AMD Catalyst 12.11 Performance Analysis Review 224

AMD Catalyst 12.11 Performance Analysis Review

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After exhaustive testing of AMD's new Catalyst 12.11 driver, we can confirm that it brings significant performance improvements with every single game we tested. The differences vary by game. The highlights were Battlefield 3, Sleeping Dogs, Star Craft II, and World of Warcraft. This driver also fixes a bug that caused low performance in Dragon Age 2. I didn't expect the low performance in Dragon Age 2 to be fixed at all given that it is a relatively old title. It shows that AMD did take a real close look at game performance.

I also find it surprising that benchmarks like 3DMark 11 and Unigine Heaven saw good gains - something that typically does not happen during "normal" driver updates.

Our testing also confirms that these performance benefits are only for Radeon HD 7000 cards since the HD 6970 in our test group saw no improvements.

Actual performance improvements vary between cards. Improvements start with 4% for the HD 7750 and reach an amazing 10% for the HD 7870. The HD 7950, HD 7970 and HD 7970 GHz Edition settle in at 7%. Single digit improvements may not sound like much, but these results are the biggest performance boosts we've ever seen through a driver update. Especially the 10% on the HD 7870 made it feel like a completely different card while gaming.

AMD should also be commended for bundling their graphics cards up with high-profile games and not just games that nobody wants to play anymore. If you do not plan on buying these games, selling these coupons will provide you with some more money for your next purchase, which could mean a faster card despite a limited budget.

Update: The driver download is now available here.
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