In The Belly Of The .NET Beast

ATI decided to take a different approach this time around. The Catalyst Control Center (CCC) is written as a client/server pair, and allows for much extensibility and customization. All the underlying work of communicating with the driver has been taken care of in the server, which also exposes hooks to adjust any of the settings that ATI allows to be changed.

In talking about the usefulness of this, ATI has stated that vendors will now be able to customize effectively and quickly the control center for their product. We will also probably see UI mods from industrious users who want to add or subtract functionality, as the programming interface is not being kept private.

There are a couple of downsides to going with .NET for a graphics driver user interface. First, the client and server are constantly running. Second, the .NET framework from Microsoft is required (available via Windows Update). These aren't major kinks, but they definitely are not desirable. Probably the most annoying issue that we ran into is that installing the .NET framework made it such that our main user account didn't auto-login anymore. This was easily fixed and not that big of a deal (and it's also Microsoft's problem).

The 60 or 70 extra megs of memory used and multiple extra processes running are not what resource snobs are going to want to see, but ATI provided us a FAQ that addresses multiple questions about resources. They state that the CCC will release any memory that it occupies if another process requests it. We don't have a good way of testing this right now, but we can say that we haven't observed any performance drop in games due to the new UI. Maybe we should run Winstone to see if it impacts normal usage models.

So now that we know a little bit about how the CCC was built, let's take a look at what it does.

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  • MaxisOne - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Oh WE WILL get a clue... and get a Nividia 6800GT... under NO circumstances is going on my system.. When Longhorn comes out thats a diff story but right now theres a choice and i have a radeon 9800 pro right now ... but i wont hesitate to switch when its in my interest. Reply
  • mlittl3 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Oh, no...ATI has updated their control panel and it requires a heftier download. I thought 100 years from now I will be able to download a 5 MB file size of catalyst driver 3.0 for my ATI Radeon XXX4008000+ XT Super Duper Platinum Edition with a 56k modem (extreme sarcasm).

    Give me a break people. 50% of internet users have broadband in this country which means a 50 MB download is like 20 seconds. Every company updates their drivers and control panel to something new and guess what, Longhorn will probably have .NET built in no matter how much you hate it. Get broadband, get a clue and stop complaining.
  • DEMO24 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    I havent figured out why the writer wants a XP skin so much. The one on the utility looks good and the XP ones are exactly beautiful. Not really sure how thats a disadvantage but alright. Reply
  • daniel1113 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Just so you all know (including whoever wrote this review), the ATI skins can be disabled and the default system skin enabled. Reply
  • Ardan - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Oh man, this isn't required use is it?
    I'll have 1GB of RAM before I get the 9800 Pro that I want (from MSI, of course), but if this is something that they want people to use from now on, then i'm probably going to sit and wait for a 6800 later on instead.
  • starjax - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    the actuall downlaod of the catalyst 4.8 drivers with display driver, contral panel, catalyst control center, and capture wdm driver is only 41 megs. 26 megs with out ccc. the ccc download only is 19 megs.

  • Da3dalus - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    How is the new profile management "simple and elegant"? It may be an improvement over the current control panels (almost non-existant) profile management, but it still appears overly complex and unintuitive.

    Is it even possible to use the profiles together with something like The All-Seeing Eye (my favourite server browser)?

    The nVidia way of handling application-specific profiles just seems much easier and less of a hassle to use.

    It's a nice initiative from ATI, the control panel does need updating, but the end result is disappointing :(
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    By the way... it can be found in the same area you normally get drivers on ATI's site. It's not worth it though... especially if you're on 56k. Reply
  • kuljc - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Yeah so like #6 said... where and when can we get this? I tried looking at ati's site, but with my SUPER FAST 56k I gave up.

    Also didn't read anywhere or maybe just missed it, but would it be ok to run older cats w/ this? For those of us who have the standby screen problem.
  • Reflex - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Many people do not seem to understand modern memory management. The amount of memory an application uses really dosen't matter much anymore unless it is truly obscene(Photoshop), what matters more is how that memory is managed. 60-70MB means nothing if that memory can be cleared at a whim for other applications, and it sounds like Ati has implemented it properly since they claim that it will.

    Run some benchmarks. It is unlikely that this application will slow down any other application on your system. If nothing else is slowed down by it, then what does it matter how much memory it takes up?

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