With the release of NVIDIA's powerhouse 7800 series of graphics cards, we haven't been hearing a lot of noise lately at ATI's side of things. This is cause for speculation about whether ATI is playing catch-up, or waiting for the perfect moment to reveal the proverbial "ace-up-the-sleeve". Only time will tell.

It's a sad fact for ATI that NVIDIA is definitely ahead of the game right now, no matter how you look at it. This kind of reminds us of when NVIDIA launched their FX series; ATI was on top at the time with the Radeon 9700 and NVIDIA was basically just trying to hold on until NV40 came out. That's assuming, of course, that when it comes out, the R520 can actually measure up. Even ATI's Crossfire (ATI's dual card answer to NVIDIA's SLI), while no slouch, won't be released for a while yet, disappointingly.

Until then, though, for those with budget ATI cards, there's some good news. If you use an older ATI card and have already downloaded and installed the latest catalyst driver (catalyst 5.7), you may notice some games playing a little more smoothly for you. After talking to ATI, we learned that the secret behind this is something called HyperMemory.

We've already talked a little about HyperMemory, but hopefully, this article will shed some more light on what exactly it is and how ATI implements it in the latest version of their driver. The addition of HyperMemory to all drivers is essentially an all-around good thing, although it will benefit some more than others. Ultimately, we'll tell you exactly who will be very pleased, or just mildly pleased (or indifferent) with the results. But first, let's talk a little bit about HyperMemory.



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  • xtknight - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    No. Reply
  • bupkus - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    Where can I download the 5.6?
    I have a new ATI X800np w/ 256MB and I downloaded and installed this last Tuesday. I notice a small drop in 3DMarks2001 but just shrugged it off as the result of solar flares or whatever. It would be nice if ATI warehoused their older drivers and made them available.
  • nserra - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Did you look even look?

    At Ati site

    Drivers and Software
    +Windows XP
    Previous Drivers and Software

    They are all there since Catalyst 2.1 or even older.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    Try">Guru3D - you can get practically every past driver version for ATI and NVIDIA cards there. Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    I'm still running the 4.6 drivers because 4.7 makes the textures in Battlefield 2 go crazy with my 9800 Pro. Reply
  • Gamingphreek - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    Where in the world are they pulling these framerate increases from??

    They have had 3 years to perfect these drivers, why all of a sudden are we seeing 0-10fps increases. Is ATI using shader replacement on more games? Did IQ suffer at all.

    It just seems hard to believe that these drivers based on the exact same architecture since the 9700 still have gains of 10fps left in them.

  • Shadowmage - Sunday, August 14, 2005 - link

    Did you even READ the article? ATI implements HyperMemory on ALL cards with 128MB and less of memory.
  • ecvs85 - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    I have a question, since this hypermemory is a software based memory management software that makes use of the system ram, what about the AGP aperture settings in the bios? (well for agp boards)

    I got 1GB of ram and when I set the AGP aperture to 256MB I don't have much issue running games that need more that 128MB of video ram (which I have 9800pro). So is the hypermemory smooths things out, having less stuttering and results in higher overall framerates? If that is the case then I don't need to upgrade to this driver :P
  • MrSmurf - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    ATI's drivers have been going downhill lately. I don't care about gaining a few fps especially when they cause more bugs than they fix.

    I still use the 4.12's.
  • ElJefe - Saturday, August 13, 2005 - link

    dang yo'z.

    i never had an issue this past year with ati's drivers.

    besides my all in wonder not playing DVD correctly. no freakin idea why or how. reloaded all of it 2x and it stil doesnt work right. Cyberlink PowerDVD is what i use now, a shame though as ati's was very nice and integrated. I have a 9800 PRO AIW.

    I dont knock ati, i mean, that whole intelligent CLI thing i have running actually works really well for games, i think everyone forgot about that. Works for new and old, i see lag on startup from it as it "thinks" for an older game, runs great though.

    I still want to go nvidia myself for new system if I cant manage to run ATI allinwonder x800 XT on a linux system.

    What's up with ati not putting out faster/better gaming Linux based drivers like nvidia does? that's a tad self defeating for such a giant in the industry.

    I mean nvidia doesnt even make graphics cards! its not the big of a company! (only chips and chipsets and designs)

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