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AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta to Include Mantle and TrueAudio Runtimes

At its CES press-meet, AMD detailed the upcoming versions of Catalyst Software Suite, which will be unified to include graphics and system drivers for both discrete AMD Radeon GPUs, and integrated AMD A-Series APUs; and AMD core-logic (chipsets). The biggest takeaway from the presentation, by AMD's Terry "CatalystMaker" Makedon, is that the company will release the first Mantle and TrueAudio runtime environments with the upcoming Catalyst 14.1 Beta, due for later this month. Mantle is AMD's ambitious attempt at a 3D graphics API to rival Direct3D and OpenGL, that's optimized for its Graphics CoreNext micro-architecture; while TrueAudio is a positional audio DSP that promises to make games and movies sound more realistic.

Mantle promises "great" performance improvements in Battlefield 4, the only AAA game that we know of, to make use of the API. Mantle support was expected to be added to the game as an update around this time, but DICE' plans fell off the track with publisher EA coming down hard on the studio for shipping a game that's riddled with bugs. DICE will most likely have to fix most of its bugs for the retail DirectX 11.1 game, before EA allows it to toy with updates that add support for new and experimental APIs, let alone expansion packs. In related news, Catalyst 14.1 Beta will introduce additions to its frame-pacing fix, that will soon support Ultra HD displays, and Eyefinity setups on non-XDMA (pre R9 290 series) GPUs.


Source: Zol.com.cn

AMD Responds to NVIDIA G-Sync with FreeSync

At CES, various display makers exhibited their gaming-grade monitors featuring NVIDIA G-Sync, a display fluidity technology that's an evolution of V-sync, which we've seen with our own eyes to make a tangible difference. AMD, at the back-room of its CES booth, demoed what various sources are calling "FreeSync," a competitive technology to G-Sync, but one that doesn't require specialized hardware, or licenses to the display makers. AMD didn't give out too many details into the finer-workings of FreeSync, but here's what we make of it.

FreeSync taps into a lesser known feature that AMD Radeon GPUs have had for the past three generations (i.e. since Radeon HD 5000 series), called dynamic refresh rates. The feature allows GPUs to spool down refresh rates to save power, without entailing a display re-initialization (the flicker that happens when a digital display is sent a signal with a new resolution and refresh rate), on supported displays. Dynamic refresh is reportedly also a proposed addition to VESA specifications, and some (if not most) display makers have implemented it. On displays that do, AMD Catalyst drivers already run dynamic refresh rates. For display makers, supporting the technology won't require buying licenses, or integrating specialized hardware into the displays.

AMD Preps Radeon R9 260 and Radeon R9 255 to Woo Pre-built Buyers?

AMD is rolling out two new Radeon SKUs to bolster its lineup below the $179.99 price-point held by the Radeon R9 270. The names of these SKUs might confuse the heck out of you, the TechPowerUp reader, and our hearts go out to the target buyers of these products, but bear with us - Radeon R9 255 and Radeon R9 260. Not to be confused with similar-sounding Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 260, the two SKUs are positioned in the Radeon R9 series, and could offer either higher performance levels than what the R7 260X manages, or it could also be a sly marketing move by AMD to make the lower-mainstream part of its lineup look more appealing to buyers of pre-built mainstream desktops that are "gaming ready."

There are two pieces of evidence to support the existence of the two. First, AMD updated its website to show R9 255 and R9 260 in the Radeon R9 section of its OEM products page. Second, on close inspection of the driver information (.inf) file of Catalyst 13.12 WHQL, we sniffed out three curious looking device IDs, which point at products going by those names. Selling an SKU named "Radeon R9 260" could work well for AMD's "Never Settle for anything less than AMD Radeon R9 Series graphics" marketing campaign.

AMD to Roll Out Eyefinity Frame-Pacing Fix in January

AMD is reportedly releasing a fix for frame-pacing issues for Radeon-based systems with Eyefinity setups in January, 2014, according to an AnandTech report. This September, AMD rolled out the first fix into the frame-pacing issues that affected Radeon GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture, in which raw-framerate didn't come with the right pacing between each frame, resulting in display output that isn't fluid, which even caused accusations to fly from some quarters about how honest AMD really is with performance numbers of its GPUs.

The Catalyst update that rolled out in September 2013 resolved the problem for a majority of users - with single displays connected to single GPUs, but left out cases in which people use Eyefinity (single display head spanning across multiple physical displays), on CrossFireX (multi-GPU) setups. It was originally expected that AMD would release the so-called "phase 2" Catalyst driver update looking into frame-pacing issues this November, but since the month has passed, AMD has obviously hit a delay. AnandTech reports that delay could last as long as two months, and one should expect "phase 2" to come out only towards the later half of January, since in the first half, AMD, along with the rest of the industry, will be busy with the 2014 International CES, where it will launch its next-generation A-Series APUs, codenamed "Kaveri."Source: AnandTech

AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.5 Now Available, Brings More Fixes

AMD has just made available a new build of its still-in-beta Catalyst 13.11 graphics driver. Dubbed Beta9.5, this latest release fixes the graphics corruption seen in Starcraft, the intermittent flickering seen on some Radeon R9 270x cards, and makes sure that the Overdrive feature doesn't disappear from the Catalyst Control Center (bug which was experienced by owners of Radeon R9 290 Series cards). Moreover, the driver improves frame pacing results in AMD Quad CrossFire configurations for Hitman: Absolution, and Total War: Rome 2.

The Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.5 is available for Windows 8.1/8/7 and features support for the Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

Download: Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.5 for Windows

AMD Delivers Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.4 Graphics Driver

As a little weekend treat AMD has rolled out a new build of the Catalyst 13.11 graphics drivers, the Beta9.4. This release improves CrossFire scaling in Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer and is claimed to 'maybe' fix the intermittent black screens or display loss observed on some Radeon R9 290X and R9 290 cards. The mobile-friendly version of the driver comes with Enduro profiles for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Need for Speed Rivals.

The Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.4 is available for Windows 8.1/8/7 and features support for the Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

Download: Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.4 for Windows / Mobility Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.4 for Windows

AMD Rolls Out Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 Driver

AMD has made available a fresh beta build of the Catalyst 13.11 graphics driver. This latest release is the Beta 9.2 and it brings improved anti-aliasing performance in Call of Duty: Ghost (and an updated CrossFire profile for the game), a PowerTune tweak to 'reduce variance of fan speed / RPM' on Radeon R9 290 Series cards, plus fixes for crashing bugs seen in legacy DirectX 9 applications.

The Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 is available for Windows 8.1/8/7 and features support for the Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

Downloads: Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 for Windows

AMD Delivers Battlefield 4 Fix With New Catalyst 13.11 Beta Build

As promised yesterday, AMD has issued a new Catalyst 13.11 driver build to fix the crashing bug reported by Battlefield 4 players with Windows 8 machines. This release is the Beta8 and it contains all the goodies of previous builds. The driver is available for Windows 8.1/8/7 and features support for the Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

Download: Catalyst 13.11 Beta8 for Windows

AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta7 Driver Released, Ups CrossFire Scaling in Battlefield 4

Just like its arch-rival NVIDIA, AMD has kicked off the week by rolling out a new graphics driver, the seventh beta build of the Catalyst 13.11. This fresh release includes all the features found in the previous betas and brings improved (by up to 20%) CrossFire scaling in EA's Battlefield 4.

The Catalyst 13.11 Beta7 is available for Windows 8.1/8/7 and offers support for the Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

Download: Catalyst 13.11 Beta7 for Windows

AMD Releases the Catalyst 13.11 Beta6 Driver

AMD has now made available a new version of the Catalyst 13.11 graphics card drive. Still bearing a beta tag, the updated Catalyst delivers performance boosts and adds support for the Radeon R9 290X and R9 290. The driver also works with the rest of the R9 Series, the R7 models, and the Radeon HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 cards.

Download: AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta6 for Windows 8.1/8/7

AMD Releases the Catalyst 13.11 Beta Driver

If with great power comes great responsibility then definitely with new graphics cards come brand new drivers. Enter the AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series cards and the first (publicly-available) driver to support them, the Catalyst 13.11. Still in beta mode, this fresh Catalyst works with the Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, R7 250 and R7 240, as well as the Radeon HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards.

The Catalyst 13.11 Beta (V1) is supposed to feature some fixes, plus improvements for Battlefield 4 as well as for TESV: Skyrim and Total War: Rome 2. To download the driver just click on the links below.

AMD Releases the Catalyst 13.10 Beta2 Driver

AMD has now let loose the second beta version of the Catalyst 13.10 graphics driver. The Beta2 features support for Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, and HD 7000 Series desktop cards and HD 5000M, HD 6000M, HD 7000M and 8000M Series mobile GPUs, and is available for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 systems. Download links are just below.

AMD Posts Catalyst 13.9 for Windows 8.1 and Catalyst 13.10 Beta

AMD posted Catalyst 13.9 WHQL software suite, which is logo-certified for Windows 8.1, and Catalyst 13.10 Beta for everyone else. Catalyst 13.9 Windows 8.1 driver is logo-certified (i.e., it complies with the newest Windows Display Driver Model 1.3), yet the it isn't quite WHQL-certified. You're at the very least assured that the driver will make your hardware work on Windows 8.1, and support Direct3D 11.1 on compatible Radeon HD 7000 series, HD 8000 (OEM) series, and the upcoming Rx 2xx series hardware. Direct3D 11.1 should get its first major outing with Battlefield 4.

Catalyst 13.9 for Windows 8.1 supports all AMD Radeon GPU families since HD 5000 series, and integrated graphics for all APUs AMD ever sold. The new Catalyst Control Center requires .NET 4.5 runtime environment. Moving on, Catalyst 13.10 Beta is being released to users on older operating systems. It brings game-specific performance improvements, including 20% performance scaling on Rome Total War 2 for CrossFire setups and display corruption issues associated with it; 20% performance scaling on Saints Row 4 for CrossFire setups; and 10% performance scaling on Metro: Last Light for CrossFire setups. Frame-pacing (fluidity) is improved for six games, including Tomb Raider (2013), Metro: Last Light, Sniper Elite V2, World of Warcraft, Max Payne 3, and Hitman: Absolution. The driver also fixes a bug that spools down PCIe link speeds of secondary graphics cards in CrossFire setups down to x1, when idling.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL (64-bit) | AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL (32-bit) | AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta

AMD Rolls Out the Catalyst 13.10 Beta Driver

AMD has now made available a new Catalyst driver, the 13.10 version for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. This driver comes with a beta tag and supports the Radeon HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series cards. There's also a mobile version of 13.10 which supports the Mobility Radeon HD 8000M, HD 7000M, HD 6000M and HD 5000M cards. Download links are just below.

AMD Posts Catalyst 13.8 Beta, Fixes CrossFire Frame Latency

In the run up to the big Catalyst driver update AMD promised, that fixes frame latency issues on Graphics CoreNext-based GPUs, AMD posted Catalyst 13.8 beta, which addresses frame-pacing issues on CrossFire configuration, which minimizes the micro-stuttering issues some CrossFire configurations are notorious for. The driver includes a fix that ensures frames generated by member GPUs of a CrossFire configuration are displayed in an even and regular pace, so there's no micro-stuttering. This fix can be enabled through Catalyst Control Center, on a per-application basis. It supports games that use DirectX 11 and DirectX 10 APIs, running at resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Next up, Catalyst 13.8 beta includes full support for the OpenGL 4.3 API. You can now create application profiles within Catalyst Control Center for OpenGL applications, and CAP updates will now be issued for such apps. The only performance-improvement you get with this driver, are for Metro: Last Light. Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs get up to 7 percent performance improvement on the game. Lastly, a nifty new feature addition for Enduro shows which apps are active on the discrete-GPU, and which on the integrated/low-power GPU.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta

AMD Announces Catalyst for Windows 8.1 Release Preview

With Microsoft readying a Release Preview of its upcoming Windows 8.1 operating system; AMD jumped in with a specialized Catalyst driver. Windows 8.1 features an upgraded display driver model, WDDM 1.3, which lets users take advantage of a few new features. GPUs based on AMD's Graphics CoreNext architecture will be supported by Windows 8.1 over WDDM 1.3, while older VLIW4 and VLIW5-based GPUs (Radeon HD 6000 series and older), will be supported over older WDDM 1.2 based drivers.

Windows 8.1 brings some enhancements to PC graphics, with support for Microsoft's own standardized wireless display technology; 48 Hz dynamic refresh rates for video playback, V-sync interrupt optimization, video conferencing acceleration, and a new instruction to the DirectX 11.1 API, named "tiled resources." Like the operating system itself, AMD's Windows 8.1 Preview Catalyst driver is a beta, and its use comes with no warranties. Microsoft expects to launch Windows 8.1 later this year, reportedly available as a free upgrade for current Windows 8 users.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview Driver

Lists of AMD GPUs supported by WDDM 1.3 and WDDM 1.2 follow.

AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL Drivers Released

AMD launched its first WHQL-signed Catalyst Software Suite in three months, with the Catalyst 13.4 WHQL, coinciding with the launch of Radeon HD 7990, earlier today. The Catalyst Software Suite installs device drivers and system software for AMD Radeon GPUs, IGPs, and integrated HDMI audio devices, in additional to AMD APP runtime environment, and certain media acceleration software.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

The change-log for Catalyst 13.4 WHQL follows.

AMD Posts Catalyst 13.3 Beta 2 Driver

AMD posted a performance-enhancing beta version of its Catalyst driver suite, version 13.3 Beta 2. The driver provides across the board performance improvements of up to 5 percent in Far Cry 3, up to 16 percent in Sim City 5, reduces frame-time latencies noted in Tomb Raider (2013), and Hitman Absolution; and corrects a slight display corruption issue noted with TressFX enabled in Tomb Raider (2013), on both CrossFire and single-GPU setups.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 2

AMD Rushes Out Catalyst 13.2 Beta 5 Driver to Correct 3DMark CrossFire Scaling Issue

AMD rushed out a new beta version of its Catalyst driver suite, which addresses the issue of improper performance scaling on the new 3DMark, on CrossFire multi-GPU setups. The new Catalyst 13.2 Beta 5 adds a CrossFire profile for 3DMark v1.00 launched on Monday (04/02). Along the way, it also introduced a couple of performance improvements in some highly specific scenarios. For systems running Far Cry 3 at 2560 x 1600 pixels, with 8x AA, performance could go up by 10 percent. With a refined profile, the driver could dole out up to 40 percent higher performance in Crysis 3, on CrossFire setups.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.2 Beta 5

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta Targeting Crysis 3 MP Beta, Frame Latency Issues

Hot on the heels of NVIDIA's GeForce 313.95 Beta drivers, AMD launched Catalyst 13.2 Beta, targeting EA's release of Crysis 3 multiplayer open-beta. The driver improves performance by up to 15 percent, but in highly specific scenarios, vaguely put by AMD as "in high MSAA cases." There is no general performance improvement announced, but that future Catalyst releases could address performance. Catalyst 13.2 Beta also addresses frame latency issues related to three titles, TES5: Skyrim, Boderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Single GPU performance for Devil May Cry is improved by up to 50 percent. CrossFire systems running Crysis 2 could see a 10 percent performance improvement. Lastly, a texture-flickering issue seen with DirectX 9.0c applications is resolved.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.2 Beta

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 Released

TechPowerUp released version 0.6.7 of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility. The new release brings some feature-additions, support for more graphics processors, and stability improvements. To begin with, we made room in the GPU-Z window to display TMU (texture memory unit) count. Support for a large number of recently-launched GPUs, including Radeon HD 7870 "Tahiti LE," mobile GeForce 600 series MX, and from Quadro family, were added.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 also brings a few UI enhancements. To begin with, GPU-Z remembers window position from its previous session, cutting you time for positioning it right for screenshots. Next up, when minimized, its tray icon does more than just show you the app is running. Its tooltip (visible when hovered), displays some important sensor data. A new "-tab" command line parameter allows proverclockers to script-launch GPU-Z showing a specific tab. Among the bugs fixed are one related to a crash occurring on CrossFire setups (a Catalyst-related bug), another crash occurring on NVIDIA setups when updating sensor data (GeForce driver-related bug), temperature reading on AMD "Llano" APUs is improved.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7, TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.

AMD Catalyst 13.1 WHQL Drivers Released

AMD posted its first major release of the Catalyst software suite for this year, Catalyst 13.1 WHQL. Much along the lines of its 12.11 "Never Settle" driver, the new 13.1 WHQL brings performance enhancements for a boatload of games, targeting Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture. We know that AMD is yet to unlock the full potential of GCN, and 13.1 WHQL appears to be a step in that direction. In addition to performance enhancements and fixes, AMD introduced a new 3D settings and profile management user interface within Catalyst Control Center (CCC).

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.1 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

A slice of the change-log follows.

AMD to Fix GCN Latency Issues with Driver Updates

Last month, an investigative report by The TechReport found out that despite being faster, AMD's Radeon HD 7950 graphics card isn't "smoother" than NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, in that shows signs of higher frame-delivery latency, a theory proven by high-speed camera recordings. Over the holiday, AMD's David Baumann responded in discussions around the web talking about the issue, in which he put AMD's stand.

Apparently, AMD Catalyst drivers still have refinement left in working perfectly with GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture. Baumann explained that GCN, and AMD's older Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architectures feature fundamentally different memory management, and drivers that make the most of it are still a work in progress. Baumann stated "Over the early part of the year you'll see a few driver updates help this across a variety of games."

AMD to Get Rid of Catalyst Auto-Update Feature in 2013, Cites Security Concerns

It looks like somebody found a security vulnerability in the auto-update feature of AMD Catalyst Control Center (CCC), which notifies you of updates to Catalyst system software and directs you to the download page. AMD announced that it plans to discontinue the feature starting in 2013, and recommends that you get your driver updates the old-fashioned way: by keeping up with the news and getting your drivers from the internet. Due to the severity of the exploit, AMD recommended users to disable auto-updates in their current CCC configuration, or click on "skip" whenever it prompts you to update drivers. AMD stated:
AMD will be removing the auto-update notification functionality from versions of AMD Catalyst Control Center running under Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, beginning in early 2013. Due to a minor security vulnerability in the auto-update notification, users are recommended to update to the latest AMD Catalyst driver release from the amd.com web site. Alternatively, users should (i) uncheck the "Automatically check for updates" option under AMD Catalyst Control Center > Information > Software Update, and (ii) choose to "Skip" notifications from the AMD Catalyst driver, which notifications recommend updating to the latest driver.
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