Introduction

For quite a while, NVIDIA has led ATI in driver user interface capabilities. The ForceWare driver series has supplied users with all kinds of options. NVIDIA owners have been able to have more control over the functionality of their cards than ATI owners through the ability to disable or enable advanced optimizations. ForceWare even allows users to associate certain settings with a particular game, allowing users to pick optimal settings once for each game.

Today, ATI fights back against NVIDIA on the software front and provides an extensive, clean, and powerful user interface in their Catalyst Control Center. We will take a look at the features of the new interface and just what ATI has done differently this time around.



The fist thing that we will look at is the technology behind the new user interface from ATI. This time around, they decided to go with Microsoft's .NET as a backbone. The features that they include offer more control for the power user and greater accessibility for those who want to play computer games, but don't understand the difference between anisotropic filtering and a trout. Let's dive in and see what's under the hood of the Catalyst Control Center.

In The Belly Of The .NET Beast
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  • Bluefront - Monday, September 06, 2004 - link

    So is this new control panel of any use to a non-gamer? Will it have any benefits to people who use AIW cards for their multi-media capabilities? Reply
  • bobbenedetti - Sunday, September 05, 2004 - link

    On my computer with Windows XP SP2 CCC stumbles through half a dozen errors on startup delaying startup of my antivirus and messenger.
    Way too much overhead for what it does.

    I deleted it.
    Reply
  • HermosaBeach - Sunday, September 05, 2004 - link

    Questsion - I downloaded the new full package (driver and new CCC) on Sept 3. It was 42 MB. I then uninstalled my old 4.8 with the old control panel, rebotted, and then installed the new one. My control panel still looks like the old one ? Is there something I have to do to get the control panel to switch to the new looking skin ? I would like to try out the anti-aliasing and AF demo.

    Dave
    Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    val - I have serious difficulty believing your claims. Nearly every programmer I know would laugh silly at what your saying. Yes there is a place for ASM, however there is also a reason we developed higher level languages.

    As for the 'driver' taking up more memory...well, who cares if it does not impact performance in any way, shape, or form, which is my point. Memory management means more than memory footprint these days. Its part of the point of .NET. You can go on about how its not asthetically pleasing to you to see a driver taking up so much, but when it comes down to it, its an argument of what you 'like' rather than any valid complaint about the driver or its performance impact on your system.
    Reply
  • val - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    last but not least, little more time you spend will save lot of time of all users of your applications. Reply
  • val - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    And to your examples, i am not student anymore, i must not write again what was already written. But thinking in ASM makes you better programmer. Not like you see in many C codes, where many users are not thinking about how each function will take long time to execute (for example usage of timer related code or string related code in many games in main thread, no use for binary search where it is possible, no use of hash search where it helps,...).
    Valerie
    Reply
  • val - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    JarredWalton: i am ASM programmer, and trust me or not it takes no longer time. I do not write whole program in ASM, but nearly all executive functions. In fact, the programming of alghoritms is not easier in C/C++ because functions are more or less same. Many functions you have not in C at all or it is too complicated to use (SSE,...). C is easier for OS related code, and so on.
    For example I wrote SD card reading/writing for PIC whole in ASM, you cannot do it faster in C, only searching and installing compiler will take you longer. Same with my other projects. Just write the frame in C, executive functions in ASM. What C have what ASM not?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    "assembly code is not about to debug ten years, it is about to write code for same time but write it good."

    That sounds like something a person who has never written assembly would say. My ASM experience amounts to one class. The final project was a stinking bubble sort algorithm! Sort 10000 integers using a bubble sort. God, I could write that up in C in about an hour, probably less.

    Well, that simple project took roughly two weeks of my life, and I was probably the best ASM programmer in the class. Half of my time in the computer lab was spent helping other people figure out why the hell their computer kept crashing every time they ran their code. (Ah, the joys of the old Mac OS with no protected memory....)

    If you still don't get it, read that again. A BUBBLE SORT algorithm took two weeks to write in assembly! Granted, I was a programming neophyte back then, but I doubt anyone could write and debug an ASM routine to do a bubble sort in less than a day (without copying/reusing existing code).

    Sure, it was fast when it was done, but I could have written a quick sort algorithm in C in less time that would have been much faster due to the use of a better algorithm. If you think writing a bubble sort in ASM would be hard, try writing a quick sort....
    Reply
  • val - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    Reflex: i agree with you and i will not complain about usage of game, office or photoshop, but drivers?! Resident services and applications must be small! Reply
  • val - Saturday, September 04, 2004 - link

    assembly code is not about to debug ten years, it is about to write code for same time but write it good.
    And memory usage hurts performance, because many applications are checking how much memory is available before they will alocate it. And i do not like swapping.
    Reply

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