In the time before the Radeon, ATI's drivers were notoriously bad. ATI knew that, in order to compete in the high end consumer space with NVIDIA, their driver would need to be easy to use, intuitive, and stable. Thus, the CATALYST program was born.

For the past few years, we have seen ATI's drivers grow in stability and performance. Features have been added that have continued to push the envelope of driver development. Features such as Overdrive (automatic overclocking) and VPU Recovery (soft reset to avoid system crashes) have been added and last year, ATI pushed forward with their Catalyst Control Center user interface redesign.

Received with mixed feelings, the CCC sought to offer an easy-to-use interface that anyone could use. Offering a realtime preview and very general sliders in the initial view, those who don't know or care about the intricacies of graphics could benefit from the quality or performance settings that ATI offers. It is even possible to see what a specific setting does in the preview window and thus, is able to educate customers as well. The downsides of CCC are its very laggy behavior, long startup time, and general clunky feel.

Building their driver interface around .NET this early in the game was a bit of a risky move. ATI's general feeling was that moving in the .NET direction was necessary combined with the ease with which partners and customers alike could extend the driver UI. The decision was made to get an early start on things.

The sentiment among the enthusiast crowd still seems to remain centered around a clean, simple interface rather than the Catalyst Control Center's approach. And, yes, skins can be used to make the CCC look a little more toned down, but making things unnecessarily bigger and slower for those who don't need or want the features offered is a tough sell.

Well, ATI is promising that the CCC and driver will be getting better and growing in features. Let's take a look at what exactly will be going on.

Catalyst 5.6
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  • tanekaha - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    mike go windows update and let windows scan ya
    in sov...... ahh nm
  • miketheidiot - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    so where do i download .net? All i get is this:

    i see nothing about downloads.
  • chucky2 - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    #24....possibly the problem is that CCC requires .NET to be installed (and when you do that, make sure to run WindowsUpdate about 5 times to get all the updates for it).

    If you don't have .NET installed (and hopefully patched), that's probably your problem.

  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    At least the drivers are available without CCC. Checked and downloaded them last night, but haven't installed them yet (life intervenes).
  • chucky2 - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    I can't wait for 5.8 as my only display is my Syntax Olevia 32" LCD TV....while it looks fine at 1280x720, it's native is'd be nice using just ATI's driver (if it indeed takes up small meg'age instead of 100MB; didn't know that) instead of debating the use of Powerstrip (which is an excellany program).

    Come'on ATI, 5.8 with a small foot print, you can do it!!!

  • Gatak - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    Think of .NET as Microsofts version of Java. It is an interpreted language run in a virtual machine. This is why it is so horribly slow.
  • miketheidiot - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link

    i have ccc install but it fails to load and i get error messages every time it tries to load on boot. WTF? Its a worthless pos but it would be nice not to deal with the error messages every time i load up. Yes i know i could uninstall, but thats way to much work.

    BTW what is .net?
  • ariafrost - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link

    One last comment about another grammar error - "OEMs that focus mainly on the business computing side of the market would rather have all their clients running exactly the same software configuration and DOWN want to allow end users to download and install their own drivers."

    I believe it should be don't rather than DOWN. BTW, is there any way to measure minimum frame rates? Maybe their OpenGL driver has simply gotten better to where minimum frame rates are higher even if the average is the same...
  • yacoub - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link


    j/k ;)
  • sinisterDei - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link

    Complaining about the performance of the drivers is unfair:

    From the 5.6 release notes, performance section. And I quote:

    # Doom3: A performance gain of up to 7% is noticed at lower resolutions as a result of more efficient memory use
    # Chronicles of Riddick: A performance gain of up to 10% is noticed as a result of more efficient storage of vertex data
    # Halo: A performance gain of up to 20% is noticed as a result of generic driver Z-optimizations
    # 3DMark05: A performance gain of up to 5% is noticed as a result of generic driver Z-optimizations

    Only one of these titles was tested (Doom 3) and the release notes specifically state lower resolutions as the affected bit, and last I checked 1600x1200 with or without AA/AF does NOT qualify as "lower resolutions."

    In truth, I'd be most interested in the Halo gains.

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