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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  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    I don't care if it's streamlined or not, I refuse to run a driver control app that requires .NET. Period. If it gets to the point where I don't have a choice, I'll sell my Radeon 9700 and get a GeForce 6600GT or similar. 60-70megs won't just annoy "resource snobs"...60-70 megs is enough RAM for a major app all by itself. Reply
  • wassup4u2 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    I have an emachines notebook with a Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro. Will CCC/the normal Catalyst driver work with it?
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    You'd think being .NET it might run good... nope... it takes longer for it to save changes than ATI's previous drivers. It's very frustrating.

    My advice... don't download it. It's worthless. The application preferences don't work correctly for me with Doom 3. I can start Doom 3 normally, but when I try to use the shortcut ATI creates it doesn't work... and I can't see the exact error message because the stupid Windows error box covers up the Doom 3 window that shows where it gets stuck and exits.
  • Phiro - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    The message is clear; .Net for teh win.

    Seriously; we're using .Net more and more where I work, and maybe it's just the refactoring but when they rewrite something here to .Net we see HUGE improvements in stability, performance, etc.

    OTOH, new development in .Net here hasn't been so good.
  • gsellis - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    I suspect the package is so big because they have included .Net in it. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Am I a moron or is there nothing about where or when we can get this? Reply
  • PorBleemo - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Well, at least they still offer the Control Panel. Reply
  • PorBleemo - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    I agree #2 that's crazy. At least I have 1.5GB... Reply
  • nserra - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    Excelente. I didnt expect something like this from Ati, is more ala Rage3DTweak.

    However i still think its too much complicaded for the ordinary Joe.

    For me its great, now i dont need Rage3D since i only used their profiles because they run over aplication level, now Ati CP already have this too.
  • crazycarl - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - link

    60-70 extra megs????? Reply

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