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.

Source: AMD

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  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    OK.

    Quick comment on Linux Radeon driver.

    For r600 hw, Radeon driver is better than Catalyst in all but two aspects: OpenGL version supported 3.3 vs 4.2 and performance for low-end and high-end GPUs (comes mainly due to highly tuned memory management in Catalyst, something which takes time to acheave).

    r600g on the other hand have better:
    * responsivenes - google "catalyst lag input"
    * video decode support - exposed via VDPAU api which is supported by all big media players
    * wine support - Catalyst is horrible here

    r600g is name for driver for r600 hardware -> radeon 4000 - 6000, APUs up to Trinity.
    Catalyst as a name cover wide range of hardware generations and just "Radeon" is good equivalent, however newer GCN based GPU's are served by radeonSI driver, which is quite fresh, and require cutting edge code, litterarly from under hands of AMD developers ;)
    (Though all the major Linux distros should have precompiled kernel/drm/mesa packages so its not hard)

    Even some game devs starts to recommend r600g over Catalyst. So this PR statement is quite significant.
    Reply
  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Or in shorter terms.

    Unless You have apps that refuse to work with OSS Radeon driver, its better to avoid Catalyst.*

    * PRO market is ofc. different.
    Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    The problem I have with the open source driver on my 7970 is that it doesn't slow the fan down to 20% from its boot speed of 35%. The gentle fan noise I get at idle with the open drivers drives me crazy and unlike Catalyst there doesn't seem to be a way to control the fan speed at all. Reply
  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    7970 is GCN, right? It got power(and hence fan) management identical to Catalyst only recently. Make sure that You use required version of kernel. (And that You have DPM turned on) Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Yep, that's with DPM turned on. The GPU sits in its lowest power state and idles at nice cool temperatures, but the drivers don't slow the fans down to match. Reply
  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Kernel with drm-next then? DPM work for GCN GPUs is still ongoing. Bugs are worked on, etc. Give me Your distribution name and I maybe I can even find some repo with daily builds of kernel. Reply
  • r3loaded - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    I'm using Arch, so I guess I'll try the linux-mainline package? Reply
  • stepz - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    I'm glad they are working on it. However in my case it's a bit too late, I just bought an Nvidia card to replace my Radeon as the open source driver was not able to configure a triple monitor setup and the proprietary driver produced a constant stream of various memory management stack traces in the kernel log. Reply
  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Oh. And in that AMD anouncment there is typo.

    It should be OpenGL 3.3 (And OpenGL ES 3.0). Not 4.3. Nobody in OSS camp support more than 3.3. Only some extensions. (List of what is supported by extension and OpenGL version can be found here: http://cgit.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/tree/docs/GL...

    Radeon driver support 6 extensions from 4.3 though.
    Reply
  • przemo_li - Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - link

    Hmm, and those docs...

    They contain all the information that AMD devs already put in code. So its nothing new, but just written properly. ;)
    Reply

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