AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta Drivers Now Availableby Ryan Smith on February 25, 2014 12:00 PM EST
Just a bit over 3 weeks since the release of AMD’s Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers, AMD is back again with their first update to the Catalyst 14 series with the 14.2 betas. A direct continuation of the 14.1 betas (driver branch 13.35), these drivers contain a number of bug fixes for 14.1. Furthermore these drivers will also be AMD’s launch drivers for Thief, which is being released today.
As far as Thief is concerned, Thief is one of AMD’s showcase titles for their GCN marquee features, designed to showcase both Mantle and TrueAudio. Unfortunately, in something that’s becoming a trend with AMD joint projects, the actual GCN features aren’t in the launch version of Thief. Instead they will be added in a patch in March (hopefully), which this driver lays the groundwork for by enabling TrueAudio and providing the Mantle functionality Thief will need. In the meantime these are still the recommended drivers for Thief’s Direct3D renderer, serving as the validated launch drivers for that game along with the first driver set to provide a complete Crossfire profile.
Meanwhile for bug fixes, the focus is primarily on Mantle bugs, though a few Direct3D/OpenGL bugs are also covered.
- Hangs and stuttering resolved for the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4; users are now encouraged to try mGPU
- Multi-GPU frame pacing in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 is now enabled for non-XDMA configurations running resolutions >1600p.
- Mantle: Multi-GPU configurations (up to 4 GPUs) running Battlefield 4 are now supported
- We fixed Minecraft! Sorry about that, builders.
- Intermittent hangs and crashes should be resolved in 3D applications
- Thief: Crossfire Profile update and performance improvements for single GPU configurations
- Dual graphics DirectX 9 application issues have been resolved
- Resolves corruption issues seen in X-plane
Finally, AMD sends word that they’re also making a rather significant code drop this week to the open source Radeon drivers for Linux. The open source Radeon driver has traditionally lagged the closed source driver as AMD cleans up code and clears documentation for release, so this code drop should significantly close the gap between the two.
- Video Compression Engine (VCE) enabled for compatible GPU and APU products (e.g. GCN-based SKUs). Hardware-accelerated encode of H.264 now possible for 1080p60 content
- Video decode (UVD) performance and efficiency improvements for the AMD R9 290/290X, R9 260X, “Kaveri” and “Kabini”
- X-Video hardware video acceleration via the GLAMOR library now supported
- 2D acceleration via the GLAMOR library now enabled by default
- Substantial improvements to overall video transcode times for hardware-accelerated transcoding apps
- Tiling support now enabled on all GCN-based products
- Substantial OpenGL feature level upgrade to v4.3
- Major contributions to the Linux kernel 3.14 to improve dynamic power management, DisplayPort robustness and power efficiency on all GCN-based hardware
- New programming guides and register specifications released for HD 5000, 6000, 7000 and R9/R7 Series GPUs. This will enable volunteer and professional developers to contribute to the X.ORG OSS Radeon driver, and can facilitate porting to other non-Linux platforms.
The code drop isn’t a driver release on its own, but it should significantly improve future drivers built from the open source Radeon codebase.
As always, you can grab the Catalyst 14.2 beta driver from AMD’s driver download page. The driver weighs in at 287MB.