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AMD Rolls Out Catalyst 14.9 WHQL Driver Suite

AMD rolled out the Catalyst 14.9 WHQL driver suite, its quarterly release of WHQL-signed drivers for AMD Radeon discrete- and integrated GPUs. The drivers add support for some of the newer Radeon GPUs, such as the R9 285; and introduce a large list of game-specific performance improvements. The drivers also introduce AMD Eyefinity mixed-resolution modes, Eyefinity display alignment, new video-color and display settings in Catalyst Control Center, an updated AMD Mantle API runtime, and JPEG decoding acceleration for certain GPUs.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 14.9 WHQL for Windows 8.1/7/Vista 64-bit | AMD Catalyst 14.9 WHQL for Windows 8.1/7/Vista 32-bit

The change-log follows.

AMD Announces the Radeon R9 285 Performance Graphics Processor

AMD announced its most important GPU for the season, the Radeon R9 285. The chip is designed to compete with the GeForce GTX 760 from NVIDIA at not just performance, but also energy-efficiency, and low component costs, so AMD can price it better. Based on a brand new 28 nm silicon by the company, codenamed "Tonga," the R9 285 features 1,792 Graphics CoreNext 1.2 stream processors, 112 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory.

AMD partners are free to come up with 4 GB variants. The card supports DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, and Mantle. It features new AMD innovations, such as XDMA CrossFire, TrueAudio DSP, and 4-display Eyefinity by plugging into every connector on the card (two dual-link DVI, one DisplayPort 1.2, and one HDMI 1.4a). The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors. Available now, the Radeon R9 285, from various AMD partners starts at US $249.

All AMD Graphics CoreNext GPUs to Support DirectX 12: Company

AMD production manager Devon Nekechuk, speaking at the company's 30 Years of Graphics event, disclosed that all AMD GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture will support DirectX 12, Microsoft's next generation multimedia API. The company is already up-to-date on the DirectX feature-level support, with support for DirectX 11.2. The company isn't drumming that up too loud, probably because it's developing an ecosystem for its own/competing AMD Mantle 3D API.

AMD Unveils A10-7800 Quad-core Socket FM2+ APU

AMD unveiled a new mid-range APU to take on Intel's Core i3 "Haswell" processors, the A10-7800 (model: AD7800YBI44JA). Based on the 28 nm "Kaveri" silicon, and built in the socket FM2+ package, this part differs from the A10-7850K in lacking an unlocked CPU base clock multiplier, and a rated TDP of just 65W (compared to the former's 95W). The A10-7800 features four x86-64 cores based on the "Steamroller" micro-architecture, spread across two modules, featuring 4 MB (2x 2 MB) of L2 cache; clocked at 3.50 GHz, with a TurboCore frequency of 3.90 GHz. Also featured is Radeon R7 Series integrated GPU featuring 512 GCN2 cores, with support for AMD Mantle and DirectX 11.2. Its uncore component features a dual-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller, with support for DDR3-1866 MHz, and a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex. It's expected to be priced between US $140 and $150.

Three New Electronic Arts Games to Support AMD's Mantle

AMD is pleased to announce that Electronic Arts (EA) will support Mantle, AMD's groundbreaking graphics API, in three new games: Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. These join an extensive catalogue of more than 40 games that now support AMD's revolutionary graphics API. All three of these games are powered by DICE's cutting-edge engine, Frostbite 3.

The latest title from the Battlefield series, Battlefield Hardline follows Nick Mendoza's journey on a cross-country vendetta against once-trusted colleagues of the force.

Sniper Elite III Added to AMD Never Settle Forever

AMD's big score for this Summer, Sniper Elite III has been added to the list of "Silver" and "Gold" rewards, which new AMD Radeon buyers can choose from, as part of their Never Settle Forever offer. Sniper Elite III builds on the success of the popular recon shooter game Sniper Elite V2, by providing bigger maps, more detailed environments, with even more ways to approach your objectives. In addition to DirectX 11, the game can take advantage of AMD's Mantle API, and should be playable on even entry-level AMD Radeon-based solutions, such as A-series "Kaveri" APUs. The game's Mantle renderer makes it take advantage of as many as 8 CPU cores. The game ships with 64-bit binaries, and should take advantage of large amounts of system and video memory. Up for pre-order on Steam for $39.99, Sniper Elite III releases on the 27th of June, 2014.

AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Driver Available for Download

AMD has now let loose a new graphics card driver, a fresh Catalyst build which brings performance enhancements for games like Watch Dogs and Murdered Soul Suspect, plus Eyefinity and Mantle improvements.

The Catalyst 14.6 Beta is available for Windows 7 and 8.1 (8.0 users will have to update to 8.1 if they want to install it) and supports Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 7000, HD 8000, R5 200, R7 200 and R9 200 Series desktop cards, and Mobility Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 6000M, HD 7000M and HD 8000M mobile GPUs.

AMD Catalyst 14.4 WHQL Released

AMD released a WHQL-signed version of its Catalyst 14.4 software suite, its first in four months (the previous one being 13.12 WHQL). The driver builds on the Catalyst 14.4 Release Candidate the company shipped out a little earlier this month, to lend immediate support for Radeon R9 295X2, which hit the shelves on the 21st. The four highlights of Catalyst 14.4 include support for the R9 295X2, CrossFire frame-pacing improvements for a number of games, full support for OpenGL 4.4 API, and bug-fixes for AMD Mantle API.

Among the games AMD worked to improve CrossFire performance of, include Crysis 3, which sees improved frame-pacing; Far Cry 3, which sees improved 3-GPU and 4-GPU scaling; Anno 2070, which sees an overall CrossFire scaling improvement of 34 percent; Titanfall, which sees reduced game flickering an micro-stutter; and Metro: Last Light, which sees 10 percent improvement in CrossFire scaling. The driver also addresses bugs related to 3x1 Eyefinity setups using three Ultra HD displays. For gamers running Battlefield 4 with its Mantle renderer, AMD addressed the performance slowdown seen when switching windows using Alt+Tab; and fuzzy textures when playing the game on rotated displays.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 14.4 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Visa 64-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit | Windows XP 32-bit and 64-bit

AMD Catalyst 14.4 RC Available For Download

AMD has now released a new Catalyst driver build, more specifically, an RC (Release Candidate) of the Catalyst 14.4 which is expected to arrive in its final, WHQL-certified form in the next couple of weeks. The 14.4 brings full support for OpenGL 4.4 as well as some CrossFire and Mantle tweaks. The driver has support for the recently-introduced Radeon R9 295X dual-GPU card as well as for the rest of the Radeon R9 200 Series, the R7 200s, R5 200s, HD 8000s, HD 7000s, HD 6000s and HD 5000s.

The Catalyst 14.4 RC can be downloaded from this page.

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Supports AMD Mantle

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, a turn-based strategy game based in the interstellar age, in which you travel to and colonize habitable planets by realpolitik, was announced last weekend, with support for AMD's Mantle API, besides DirectX 11. Mantle should make the game increasingly playable on AMD "Kaveri" APUs with eye-candy cranked up, and at reasonable mainstream resolutions such as 1080p. Mantle reduces the CPU's role in graphics processing, and should benefit APUs. Developer Firaxis announced the game for three PC platforms, Windows, OS X, and Linux (over Steam). Don't add it to your summer bucket-list just yet. It's slated for this fall.
A trailer video follows.

AMD's Mantle API Adopted by Crytek

AMD this week announced that Crytek and AMD have entered into a technology partnership that will add native Mantle graphics API support to CRYENGINE. CRYENGINE is the latest iteration of the industry-leading game engine that has powered Crytek gaming titles since 2004. AMD's Mantle API makes creating games for the PC more efficient than ever. Launched in September 2013, Mantle works by streamlining communication between a gamer's CPU and GPU. By alleviating communication bottlenecks and making efficient use of existing PC hardware, Mantle helps improve overall game performance.

"AMD is delighted to bring Mantle support to the enormous audience of gamers and game developers reached by Crytek's CRYENGINE," said Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD. "Together, AMD and Crytek are forging a path for the graphics industry that better utilizes gamers' advanced AMD GPUs through 'closer-to-the-metal' API design." The potent combination of Mantle and CRYENGINE empowers game developers to accelerate PC development and extract unprecedented gaming performance, exclusively from AMD products with Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

AMD Rolls Out Catalyst 14.3 v1.0 Beta Driver

AMD has now made available the first beta build of the Catalyst 14.3 graphics driver bringing Mantle and True Audio support for Eidos Montreal's Thief. This release also enables faster loading times in Call of Duty Ghosts (for systems with QUAD CrossFire setups), as well as some bug fixes.

The Catalyst 14.3 v1.0 Beta has support for Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 7000, HD 8000, R7 200 and R9 200 Series desktop cards (plus Mobility Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 6000M HD 7000M, HD 8000M mobile GPUs) and is available for Windows 7, 8, 8,1. More details can be found on this page.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta 1.0

No Mantle Support for Thief Just Yet

Today marks the North American release of Thief, the second AAA game title touted to support Mantle, AMD's ambitious Direct3D alternative. We have also seen some heavy marketing for how TrueAudio will make the game more awesome. Unfortunately it isn't launching with out of the box support for either technology. Eidos has Mantle and TrueAudio support "scheduled for March".

Thief is part of AMD's Gaming Evolved ecosystem, which puts it in AMD's inner circle of developer support. The only other studio and game that boasts of the same, which is in the market, are DICE and Battlefield 4. Based on a heavily modified Unreal Engine 3, Thief will run DirectX 11 out of the box.


Source: Thief PC requirements page

AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta v1.3 for Windows is Now Available

AMD launched Catalyst 14.2 Beta v1.3, the second major public release of its software suite this year. The driver brings stability and performance improvements to Mantle, and comes in time for Thief, the second AAA game title that supports Mantle and AMD TrueAudio. The driver also corrects frame-pacing for dual-graphics in non-XDMA (classic CrossFire) setups, at resolutions above 2560 x 1600 pixels. The installer now re-integrates AMD Gaming Evolved app by Raptr, which optimizes games for your hardware at the click of a button.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta v1.3

The change-log follows.

AMD Announces the Radeon R7 265 Graphics Card

AMD launched the Radeon R7 265, a mainstream graphics card designed to fill the price gap between the $139 Radeon R7 260X, and the $179 Radeon R9 270. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the card features a core configuration not too different from that of the previous generation Radeon HD 7850. On offer are 1024 stream processors, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory. The card supports DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. With it, AMD hopes to take on $150-ish NVIDIA GeForce products such as the GTX 650 Ti Boost, and probably the upcoming GTX 750. It starts at US $149.99.

FinalWire AIDA64 v4.20 Released

FinalWire announced the latest version of its smash-hit system diagnostics and benchmarking suite, AIDA64 v4.20. The new version comes with a long list of feature updates, including a new diagnostics page for AMD Mantle API under the "Display" section, a new multi-threaded memory stress test that takes advantage of AVX2, AVX, FMA, BMI2, BMI, and SSE2 instruction sets. Version 4.20 also adds support for Intel Core "Haswell Refresh" processors, "Wildcat Point" PCH, upcoming "Broadwell" CPUs, "Royston" SoCs; Radeon R5, R7, and R9 series GPUs; and OCZ Vertex 460 SSDs.
DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v4.20 (installer) | FinalWire AIDA64 v4.20 (ZIP package)

AMD Passes On Catalyst 14.1 beta to the Press, Public Release Shortly

After last minute hiccups, AMD managed to release Catalyst 14.1 beta to the press. The driver brings along the first release of Mantle, AMD's ambitious 3D graphics API to rival Direct3D and OpenGL. Installing the driver was less than straightforward. We couldn't just install the driver over our Catalyst 13.12 WHQL installation like we normally do. A driver cleanup and reinstalling did the trick. Catalyst 14.1 beta enables the 3D renderer option in Battlefield 4, which lets you choose between DirectX 11.1 and Mantle.

Our first (subjective) impression, is that we couldn't tell the difference. Our Radeon R9 290 already offered frame-rates well above 60 FPS (1920 x 1080, Ultra, 4x MSAA), on Direct3D, and so we never really stood to gain anything that makes the game more playable than it already was. What could have been interesting, was to see how Mantle makes the lives of R9 270X owners better, who could see frame-rates drop below 60 FPS at our settings. According to a change-log of the driver posted by Guru3D, AMD hasn't optimized Mantle for any of the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) based GPUs other than Radeon R9 290 series, R9 260X, and A-Series "Kaveri" APUs.

Mantle supporting Nitrous Engine Demo Released on Steam

While you are waiting patiently for AMD to get their Mantle drivers out of the lab and into gamers' hands, you may want to head over to Steam as Oxide Games and Publisher Stardock have released a free demo of their Nitrous Engine there, which supports Mantle.

The demo is called "Star Swarm Benchmark", and is a real-time showcase for what the engine is capable of doing. The demo shows two artificial intelligence controlled fleets of starships battling it out. The developers want you to know that the demo is not a deterministic simulation, and repeated runs may produce varying benchmark results due to the highly threaded nature of the Nitrous Engine.

AMD Catalyst Mantle Driver Delayed

As mentioned in our older article from Thursday, AMD discovered a major bug with its Catalyst 14.2 driver at the last minute, which threw a wrench in the works at the company. The driver was originally slated to come out in sync with DICE' update of Battlefield 4 on Thursday. AMD now tells us that their teams have been working overnight to fix the driver, and should have their next status update for us by mid-afternoon EST (New York time), later today. That update doesn't necessarily mean a driver release at that point in time, and so AMD might be forced to label it Catalyst 14.2 beta, keeping up with its calendar-based driver version naming. Catalyst 14.1 beta was expected to ship the first public distribution of Mantle, AMD's ambitious 3D graphics API to rival Direct3D and OpenGL.

AMD also mentioned a 24 hour exclusive period for press to evaluate the driver before public release, so it looks like your download will be at least 36 hours away.

AMD Mantle Driver to Only Benefit Four GPUs Initially

Crushed your F5 key on AMD driver download page yet? Unless you have four very specific AMD Radeon GPUs, you can stop it right now. According to DICE, developers of the first game to take advantage of Mantle, the 3D graphics API AMD is introducing with its Catalyst 14.1 beta driver, will give tangible benefits to only four specific GPUs - Radeon R9 290X, R9 290 (non-X), R7 260X, and A-Series "Kaveri" APU-integrated R7 200 series.

Owners of all other Radeon GPUs, including those based on the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture, such as the recently launched R9 280X and R9 270X, are out of luck, for now. AMD is still ironing out issues with Mantle on those other GCN GPUs. Interestingly, in the same press note, DICE posted performance numbers yielded on an HD 7970, which look promising. AMD is expected to release its Catalyst 14.1 beta driver a little later this week, as it's jousting with some last-minute bug-finds.

Source: DICE

DICE Posts its Own Battlefield 4 DirectX vs. Mantle Performance Numbers

Along with its highly anticipated game patch that includes an AMD Mantle renderer for Battlefield 4, DICE posted numbers from its own testing, pointing out the performance difference between DirectX 11.1 and Mantle. DICE put Battlefield 4 through three test scenarios, entry-level gaming, mainstream gaming, and enthusiast gaming. The entry-level test-bed comprised of an AMD A10-7850K APU, with its integrated Radeon R7 200 series GPU (512 stream processors, 720 MHz GPU clock). This is a CPU and GPU limited scenario, in which the game was tested at 1280 x 720 pixels resolution. DICE notes that with Mantle, the game yielded about 14 percent higher frame-rates.

Next up, is mainstream gaming. The test-bed runs an AMD FX-8350, which offers roughly the same gaming CPU performance as a Core i5-3570K. A Radeon HD 7970 is in charge of graphics, and the game is run at 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, with 1x MSAA and "Ultra" preset. DICE found that the setup yields about 26 percent higher frame-rates. Lastly, there's the enthusiast test-bed, running an Intel Core i7-3960X CPU, and dual Radeon R9 290X (CrossFire) graphics. The resolution stayed at 1920 x 1080, settings at "Ultra" preset, but the anti-aliasing was cranked up to 4x MSAA. The result? A stunning 58 percent higher frame-rates. It's important to note here that in addition to settings, the other thing that's not constant between the three setups is the test scene. Even if DICE' assessment is most generous towards AMD's claims, there really does seem to be a performance increment on offer, with Mantle. Can't wait to check it out for ourselves. For more details and notes from the developer, check out the source link.

Source: DICE

EA-DICE Rolls Out Battlefield 4 Update with AMD Mantle Support

DICE, developers of the smash-hit online multiplayer FPS of the season, Battlefield 4, rolled out its promised game update that lends it support for AMD Mantle API. The low-overhead 3D graphics API, according to leaked documents we've seen, is claimed to improve performance of the game by up to 45 percent in CPU-limited scenarios. By that token, we imagine the performance increment in GPU-limited scenarios to be different. The game patch is only half of the story. The other half is the API itself, which will be distributed by AMD, in its Catalyst software suite. The first public release of Mantle will be part of Catalyst 14.1 beta, which will be rolling out a little later this week. Stay tuned for our comprehensive DirectX 11.1 vs. Mantle testing, starring a Radeon R9 290.

Mantle Enables Significant Performance Improvement in Battlefield 4: AMD

In what could explain AMD's move to include copies of one of the most GPU-intensive games with its new A-Series APUs, the company revealed that Mantle, its ambitious attempt at a 3D graphics API to rival DirectX and OpenGL, "enables up to 45 percent faster performance" than DirectX in Battlefield 4, the only known game with planned support for Mantle, and one of the most popular PC games of the season. AMD's claims are so tall, that even a 512 stream processor-laden A10-7850K APU could offer acceptable frame-rates at 1080p, while a $299 Radeon R9 280X could run circles around a $650 GeForce GTX 780 Ti at this particular game. If anything, it could help Battlefield 4 become a potent tech-demonstrator for the API, selling it to the various game developers AMD has built strong developer relations with.

AMD Announces the Radeon R9 270 Graphics Card

AMD announced a new SKU to heat up the sub-$200 market segment, the Radeon R9 270. A slightly tuned down sibling of the Radeon R9 270X, the R9 270 is based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, and features a similar core-configuration to it. The chip features the same 1,280 stream processor-count as the R9 270X, with 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory, but features lower clock speeds, at 900 to 925 MHz core (PowerTune with Boost), and 5.60 GHz memory (GDDR5-effective), which churns out 179 GB/s of memory bandwidth. Its TDP is rated at 170W, and the card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The GPU supports the latest APIs, including DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. The card starts at $179.99.

AMD's Revolutionary Mantle Graphics API Adopted by Various Developers

AMD today announced three new game developer partnerships for Mantle, its highly acclaimed, groundbreaking graphics API. Cloud Imperium Games, Eidos-Montréal, a part of the Square Enix Group, and Oxide Games are the latest game developers to join AMD in optimizing the way PC games are developed to extract maximum performance from a modern graphics architecture that spans desktop PCs, notebooks and consumer devices like tablets.

"AMD is proud to play an instrumental role in transforming the world of game development with Mantle," said Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD. "With the support and close collaboration between AMD and industry-leading game developers like Cloud Imperium, Eidos-Montréal and Oxide, Mantle can maximize optimization for highly anticipated PC titles, bringing an unparalleled gaming experience for players."
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