" consumer gear.

    Depending on what your needs are, you may want to check out the unofficial drivers here...
    http://leshcatlabs.net/

    All the caveats of hacked up drivers apply, but it's probably as good as you are going to get until HP posts some updates or AMD works through the remaining Enduro issues. They work fine for me in Windows 7 x64 (Envy 15 3047NR). In WIndows 8, I get consistent crashes in Steam (with the bios set to dynamic or fixed). I haven't bothered to try overclocking the card with these drivers yet. The 7690M is just an underclocked 7690M XT, but it handles the XT clocks easily. I think they went with a 7690M more for marketing reasons (to give the 17 inch version with the XT a "better" card) than out of thermal concerns in the 15 inch chassis.

    Sadly I won't be surprised if AMD doesn't have updated (and Windows 8 compatible) drivers until well after October 26th.

    As for the Intel drivers, if all ends up well in Enduro land, you'll just grab one driver from Intel and one from AMD and be on your way. The reference Intel drivers are also much newer than what HP has available, shocking I know.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    As an interesting aside, on the Sony VAIO C after installing the 12.9 Beta, AMD suggested perhaps the problem with the global lists not showing up was that the driver targeted a more recent Intel driver. I figured anything was possible so I gave it a shot.

    First step: try to install the latest 2712 Intel driver. FAIL! Intel's driver detects that I'm running an OEM-specific driver build and refuses to install.

    Step two: uninstall Intel drivers, reboot, install 2712 Intel driver. SUCCESS! Sort of...

    Step three: Enduro is totally gone now, so I try to install it. Nope. So I try cleaning out all AMD drivers, reinstall the Intel driver, and then try the AMD drivers again. Still the same problem: no Enduro support after this.

    Step four: Mostly working Enduro is better than no Enduro (or more specifically, no AMD GPU at all!), so I try to go back to the custom Sony driver. FAIL! It acts like it installs fine, but upon rebooting the AMD GPU is still MIA. So I uninstall all the AMD drivers, uninstall the Intel drivers, reboot, reinstall the custom monolithic Sony drivers (Intel + AMD in one package), reboot, and then reinstall the 12.9 Beta. Hooray! I'm back to where I was before step one, only a couple hours later.

    Obviously, AMD is still working on this stuff -- it's basically where NVIDIA was about two years ago in terms of mobile driver support. I hope that by the end of the year, all PowerXpress 4.0 and later laptops will be properly supported and working... and then most likely AMD will start killing off anything older than 6000M series shortly thereafter (though maybe it won't be quite so soon).
    Reply
  • HOODY - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Good grief!!!! no way do I want to go through all that if that's what ends up trying the Enduro driver.

    Something that will put a wrench in the gears with that point about killing off older cards, is that most if not ALL these 76xx type cards on these laptops are no more that 6xxx cards, as I seen on some blogs that when people install these driers their cards are no longer seen as 76xx but as 6xxx, ie 7690M XT as a 6770M. So what ever AMD does with this they will most certainly have to take that into consideration as these laptops will be around a few years yet, like I just got mine 2 months ago and am not going out to buy another one just for the drivers,

    I did state in one of my emails to AMD that if this doesn't get resolved I will no longer be looking at their products, I said if they (AMD) can paste that nice red RADEON sticker on my machine they (AMD) should be supporting that item, or else don't advertise it. As for now their tool for finding my graphics card (7690M XT) says its not supported.

    I just set up my CPA buddy's ACER machine last night, it came with one card, the Gforce 650, shows a better clock speed and memory clock than mine, took a update from NVIDIA right off the shelf and is running fine with their setup for switchable stuff something called Optimus I think. I was really annoyed when I saw how easy that went for him, and knowing any update from his card maker will be downloadable right from NVIDIA.

    As I said, don't think this Switchable thing was R&D enough at the get go. Only ONE card should be in ONE machine that has the ability to just automatically power down when on battery. And ONE maker does the drivers. I don't really expect HP, ACER, or any other computer builder to be making drivers for the hardware makers of their products, all those guys do is put the "parts" together.
    Reply
  • hqt4991 - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    First of all thanks Jarred for being the only writer I know that seriously look into this whole Enduro situation. You are awesome.

    I own a HP dv7t with a 6770M and Switchable Graphics (PowerXpress, Enduro, whatever they call it). Coincidentally, I have tried all the steps you mentioned above, with exactly the same outcome. My conclusion is that if you install any kind of generic Intel drivers, then your laptop is screwed. Also, this 12.9 Beta package can only be installed on top of either an OEM package or Leshcat package, which is kind of useless because ALL drivers from AMD website can do that.
    Reply
  • HOODY - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Hy Bob, yeah been to leashcat site and read all, also posted my questions, but don't feel all that comfortable installing some "modded" drivers esp ones that are still in testing mode.

    I will be upgrading my system after Oct 26th to W8 Pro anyway using their $15 upgrade deal, so I figure I may as well wait it out till than and see what transpires between HO and AMD on this driver issue. I assume by the time AMD has (IF they have) a working solution HP will most likely have a W8 driver ready for our laptops. It may however only be their own "modded" mess of the old driver set just to make it work on 8.

    I got this laptop at a good price for the hardware $550 incl shipping but now on hind sight unless this driver mess gets solved by AMD the maker of my main high end card, I feel I won't be happy with it for the time I use it.

    HP dv7t-6c00, 2670QM, 8g ram, 7690M XT 2g gddr5, 1920x1080 17.3 screen, BD reader CD, bluetooth, 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0, fingerprint reader. wifi.

    Only other complaint I have is I find this 7690M XT w/gddr5 is supposed to be 900MHz memory clock, yet every gpu program shows it @800MHz max. Only way I get it up is to OC it to 900. SO even that is misleading.
    Reply
  • TrantaLocked - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Hoody, installing Windows 8 will only lead to more driver problems. Go ahead and grab the software, but I'd advise against installing it. The desktop/laptop industry is not moving to the OS as it offers nothing but a new UI meant for tablets. AMD and Nvidia already feel pressured by Microsoft since they are forced to support dynamic switching for Windows 8, and then you have Microsoft banning start bar addons for Win 8. Microsoft is taking a VERY strong step in one direction, and it would be best to wait to see whether that is a step into lava or diamonds. Reply
  • HOODY - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    @ TrantaLocked, yeah well I have a plan to get the upgrade, install it and do a image backup, than replace my earlier image of W7 anyway. I figure things are only going to go down hill for a while. And as I said several times, unless AMD gets its act together and finds a way to buddy up with Intel for at least this one thing until its past and we get back to ONE "dedicated" GPU from ONE maker again, I will not buy any more products with this card, only NVIDIA.

    I think that this "switchable" stuff will end up trashed by both makers anyway as it didn't turn out as planned by either. I see where it was an idea to save battery time, but I don't think they thought about the driver issues. So the only solution I czn see is in the future, ONLY one GPU will be installed, that will be able to just power down itself when its on battery only, and fire back up in clock speed when it senses the plug in,

    Don't know why these "smart" people didn't just think of that at the get go.
    Reply
  • KyleH334 - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    Any update on when we can expect the under utilisation fix yet? Where and how do you update the fix? Sory I'm new to all this!! Reply

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