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AMD FX-8150 Tested with Latest Windows Hotfixes, Still No Improvement

German tech website TweakPC did a before-after comparison of applying Microsoft's recently-released KB2645594 + KB2646060 Windows updates, which intend to improve performance of systems running AMD FX processors, by improving the way in which the OS deals with Bulldozer cores, using a top-of-the-line FX-8150 processor. The reviewer put FX-8150 through synthetic tests such as AIDA64 (CPU benchmarks, FPU benchmarks), Cinebench 11.5, MaxxPi (multi-threaded PI calculations), WPrime, Twofish AES, 3DMark (Vantage and 11), ComputeMark; and some real-world tests such as WinRAR, Resident Evil 5, and Battleforge. Barring Resident Evil 5, where the patched FX-8150 produced 4% higher performance and WinRAR, where it produced 3% higher performance, there were no significant performance gains noticed. The review can be accessed at the source.

Source: TweakPC.de

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

AMD FX 8150 with Microsoft KB2592546 Put Through 'Before and After' Patch Tests

To the surprise of many, last week, Microsoft rolled out a patch (KB2592546) for Windows that it claimed would improve performance of systems running AMD processors based on the "Bulldozer" architecture. The patch works by making the OS aware of the way Bulldozer cores are structured, so it could effectively make use of the parallelism at its disposal. Sadly, a couple of days later, it pulled that patch. Meanwhile, SweClockers got enough time to do a "before and after" performance test of the AMD FX-8150 processor, using this patch.

The results of SweClockers' tests are tabled below. "tidigare" is before, "nytt" is after, and "skillnad" is change. The reviewer put the chip through a wide range of tests, including synthetic CPU-intensive tests (both single and multi-threaded), and real-world gaming performance tests. The results are less than impressive. Perhaps, that's why the patch was redacted.

Source: SweClockers

AMD Bulldozer Threading Hotfix Pulled

Since we reported on the AMD Bulldozer hotfix, The Tech Report reports in an updated post, that the Bulldozer threading hotfix said to improve performance of the processor, has been pulled:
We've spoken with an industry source familiar with this situation, and it appears the release of this hotfix was either inadvertent, premature, or both. There is indeed a Bulldozer threading patch for Windows in the works, but it should come in two parts, not just one. The patch that was briefly released is only one portion of the total solution, and it may very well reduce performance if used on its own. We're hearing the full Windows update for Bulldozer performance optimization is scheduled for release in Q1 of 2012. For now, Bulldozer owners, the best thing to do is to sit tight and wait.
It will be very interesting indeed to see how this much maligned processor benchmarks after the fully developed patch is released. It's true, actually attempting to download the hotfix and agreeing to the licence terms, at the moment, one is lead to a page that shows it as unavailable.

AMD 'Bulldozer' gets an Update from Microsoft.

Today Windows updater may have brought "Bulldozer" users a little surprise. A hotfix that increases the AMD flagship processors performance. As this "hotfix" is bleeding edge news any benchmarks have yet to be seen but this confirms Windows 7 was in fact hampering “Bulldozer” from performing at 100% in all prior benches. What percentage it was previously performing at has yet to be determined. Here is a small snippet from the Hotfix release notes.
This article introduces an update that optimizes the performance of AMD Bulldozer CPUs that are used by Windows 7-based or Windows Server 2008 R2-based computers. Currently, the performance of AMD Bulldozer CPUs is slower than expected. This behavior occurs because the threading logic in Windows 7 and in Windows Server 2008 R2 is not optimized to use the Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) scheduling feature. This feature was introduced in the Bulldozer family of AMD CPUs.
You can download the Hotfix here.

AMD Outs Second Catalyst Performance Driver In A Week

AMD rolled out its second Catalyst performance driver update in a week, with the Catalyst 11.11b. It follows Catalyst 11.11a, which was released earlier this week. A performance driver update is what AMD used to call "Hotfixes", they are updates for recently-released WHQL-signed drivers, featuring some performance improvements fresh from the Catalyst developer team. In includes all the changes 11.11a brings to the table, plus the ones listed below:
Elder Scrolls Skyrim
  • New in Catalyst 11.11b: Delivers AMD CrossFire performance scaling for AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
  • o AMD Radeon HD 5000 CrossFire support will be supported soon in an updated driver
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • New in Catalyst 11.11b: Delivers AMD CrossFire performance scaling
DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.11b Performance Driver for Windows 7 and Vista | Windows XP

AMD Rolls Out Catalyst 11.11a Performance Driver

AMD released its latest "performance driver" for Radeon graphics cards, the Catalyst 11.11a. With this release, AMD is using the term "performance driver" to refer to performance-enhancing Hotfix updates it launches between its scheduled monthly WHQL-signed updates. Catalyst 11.11a fixes some outstanding game-related bugs and improves performance and resolves driver-related bugs for a variety of recently-released titles such as Batman: Arkham City, Rage, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Battlefield 3. The rest of the driver is based on Catalyst 11.11.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.11a Performance Driver for Windows 7 or Vista | Windows XP

A list of changes follows.

AMD Streams in Catalyst 11.6b Hotfix Update

AMD today released the second hotfix update to Catalyst 11.6, which provides immediate fixes to bugs found with the previous hotfix. Catalyst 11.6b Hotfix update fixes a BSOD error noted when connecting a HDMI and DisplayPort based display to an AMD Radeon HD graphics card running on Catalyst 11.6. It also fixes random screen flickering noted when idling, as well as a mouse pointer corruption issue found with older Catalyst releases. Apart from this, it packs the key feature of Caralyst 11.6a Hotfix, support for AMD A8-3800 and A6-3600 series accelerated processing units.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.6b Hotfix Update

AMD Releases Catalyst 11.6a Hotfix Update, Adds A-Series APU Support

AMD released a new Catalyst hotfix driver update, 11.6a. This release comes 15 days after the month's main version, 11.6 WHQL, was released. The updated driver otherwise has the same exact feature-set as 11.6 WHQL, but adds support for graphics processors embedded into AMD's new Vision A-Series accelerated processing units, namely Radeon HD 6550D inside A8-3800 series, and Radeon HD 6530D inside A6-3600 series. Available for Windows XP, and Windows 7/Vista in both x86 and x86-64 forms, the Catalyst 11.6a Hotfix update can be downloaded from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.6a Hotfix Update

AMD Releases Catalyst 11.5b Hotfix Update

AMD was a little too early in May with its monthly Catalyst driver release, with the Catalyst 11.5 WHQL reaching the web as early as 9th May (typically monthly Catalyst updates are released after the 24th). On the same date, AMD also released its first hotfix update for the Catalyst 11.5, the 11.5a Hotfix Update, which packed a number of game-specific performance improvements. Today, the company released its second such update for the month, with Catalyst 11.5b Hotfix.

The update is rushed in to fix a number of issues found with the recently-released game, Brink. It also fixes a number of non-gaming application issues, particularly related to media decoding. In the process, the driver also brings with it a number of game-specific performance improvements, games including Civilization 5, Dead Rising 2, Fallout 3, Mafia 2, NBA 2010, ShenGuiChuanQi, Starcraft 2, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, and Dirt 3.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.5b Hotfix Update.

A complete list of changes follows:

AMD Catalyst 11.5 WHQL, 11.5a Hotfix Driver Suite Released

It's not even 15th of the month, and AMD already released its monthly update of the Catalyst driver suite, which is normally reserved for the last week of the month. Catalyst 11.5 WHQL doesn't come with any performance enhancements as such, but apparently AMD found that a certain feature-enhancement in HydraVision was important enough to warrant a WHQL release. HydraGrid feature found in HydraVision is now aware of custom (user-created) Bezels. There's now also a "Automatic Grid" option that aligns to the user defined Eyefinity display layout.

The rather dull WHQL release is backed by a Hotfix release that comes with a lot more outstanding issues. Catalyst 11.5a Hotfix update includes fixes concerning quality of videos GPU-transcoded from H.264 clips to MPEG2 Blu-ray video, intermittent cursor lag, performance and quality enhancements for the upcoming game Brink, and flickering noted by Radeon HD 6600 series graphics cards with DDR3 memory running in DX9.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.5 WHQL for Windows 7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.5a Hotfix Update

AMD Catalyst 11.1 WHQL and 11.1a Hotfix Formally Announced

AMD today formally introduced Catalyst 11.1 WHQL software suite and Catalyst 11.1a Hotfix update. AMD Catalyst installs drivers and system software for ATI/AMD Radeon graphics processors (HD 2000 series and above), AMD chipset integrated graphics, and other ATI multimedia products. The Catalyst 11.1 WHQL finalizes the new Catalyst Control Center (referred to so far as CCC2), as the default control center, which simplifies control for mainstream and advanced users. It also formally introduces support for OpenGL 4.1. Catalyst 11.1 WHQL adds performance updates to F1 2010 and Left 4 Dead 2, the performance increments are more for the HD 6000 series GPUs. Next up is the 11.1a Hotfix update, which packs all the features of 11.1, plus performance improvements for Radeon HD 6000 series GPUs. It also adds new tessellation level controls. A number of Catalyst AI texture filtering updates are also added.

DOWNLOAD:A list of changes follows.

AMD Releases Catalyst 10.12a Hotfix Update, Adds Radeon HD 6900 Series Support

AMD today released the first hotfix update to the recently released Catalyst 10.12 driver suite. A hotfix is an interim update before the next driver release. The new hotfix introduces two important things: first, it adds official support for the newly-released AMD Radeon HD 6970 and AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards; and second, it adds a new Eyefinity mode that lets you use all five display outputs on the HD 6000 series graphics cards (i.e. two DVI, two mini-DP, one HDMI) for a 5 x 1 Eyefinity configuration.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 10.12a Hotfix Update

AMD Announces Catalyst 10.10c Hotfix Driver Update

AMD gave out the latest hotfix driver update to its recently published Catalyst 10.10 WHQL, which is a whole lot more than being just a hotfix, this time. A hotfix update is usually given out by AMD if it misses out on addressing a couple of important issues with a recently published Catalyst WHQL driver update. Catalyst 10.10c Hotfix adds early OpenGL 4.1 support, and surprisingly adds multiple game-specific performance improvements (unusual for a Hotfix).

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 10.10c Hotfix
Details are as follows:

AMD Releases Catalyst 10.4a Preview

Sticking to its announcement, AMD released the ATI Catalyst 10.4a Preview driver suite. In the run up to Catalyst 10.4, the company wanted to quickly resolve an important issue pertaining to Battlefield: Bad Company 2 game load times, which made it release a series of preview drivers, starting with Catalyst 10.4 Preview which resolved the issue for ATI Radeon HD 5000 series GPUs, and now the Catalyst 10.4a Preview, which resolves it for ATI Radeon HD 4000, HD 3000, HD 2000 series GPUs. With this hotfix applied, users will experience reduced map game load times on Bad Company 2. Catalyst 10.4 WHQL will be released later this month.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 10.4a Preview

ATI Releases Windows 7 Preview Driver and ATI Catalyst 8.12 Hotfix

Yesterday ATI released two updates to its Catalyst driver package, the one is actually being a whole new driver for Windows 7. The ATI Catalyst preview driver for Windows 7 includes drivers for all Radeon HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 series GPUs plus the ATI Catalyst Control Center with limited features support.
The ATI Catalyst release 8.12 hotfix is said to improve DirectX10 performance in various applications in multi-core CPU systems. It also resolves the BSOD issues using dual ATI Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire mode.

DOWNLOAD: Windows 7 Preview Driver | ATI Catalyst release 8.12 HOTFIXSource: AMD Customer Care

ATI Catalyst 8.12 Hotfix Released - Corrects Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire X Mode in Vista

ATI programmers have released a hotfix that corrects the black screen and boot OS failure when Catalyst 8.12 is installed on Windows Vista, and two or more ATI Radeon HD 4850 video cards are working in CrossFire X mode. This issue only occurs when two or more ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphic cards are installed in the system with ATI CrossFireX technology. One single ATI Radeon HD 4850 card will not encounter this issue. To download the hotfix for both Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit, please click here.Source: AMD/ATI

Microsoft Acts on MSIE RCE Vulnerability, Issues Hotfix

A major security remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability discovered in the Microsoft Internet Explorer set data security agencies on high alert. Microsoft noted that 1 in every 500 internet users were exposed to the vulnerability through unsafe websites. The exploit allows hackers to remotely execute code over an IE session to gain access to, and comprimise a machine.

In a security advisory updated today, Microsoft claims to have acted on the vulnerability by issuing a critical security update MS08-078 that went online at 1:00 PM, EST. The hotfix is available for all current versions of the web browser through Microsoft Update.

AMD Releases Catalyst 8.11 Hotfix for X58 Platforms

AMD has released an ATI Catalyst driver hotfix, Catalyst 8.11 with Intel X58 i7 Driver, that aims to improve performance on Intel X58 platfoms with ATI graphics accelerator installed. The X58-specific optimizations would also be part of next month's Catalyst 8.12 release. The hotfix applies to all discrete graphics cards, ATI Radeon X1000 series and later. The game-specific improvements are universal (helps everyone). A concise list of improvements this hotfix brings about as listed by AMD is as follows:
  • Improves performance in various Direct3D and OpenGL applications on the X58 platform. AMD's next official ATI Catalyst release (ATI Catalyst 8.12) will include these optimizations
  • Improves performance for the DirectX 9 version of Far Cry 2 on CrossFire compatible systems
  • Improves performance for the DirectX 10 version of Far Cry 2 on both single and CrossFire compatible systems
  • Improves performance for the DirectX 10 and DirectX 10.1 version of Stalker Clear Sky on both single and CrossFireX configurations at higher resolutions
  • Brothers in Arms - Hells Highway no longer displays corruption on the 'Black Friday' level.
DOWNLOAD: for Windows XP (32/64-bit) | for Windows Vista (32/64-bit). More information can be found here.

Catalyst Hotfix 71310 Restores Visual Elements at Expense of Performance

AMD had released an updated hotfix to its ATI Catalyst 8.10 drivers the other day, with hotfix 71310. It succeeded hotfix 70517 for the said version of Catalyst. Hotfixes specific to certain games, are intended to selectively improve hardware performance and/or visual quality. When AMD released the older hotfix for version 8.10 of Catalyst, it aimed to improve performance in general. It was later found by keen observers, that the hotfix manipulated with visual elements of the game in an attempt to gain performance. A popular example of this, was noted in the "lost rocks" issue in Far Cry 2, where the hotfix 70517 caused the texture and/or geometric loss of certain rocks along a track from a scene, presumably reducing load on the graphics processor(s).

With hotfix 71310 issued yesterday, AMD seems to have fixed the issue. Expreview put the hotfix to test, where it was found that the "lost rocks" issue was fixed. The larger issue was of the driver interfering with visual elements the game has to offer. The fix however, came at the expense of performance. Expreview used a test-bed consisting of Core 2 Extreme QX9650 CPU, ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics, 2x 1 GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory, all seated on an ASUS Striker II Extreme motherboard, running Windows Vista 32-bit operating system. The testers used Driver Sweeper to make sure a new variant of the driver installed on a purged environment. Testing Far Cry 2 revealed that the issue was addressed, but at a performance loss. The frame-rate dropped from 48.12 fps to 43.20, which is roughly a 10% loss in frame-rate.

Source: Expreview

AMD Issues Far Cry 2 Hotfix for Most ATI Radeon Video Cards

Odd enough, AMD has just issued a hotfix for the yet to be released PC game title Far Cry 2. The patch is meant to be used for the Radeon X1000, HD 2000, HD 3000 and HD 4000 series cards to improve the performance of Far Cry 2 in DirectX 9 and DirectX 10. Both single and CrossFire compatible systems will benefit from it. The hotfix download package includes both the Display Driver and Catalyst Control Center. The hotfix can be downloaded by clicking on this link here. After all this might be a smart move for AMD/ATI. The official launch date for Far Cry 2 is October 24th, and the game will launch simultaneously on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Now ATI owners will be prepared and hopefully won't have problems running the game when it is released.Source: AMD

AMD Releases Catalyst Hotfix for AGP Cards

ATI has released a hotfix that addresses the following issues when Catalyst 7.9 or higher version is installed on AGP cards:
  • After installing Catalyst 7.9 or higher an error is received launching DirectX based games. The error indicates that Direct3D Failed to Initialize or similar.
  • In Vista your Experience score will drop to 1.0.
  • The DirectX Diagnostic tests will fail in both XP and Vista.
Download the fix from here.Source: ATI

Hotfix for 3DMark 06/05/03 and PCMark 05 Released

Futuremark has released a 2.5MB hotfix for their popular benchmark applications. Set to work with 3DMark03 Build 3.6.0, 3DMark05 Build 1.3.0, 3DMark06 Build 1.1.0 and PCMark05 Build 1.2.0, this hotfix updates the GPU core/memory clock detection library for enhanced compatibility and support for new hardware. It also adds three new files: Direcpll.dll (4.10.1.94), Entech.sys (5.0.1.1), Entech64.sys (5.0.1.1).

DOWNLOADSource: Futuremark
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