IntroductionAMD has the habit of making its year-ending driver release "memorable" by either coming up with sweeping performance increases or introducing new features, and, sometimes, a mixture of both. The company named its latest such release the Catalyst 14.12 Omega.
With 2013-14, AMD stopped releasing WHQL-signed Catalyst releases on a near-monthly basis and switched to a slower, almost quarterly Catalyst WHQL release cycle, with updates building on each of those WHQL releases rolling out as betas and hotfixes. Some of those betas ship with some very important game optimizations and are sometimes so far away from being incorporated into a WHQL release that hardware reviewers like us have, at times, been forced to keep our bench up to date with those betas. AMD's Catalyst 14.12 Omega is one such release. The driver we got ahead of its December 9th 2014 launch isn't WHQL-signed and comes with a curious version string.
AMD's Catalyst 14.12 Omega consists of a combination of new software features that spice up the feature-set of AMD's Radeon GPUs; and on paper, a handful of game-specific performance updates have also been included. AMD focused on three areas in this release: new features, performance updates, and improvements to image quality.