While we were at CES, AMD briefed us about several things. We’ve already had a chance to tell you about the Redwood chip behind the Radeon HD 5670 and 5570, and the Cedar chip behind the Radeon HD 5450. There was one last thing we haven’t had a chance to tell you about yet, and that’s drivers. Along-side our briefings about AMD’s new cards, they spent some time discussing what would be happening with the Catalyst 10.2 and Catalyst 10.3 drivers.

The Catalyst 10.2 drivers come out today, while the Catalyst 10.3 drivers will be next month’s release. We’ll just jump right in to the heart of things and list what’s coming with each release:

Catalyst 10.2

  1. Crossfire profile – Per-game Crossfire profiles are being moved out of the drivers, so that AMD can distribute out-of-band profile updates.
  2. CrossfireX rearchitecture - Certain parts of AMD’s multi-GPU code has been moved from the 3D driver to another driver component; this segmentation is largely to benefit Fuzion integrated CPU/GPUs later this year.
  3. Ultra Low Power State – This feature for lower-idling on Crossfire slave cards has been in the entire 5000 series. However it’s only being enabled across the board starting with this release.
  4. Crossfire Eyefinity – Eyefinity now works with all Crossfire configurations, not just on the 5970..
  5. DisplayPort Audio – The 5000 series is now capable of outputting audio over the DisplayPort in accordance with the DisplayPort standard.

Catalyst 10.3

  1. Catalyst Mobility – AMD will once again be releasing Catalyst drivers for most Mobility GPUs.
  2. Eyefinity Bezel Correction – Eyefinity setups can finally be adjusted to compensate for the space occupied by monitor bezels.
  3. Eyefinity Per Display Controls – Per display color correction, particularly useful for mismatched monitors.  
  4. Eyefinity Multiple Groups
  5. Eyefinity Display Configuration Switching
  6. 3D Stereo driver hooks – AMD is implementing some low-level hooks to help 3rd-party 3D displays work with Radeon cards.

For today’s 10.2 release, much of what AMD is enabling has already snuck out in earlier driver releases in some form or another. December’s 9.12 Hotfix enabled Crossfire Eyefinity, DisplayPort Audio, and Ultra Low Power State, so it’s best to think of the 10.2 driver as the shipping version of what we saw with the 9.12 hotfix.

10.3 on the other hand has not been released in a hotfix form, so everything here is brand-new.

10.2: Ultra Low Power State Confusion & Crossfire Eyefinity
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  • Blahman - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    From what I've read, the i5 version of the HP Envy 15 does have switchable graphics. Reply
  • Aircraft123 - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    no the HP Envy 15 does not have switchable graphics. Something to do with the HM55 vs PM55 chipset (one supports it one doesn't).

    I know it won't b/c I have one.
    Reply
  • tntomek - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Sadly it does not. HP originally had rumors about this but have since turned out to be false. Reply
  • FlyTexas - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    AMD driver quality is one reason why my gaming rig continues to have a nVidia card in it. I have ATI cards in my secondary machines, but don't play games on them. nVidia simply makes better drivers than AMD does. Reply
  • Tempered81 - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Hi Ryan,

    Nice article on the new drivers. Looking forward to 10.3 bezel management.

    I really wanted to point out that your Farcry2 results in the 5970 review were maxed at 75 because of Vsync & not CPU limit.
    Reply
  • ATWindsor - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Have they fixed the audio-droput-bug over HDMI? THat is the most critical bug on the 5-series drivers today IMHO. Reply
  • n00bxqb - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Really ? Worse than the Adobe Flash crash bug ? Reply
  • ATWindsor - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Well, I guess its a matter of perspective, that at least is downgradable, audio-dropouts are not, at least not guaranteed. Not having useful sound is a showstopper if you use hdmu. Reply
  • velis - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    While ATI drivers are steadily improving, they still lack a lot in comparison to Nvidia's. AMD really should try harder with this.

    Currently, these are the absolute musts IMHO:
    1. OpenCL drivers!!!! Come on AMD. NV is beating your sorry ass for years now. First they had cuda, you had nothing. Now they also have OpenCL and you still have nothing. Do something about this already.
    2. Per game (application) quality settings in CCC (might even have that, but I just can't find them) + editable CF profiles. It's not like it's hard to do, right?
    3. OpenCL drivers!!!
    4. A tree view of all available options in CCC. There used to be a tree view, now there isn't any more. It's ridiculous how many clicks it takes to set one preference when all the groups could be plainly listed on the left side of CCC window.
    5. OpenCL drivers.
    6. What's with the bloat? Reduce drivers size and CCC memory footprint. Especially CCC. It's just a few dialogs bunched together. Why on earth does it have to use a gazillion MB of my RAM?
    7. Did I mention OpenCL drivers?
    Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    i love them to bring back Tree view i really hate CCC when under vista or 7 but they still do tree view for XP, so why cant they make an classic mode that every one wants to use

    OpenCL must be in the drivers as its not at the moment, Direct compute, CUDA, Physx, and Open CL you get when your with Nvidia Drivers, ATI need to catch up
    Reply

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