AMD's Radeon HD 7000 Series was launched 10 months ago, and it introduced a new shader architecture called "GCN". Back then, AMD told us that this is the way of the future and that the new shader architecture will bring many improvements that might not have been fully exploited yet. While there have been some driver performance improvements in the past, they have been relatively small and were application specific.
Price reductions have also helped AMD keep their products competitive in the face of NVIDIA's offerings. The HD 7970 was launched at a $550 price point; it costs $390 today.
AMD is now trying to pull off a left-right punch to make their products even more interesting to consumers.
Starting now, the company offers a rich game bundle to anyone who purchases one of their graphics cards. Current customers will also see significant performance improvements with the new "Never Settle" AMD Catalyst 12.11 driver, which is available for download [url=/downloads/2176/AMD_Catalyst_12.11_Beta_3.html]here[url].
Let's talk about the game bundle first.
You see a matrix of available offers above. The highlights here are certainly Far Cry 3 and Hitman Absolution, which are some of the most highly anticipated AAA titles of this year. The 20% off Medal of Honor coupon might also come in handy if you decide to buy the game. If you don't plan on playing any of these games, you can still get rid of the coupons on eBay, which will help offset the cost of a new graphics card purchase.
AMD's second announcement today is that the new Catalyst 12.11 "Never Settle" driver will come with general performance improvements for all Radeon HD 7000 cards by improving performance across the board with most games. Certain titles, like Sleeping Dogs and Battlefield 3 (and other titles based on that engine like Medal of Honor: Warfighter), got some extra love with even larger performance improvements.
AMD's Never Settle Catalyst 12.11 driver will be available as a non-WHQL beta immediately. A WHQL version will follow later on in November.
AMD also clarified that these performance improvements are only for the Radeon HD 7000 Series, which uses the GCN shader architecture. Older cards will not see any improvements.
For this article, we have tested the HD 7750, HD 7770, HD 7850, HD 7870, HD 7950, HD 7970and the HD 7970 GHz Edition with our recently updated test suite. We also completed a test run with the HD 6970 to verify that there are no performance improvement for older cards.