Wednesday, May 20th 2015

It's Now Been Over 160 Days Since a Catalyst WHQL Release

As of today (20/05/2015), it has been over 160 days since AMD released a WHQL-signed Catalyst driver update, in what is a clear sign of decay in the company's after-sales support for the consumer graphics market. Once tuned to a near-monthly release of its Catalyst Software suite, which added optimzations for new games, improved upon support for existing ones; CrossFire multi-GPU support profiles; even if not adding support for new GPUs; AMD slipped into quarterly WHQL release cycle in 2013-14. It now seems to have deviated from even that.

The company's last WHQL-signed Catalyst release was Catalyst 14.12 Omega WHQL, which released on 09/12/2014, 161 days ago. The company has since only released two "Beta" drivers, notably Catalyst 15.4 Beta, with optimization for Grand Theft Auto V, and AMD FreeSync support. In contrast, NVIDIA adopted a faster driver update cycle than its previous monthly GeForce WHQL driver releases, under its "Game Ready" driver program. New WHQL-signed releases predate almost every AAA PC game release. There's still no word on a Catalyst WHQL update, and with launch of new graphics cards slated for the third week of June, it's unlikely that the company will release one interim. By then, it will have been 196 days since a Catalyst WHQL driver release. Such a slow driver update cycle would do little to inspire confidence in buying the next-generation Radeon product, even if it establishes a performance lead over GeForce.
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161 Comments on It's Now Been Over 160 Days Since a Catalyst WHQL Release

#1
chinmi
CMIIW... i thought amd use a "beta" because they don't want to pay microsoft for the whql certificate ?
so amd release driver. don't pay microsoft, don't get whql certificate = named it beta driver
meanwhile nvidia release driver. pay microsoft, get whql certificate = named it whql driver
Posted on Reply
#2
pidgin
And why is that a problem exactly?
Posted on Reply
#3
W1zzard
chinmi said:
CMIIW... i thought amd use a "beta" because they don't want to pay microsoft for the whql certificate ?
so amd release driver. don't pay microsoft, don't get whql certificate = named it beta driver
meanwhile nvidia release driver. pay microsoft, get whql certificate = named it whql driver
WHQL certification from MS is not that expensive, especially not from the perspective of a major hardware manufacturer. No way AMD can't afford that.
Posted on Reply
#4
Darksoviet
Dont blame AMD, the company is extremely busy now...:(
Posted on Reply
#5
Mathragh
And on the flipside, AMD users are repeatedly stating drivers lately have been more stable than they've ever been, while it seems to be the reverse for Nvidia users (anecdotally, as is tradition with these claims)

I can't help but feel like this is a bit of fear mongering, and apart from maybe that Cars game which might need a new driver (which AMD also said they were committed to bringing out soon) I mostly see their drivers performing very well.
Especially when you compare the performance of AMD cards to Nvidia's non-Maxwell generation, where the Titan and 780 Ti used to be stronger than their AMD counterparts the latter now outperform them in newer games.

I'm all for keeping manufacturers on their toes and all, but basing quality solely on 1 metric, and putting down some fairly baseless claims about the future viability of AMD in general is in my opinion not really beneficial to anything but pageviews/sensationalist journalism.


On a side note, they seem to be far from standing still in their windows 10 driver branch. See this thread (which happens to also shine light upon the major deficiency of AMD's current driver).

Edit: I tend to forget about crossfire it seems...
Posted on Reply
#6
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
pidgin said:
And why is that a problem exactly?
Regular driver updates for the latest AAA games is kindof a nice thing to have. Especially when it comes to games like The Witcher 3, where optimisation is at the forefront of user's minds so they get the best performance possible. Simply put, for standard domestic users, a graphics card with persistent support for the latest and greatest titles is more desirable than one that is rarely supported and updated.

Capitalising on a AAA release with a new driver is also great PR for any company. It's win-win for user and company. I get the subtle impression that the driver department either no longer exists (outsourced), or is comprised of very very few people.
Posted on Reply
#7
zzzaac
RCoon said:
Regular driver updates for the latest AAA games is kindof a nice thing to have. Especially when it comes to games like The Witcher 3, where optimisation is at the forefront of user's minds so they get the best performance possible. Simply put, for standard domestic users, a graphics card with persistent support for the latest and greatest titles is more desirable than one that is rarely supported and updated.

Capitalising on a AAA release with a new driver is also great PR for any company. It's win-win for user and company. I get the subtle impression that the driver department either no longer exists (outsourced), or is comprised of very very few people.
I have to agree, and to be honest, something I wish AMD did as well. My experience on Witcher 3 is hit or miss on my 290X (on High Settings)
Posted on Reply
#8
RejZoR
Well, if they don't have problems, why release new drivers? Sure it feels good to have new driver every second day, but is it really necessary? If games can run well using thing WHQL driver, then isn't that a great news and a good reflection of quality? Just saying. You can still use Catalyst 15.4 BETA. People should stop being scared of word BETA. AMD should really replace it with something else like "Non WHQL" or something of milder form. I've been using "BETA" drivers for ages and they always worked exactly the same if not better than WHQL...
Posted on Reply
#9
pidgin
A ridicilous non-issue. AMD gonna rule teh gpu world with DX12. Thinking of getting some stock even.
Posted on Reply
#10
Aceman.au
While I did have an issue with an AMD driver update which lead to me having to format my OS, recent drivers have been stable for me and I don't see a WHQL certification as a necessary thing.
Posted on Reply
#11
Alexandru Laslau
Haha, AMD has had a perfectly good driver for 160 days.
Meanwhile, Nvidia releases drivers every week and all of them bsod on alt-tab. So...what was the problem here ?
Posted on Reply
#12
Xzibit
I'm personally of the mind that drivers should be made for the hardware not the applications. Drivers updates should be fixing compatibility issues to software/applications and not "Optimization" per application.

If every game needs a "Optimization" driver it just feeds the ever growing trend of shitty pc ports and poorly optimize game by lazy developers cutting corners for reason to minimize cost and raise profits.
Posted on Reply
#13
Dragonsmonk
Aceman.au said:
While I did have an issue with an AMD driver update which lead to me having to format my OS, recent drivers have been stable for me and I don't see a WHQL certification as a necessary thing.
Same here, compared to the old days even the WHQL driver, even though it is "so old" works and runs fine. I rather get one "non-beta" once every 6 months, but then with quality then to be told "it is new" and all that is added are 2 or 3 optimisations for newly released titles.

When I read the headline all I could think was "slow-news day?"
Posted on Reply
#14
W1zzard
Alexandru Laslau said:
Haha, AMD has had a perfectly good driver for 160 days.
Meanwhile, Nvidia releases drivers every week and all of them bsod on alt-tab. So...what was the problem here ?
Works for me. I have alt+tabbed in-and-out of games like 200 times yesterday
Posted on Reply
#15
Basard
14.9 is workin fine!

I hate having to click that 'skip' button every damn month or so... I had to this morning--probably because AMD saw this post. :P
Posted on Reply
#16
ZoneDymo
If it aint broke, dont fix it.

Only if games actually would have issues would a new driver be needed and well with GTA5 etc they did with a beta driver.

Asking for "optimization" for a game is just senseless. Optimization means nothing in itself.
Its almost like people want driver (insert higher number) just for the higher number and not for it doing anything apart from the claim that a game is now more optimized.

Very rarely have new drivers ever significantly improved performance, it always has more to do with making sure games dont crash or texture loading issues or the like.
If there are no issues, then there really is no need for a new driver.
Posted on Reply
#17
Mathragh
Alexandru Laslau said:
Haha, AMD has had a perfectly good driver for 160 days.
Meanwhile, Nvidia releases drivers every week and all of them bsod on alt-tab. So...what was the problem here ?
If you really have this problem, there is something wrong a new driver version probably won't fix :p
I suggest you try to completely uninstall(with 3rd party software like DDu) and reinstall your drivers , maybe even reinstall windows completely.
Posted on Reply
#18
Octopuss
btarunr said:
As of today (20/05/2015), it has been over 160 days since AMD released a WHQL-signed Catalyst driver update, in what is a clear sign of decay in the company's after-sales support for the consumer graphics market. Once tuned to a near-monthly release of its Catalyst Software suite, which added optimzations for new games, improved upon support for existing ones; CrossFire multi-GPU support profiles; even if not adding support for new GPUs; AMD slipped into quarterly WHQL release cycle in 2013-14. It now seems to have deviated from even that.

The company's last WHQL-signed Catalyst release was Catalyst 14.12 Omega WHQL, which released on 09/12/2014, 161 days ago. The company has since only released two "Beta" drivers, notably Catalyst 15.4 Beta, with optimization for Grand Theft Auto V, and AMD FreeSync support. In contrast, NVIDIA adopted a faster driver update cycle than its previous monthly GeForce WHQL driver releases, under its "Game Ready" driver program. New WHQL-signed releases predate almost every AAA PC game release. There's still no word on a Catalyst WHQL update, and with launch of new graphics cards slated for the third week of June, it's unlikely that the company will release one interim. By then, it will have been 196 days since a Catalyst WHQL driver release. Such a slow driver update cycle would do little to inspire confidence in buying the next-generation Radeon product, even if it establishes a performance lead over GeForce.


Aren't you supposed to write news articles? This is not the section to vent your opinions.
Also, stop repeating the same stupid mantra about the WHQL stuff. AMD repeatedly stated the "betas" were just as stable as the WHQL version, and the ONLY difference is the four letters.

I wouldn't have expected such stupid and useless thread from a staff member.
Posted on Reply
#19
buggalugs
AMD are focused on HBM, DX12, Windows 10 and 390X (or whatever they will call it) so its understandable. I don't have any drivers issues so I'm not worried. It is a long time though.
Posted on Reply
#20
Relayer
Mathragh said:
And on the flipside, AMD users are repeatedly stating drivers lately have been more stable than they've ever been, while it seems to be the reverse for Nvidia users (anecdotally, as is tradition with these claims)

I can't help but feel like this is a bit of fear mongering, and apart from maybe that Cars game which might need a new driver (which AMD also said they were committed to bringing out soon) I mostly see their drivers performing very well.
Especially when you compare the performance of AMD cards to Nvidia's non-Maxwell generation, where the Titan and 780 Ti used to be stronger than their AMD counterparts the latter now outperform them in newer games.

I'm all for keeping manufacturers on their toes and all, but basing quality solely on 1 metric, and putting down some fairly baseless claims about the future viability of AMD in general is in my opinion not really beneficial to anything but pageviews/sensationalist journalism.


On a side note, they seem to be far from standing still in their windows 10 driver branch. See this thread (which happens to also shine light upon the major deficiency of AMD's current driver).
Let's not cloud the situation by interjecting some facts. Just stick to the AMD drivers suck angle and don't make waves. The fact that AMD has actually closed the gap a bit with Maxwell and matched or overtook Kepler (comparing TPU's reviews) is in no way a result of their driver program. Or maybe it is?
Posted on Reply
#21
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
  • News poster posts factual information regarding recent events, nothing opinionated, merely stating facts and informing readers of the present situation
  • Some readers then proceed to rain down all hell upon news poster, making various angst-filled comments for no particular purpose other than to hate on the information provided
Don't shoot the messenger. The only reason people are getting all defensive is because of the lifelong feud that still (stupidly) exists between NVidia and AMD.

Asus haven't released a decent Xonar driver in years but nobody defends them for being "too busy" or "good enough".
Posted on Reply
#22
NC37
Don't get your panties all bunched, they'll have new drivers next month I'm sure ;D.
Posted on Reply
#23
Relayer
RCoon said:
Regular driver updates for the latest AAA games is kindof a nice thing to have. Especially when it comes to games like The Witcher 3, where optimisation is at the forefront of user's minds so they get the best performance possible. Simply put, for standard domestic users, a graphics card with persistent support for the latest and greatest titles is more desirable than one that is rarely supported and updated.

Capitalising on a AAA release with a new driver is also great PR for any company. It's win-win for user and company. I get the subtle impression that the driver department either no longer exists (outsourced), or is comprised of very very few people.
Drivers for TW3 have been a major drama. It's not because AMD hasn't wanted to do a driver. The cooperation between AMD and the dev have been really problematic. I haven't really heard AMD's side being reported, but the Dev has released statements, then recanted them, now they are working on something, said you couldn't optimize some Gameworks features for AMD. Now they apparently are working together on something. It's been a mess though.
Posted on Reply
#24
buildzoid
Personally I prefer slower driver updates since I hate updating drivers. So the less often I have to do it the better. My main computer was running 14.3 drivers until some 15 driver released.
Posted on Reply
#25
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Octopuss said:
This is not the section to vent your opinions.
Oh but it is. It's marked "editorial" from the moment I posted it.
Posted on Reply
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