Catalyst 5.7 Drivers: Memory Limited Performance Improvementsby Josh Venning on August 13, 2005 12:05 AM EST
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HyperMemoryHyperMemory is essentially a memory management system. Put very simply, it's meant to extend the apparent memory capacity of a card by transferring data into the system RAM if needed. This is similar to the way Windows sometimes pages data in system RAM to the hard drive when more space is needed.
This system won't have much of an effect on higher memory cards. HyperMemory has already been implemented in earlier versions of the catalyst driver, but only for specially designated cards with less than 64MB of RAM. With Catalyst 5.7, ATI has included HyperMemory style memory management on 64MB and 128MB cards as well.
PCI Express motherboards will make best use of this system, but theoretically, you won't see as much of an improvement with HyperMemory on an AGP board due to its limited bandwidth. It definitely wouldn't hurt your framerates though, and in some cases, it will improve them, specifically on games with higher memory usage running 1600x1200 with AA/AF enabled.
In the past, there was some confusion about whether ATI's HyperMemory is hardware or software based. We suspected it to be mostly software even though there were a few products billed as HyperMemory cards. But with the latest catalyst release, we now find that HyperMemory is solely a software technology.
In the release notes for catalyst 5.7, ATI makes some pretty big claims about their latest driver. We were inclined to do some tests and see for ourselves what kinds of improvements the new drivers would have, and if they were really as dramatic as ATI said they would be. As the release notes also state, these performance gains only apply to 64MB and 128MB cards.
Here are some of the improvements that ATI claims are "most apparent" in the latest driver:
- 5-15% gain in 3DMark05 on some products
- 20-60% gain in Far Cry Regulator across multiple settings
- 25-60% gain in Half-Life 2 at 1600x1200 4xAA 8xAF
- 40-60% gain in UT2004 at 1600x1200 6xAA 16xAF
- 50-100% improvement in Comanche4 at 1600x1200 6xAA 16xAF
- 50-200% gain in certain ShaderMark tests at high resolution