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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  • KoVaR - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    AMD already has working support for OpenCL.
    All you need is to install STREAM™ package located here http://developer.amd.com/gpu/ATIStreamSDK/Pages/de...">http://developer.amd.com/gpu/ATIStreamSDK/Pages/de...
    Reply
  • velis - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    ...
    Which I did.
    However, that doesn't help me distribute my OpenCL app, does it?
    I need EVERYONE to have the SDK installed if they want to see what I have made.
    Which currently isn't such a big problem since most apps (including mine) are in development stage.
    But lacking end-user drivers this just means that no app can go final right now.
    Not to even mention that many developers simply skip OpenCL ports of their work (also) because half the world couldn't use such optimizations.
    Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    But you Must make an account that most users are not going to do

    OpenCL and Direct compute should be part of the drivers (maybe physx as well but not as important)
    Reply
  • dzoni2k2 - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    AMD already has OpenCL drivers for a while. You just have to download them separately.

    If that is so very hard for you to do, you don't really need OpenCL that badly.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    LoL, what do YOU need opencl for anyway...? Reply
  • mariush - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    I'm just dissapointed that they had to change the installer and make it NOT work on Windows 2003.

    Yes, Windows 2003 is officially unsupported but the drivers and software installed with no problems with all the previous setup packages. Now, the setup doesn't install anything.

    I managed to install the driver manually unpacking the driver only setup and using "Update driver" in the control panel but the software was a no go.
    Reply
  • mariush - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    Yeah... so new 10.3 drivers posted and the setup still ignores Windows 2003... it only updates the "Installation Manager" and doesn't show anything else.

    So back to unpacking the "driver only" pack, Update driver from the Control Panel and install CCC from the 9.10 setup which has the old installer.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    While I do appreciated ATI's dedication to monthly driver releases, it does sometimes seem to me that they sacrifice breadth and length of support for it. For example, ATI no longer offering unified driver releases or official Windows 7 support for DX9.0c GPUs of the X1000 series whereas nVidia still fully supports even their first gen 6000 series in unified driver releases and the latest OSs. It does make me worry whether/when my newer ATI GPUs will have their driver support curtailed, likely earlier than similar gen nVidia cards.

    I haven't heard that Windows 2003 support was so finicky though. Even for newer gen DX10 or better ATI GPUs?
    Reply
  • mariush - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    It's a 4850, and as I said 9.12 drivers work fine.

    It's just the stupid installer they recently use. You actually install an "Install Manager" and then when you try to install anything, the setup actually extracts itself in a temporary directory and starts the "Install Manager" which goes on to show a list of components that can be installed from this setup package and the list of components is empty... because it does the stupid OS check now.

    Every driver and CCC worked perfectly so far on 2003 as they should - basically they're the same drivers as XP.

    Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - link

    old graphics cards like the 1xxx series are both too slow and too old to play new games, and by now there should be little if any software problems. 1xxx series based laptops do not need new drivers as they work fine as is and supporting them would make new drivers take longer to make, taking away from new features in newer cards. i think that most people with 4xxx and 5xxx notebooks would be pretty pissed if they had to wait another month for better support and features because some guy with his 5 year old laptop wants to play unreal tournament 2004 5% faster. Reply

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