AMD cards get an unexpected boost from the Linux 3.12 kernel

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2013 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: amd, linux, catalyst, 3.12 kernel

Phoronix had a very pleasant surprise over the weekend which was apparently also a complete surprise to the AMD Linux driver team; vastly improved GPU performance on the 3.12 kernel.  In tests on a dozen cards ranging from the elderly HD3850 to the HD6950 all cards showed at least some improvements and in some cases increases of 50%.  Keep your eyes tuned for updates as they work with AMD's Linux team to see where these performance increases originated from and to give Phoronix time to get their hands on new hardware for more testing.  Check out the complete review here.

AMD-Catalyst-Linux.jpg

"Over the weekend I released benchmarks showing the Linux 3.12 kernel bringing big AMD Radeon performance improvements. Those benchmarks of a Radeon HD 4000 series GPU showed the Linux 3.12 kernel bringing major performance improvements over Linux 3.11 and prior. Some games improved with just low double-digit gains while other Linux games were nearly 90% faster! Interestingly, the AMD Radeon Linux developers were even surprised by these findings. After carrying out additional tests throughout the weekend, I can confirm these truly incredible performance improvements on other hardware. In this article are results from ten different AMD Radeon graphics cards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta is now available

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2013 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: frame pacing, Catalyst 13.8 Beta, catalyst, beta, amd

Yes, you too can now benefit from the Frame Pacing which Ryan has been testing and posted the results to.  For anyone with a multi-GPU system using Radeon cards this is an update worth installing as you will see a significant benefit to your gaming experience, along with the other benefits that the new Catalyst offers.

image002.jpg

Highlights of the Windows AMD Catalyst™ 13.8 Beta release:

  • Support for CrossFire Frame Pacing
    • Frame Pacing ensures that frames rendered across multiple GPUs in a CrossFire configuration will be displayed at an even and regular pace
    • Enabled through the AMD Catalyst Control Center; Globally or on a per application basis
    • Supported for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications and resolutions up and including 2560x1600 (single display)
  • OpenGL 4.3 support – full support for the OpenGL 4.3 feature set
  • Performance improvements found in AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta:
    • Metro Last Light – Improves performance up to 7% on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
  • OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles:
    • Users can now create per application 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications
    • OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations)
  • AMD Enduro Technology enhancement – The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU

Windows Catalyst Package:  http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-8WINBetaDriver....


Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta release:
This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new features:

  • OpenGL 4.3 – full support for the OpenGL 4.3 feature set
  • SLED11 SP3 support
  • PowerXpress A+I support with Intel Haswell on SLED11 SP3
  • Dynamic primary surface resizing
  • Kernel 3.10 support

Resolved Issue highlights:

  • Enduro Technology on AMD + AMD Ubuntu platforms
  • Source Engine games hang when running on the High Performance ASIC
  • Maya 2011-2013 – Various visual corruptions issues have been resolved
  • Maya 2011-2013 – Mesh/Polygons selection performance has been improved
  • Unigine Heaven – Intermittent Crashes have been resolved
  • Unigine Heaven – Performance has been improved up to 11% on single GPU configurations
  • Left 4 Dead 2 – Visual corruption issues have been resolved
  • Visual artifacts are no longer seen with XvBA playback and CABAC=No

“Testing use Only” watermark has been removed.

Linux Catalyst Package: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-8LINBetaDriver....

Source: AMD

AMD Catalyst 13.4 (WHQL) and AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2013 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: catalyst, graphics drivers, catalyst 13.4, Catalyst 13.5 beta

cAT.jpg

AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes all of the latest performance optimizations and fixes available in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3, and is Microsoft logo certified.

AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.4

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 13.4
Includes support for the for the AMD Radeon HD 7990 Series and AMD Radeon HD 7790 Series

AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes support for the following OpenGL 4.3 features:

  • GL_ARB_compute_shader o GL_ARB_multi_draw_indirect
  • GL_ARB_shader_storage_buffer_object o GL_ARB_arrays_of_arrays
  • GL_ARB_clear_buffer_object o GL_ARB_ES3_compatibility
  • GL_ARB_explicit_uniform_location o GL_ARB_fragment_layer_viewport
  • GL_ARB_invalidate_subdata o GL_ARB_program_interface_query
  • GL_ARB_shader_image_size o GL_ARB_stencil_texturing
  • GL_ARB_texture_buffer_range o GL_ARB_texture_query_levels
  • GL_ARB_texture_storage_multisample

Performance Highlights of AMD Catalyst 13.4 (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.1): Includes all of the performance improvements found in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3 on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

  • Resolved issue highlights of AMD Catalyst 13.4 (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.1) AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes all of the fixes found in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3
  • Significantly improves latency performance in Skyrim, Boderlands 2, Guild Wars 2,Tomb Raider and Hitman Absolution
  • Resolves Texture flickering seen in DirectX9.0c applications.
  • Resolves slight corruption seen in Tomb Raider with TressFX enabled for CrossFire and single GPU configurations
  • Fixes graphical corruption on objects and textures in Call of Duty - Black Ops 2

AMD’s latest Catalyst Application Profile:

AMD Catalyst 13.4 CAP1 (Can be used with AMD Catalyst 13.4 and AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta – note, the CrossFire profiles are already included in AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta )

AMD Catalyst Application Profiles include support for AMD single GPU, AMD CrossFire, AMD Dual Graphics, and AMD Enduro Technology configurations

  • The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct: Fixes image quality issues when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Crysis 3: Improves CrossFire performance in 3 and 4 GPU configurations
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Improves CrossFire performance
  • Unigine Heaven: Improves CrossFire performance in 3 and 4 GPU configurations ·
  • Hitman Absolution: Resolves application issues when running application at 1680x100 with 8xAA enabled

AMD Enduro Technology profile updates:

  • Alien Colonial Marines – acm.exe
  • BioShock Infinite – BioShockInfinite.exe
  • Crysis 3 – Crysis3.exe
  • GodMode – GodMode.exe
  • Grid 2 – grid2.exe
  • Hawken – HawkenLauncher.exe
  • Neverwinter – gameclient.exe
  • SimCity – SimCity.exe
  • Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army – NZA.exe
  • The Walking Dead Survival Instinct – WalkingDead.exe
  • Tomb Raider – TombRaider.exe
  • Kapersky Anti-virus - avt.exe

The latest available AMD Catalyst CAP can always be found here:

http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/crossfirex-app-profiles.aspx


Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 13.4 Linux Driver:

This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new features: RHEL 6.4 production support OpenCL console mode support Kernel 3.7 and 3.8 support


AMD Catalyst™ 13.5 Beta high-lights (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.4/AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta) on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series.

Download the driver here: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-5WINBetaDriver.aspx

· AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta Includes support for the for the AMD Radeon HD 7990 Series and AMD Radeon HD 7790 Series

Resolved Issues: · Tomb Raider: Corruption is no longer seen on the AMD Radeon HD 7790 when Tress FX is enabled

Source: AMD

We interrupt your Titan previews for a look at comparitive Catalyst version performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, 2012

Today might be Titan Preview Day as you can see from the links below as well as Ryan's article here, but [H]ard|OCP would like to offer you solid performance numbers instead.  They took a look back at the Catalyst 12.x series of drivers that AMD GPU owners have been using over the past year. With the HD 7970 and HD 7950 they tested 7 of AMD's past drivers for performance on four popular games.  The findings are fairly clear, after a poor start to the year AMD's drivers showed improved performance as the year went on, with leaps after games were released and the driver could be optimized for speed.  The HD7970 did improve over the year but it was the 7950 that proved to receive the biggest gains.

H7950.gif

"We continuing our look at driver performance improvements over time by evaluating AMD’s 2012 driver performances on both the AMD Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 video cards. We will see how drivers from the beginning of the year to the end of year have impacted real world gameplay performance . "

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta GPU Driver With Optimizations For Crysis 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, amd, graphics drivers, gpu, Crysis 3, catalyst

The Crysis 3 beta was launched January 29th, and AMD came prepared with its new Catalyst 13.2 beta driver. In addition to the improvements rolled into the Catalyst 13.1 WHQL graphics driver, Catalyst 13.2 beta features performance improvements in a number of games.

Foremost, AMD focused on optimizing the drivers for the Crysis 3 beta. With the new 13.2 beta drivers, gamers will see a 15% performance improvement in Crysis 3 when using high MSAA settings. AMD has also committed itself to future tweaks to improve Crysis 3 performance when using both single and CrossFire graphics configurations. The driver also allows for a 10% improvement in CrossFire performance in Crytek’s Crysis 2 and a 50% performance boost in DMC: Devil May Cry when running a single AMD GPU. Reportedly, the new beta driver also reduces latency issues in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Finally, the 13.2 beta driver resolves a texture filtering issue when running DirectX 9.0c games.

For more details on the driver, AMD has posted the change log on its blog as well as suggested image quality settings for AMD cards running the Crysis 3 beta.

Now watch: PC Perspective live streams the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta.

 

Source: AMD

The driving force behind revisting Radeon and GeForce cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 15, 2012 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, catalyst, forceware

We have seen quite a few driver updates since the release of cards like the HD 7970 GHz Edition and the GTX 680 which inspired [H]ard|OCP to revisit the performance of these cards in several games.  Some results were not surprising, the two top cards have historically run neck and neck in performance and price and that remains true now.  There was a definite loser however, the performance of the GTX 660 Ti matches that of the HD7870 but the price is similar to the much faster HD7950.  Check out the full results here.

H_gputime.jpg

"With the recent release of new beta drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the upping of clocks by AMD, significant performance gains have been claimed by both parties for current generation video cards. We will investigate with a 6-way roundup comparison to see if we can crown a champion."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta is Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 26, 2012 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.9, beta, driver

You can grab the latest Catalyst Beta driver today, the 12.9 beta driver and Catalyst Application Profiles for CrossFire today.  For the beta driver you must pick your card and OS version as normal, from there scroll below the current WHQL 12.8 driver and you will see the beta.  Why would you want to grab the driver?  It could make your Panda bears perform better and for those on laptops, the introduction of AMD Enduro Technology will allow you to set separate power profiles for every installed application, determining if it uses hybrid graphics or only the APU.

AMD_Banner.png

http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta: AMD Catalyst Mobility support for AMD Enduro Technology

AMD Catalyst Mobility now includes support for AMD Enduro Technology.
AMD Enduro Technology for Notebooks delivers:

  • Unbeatable battery life
  • GPU accelerated performance for gaming, video, and compute apps
  • A Seamless and automatic experience

New Enduro Technology features found in Catalyst 12.9 Beta:

  • Re-designed Catalyst Control Center user interface
  • View all profiled applications
  • View recently run applications
  • Profile applications based on power source
  • Expert mode control and customization
  • Performance centric AC
  • Battery centric DC

cat129.png

Performance highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta (versus AMD Catalyst 12.8)

  • Up to 10% in Lost Planet 2 in single GPU configurations

AMD’s latest Catalyst Application Profile: AMD Catalyst 12.9 CAP1 (to be used with AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta)

Find the latest available AMD Catalyst CAP here : http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/crossfirex-app-profiles.aspx

  • World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX11, DX9): Fixes texture flickering observed when enabling high graphics settings with CrossFire enabled
  • World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX9): Resolve corruption when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center
  • World of Warcraft - (DX9): Resolves performance issues observed with the 64-bit variant of the client
  • Tribes Ascend: Improves CrossFire performance
  • F1 2012: Improves CrossFire performance, resolves texture flickering in reflections

Resolved issue highlights of the AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta driver

  • Tri and Quad CrossFire + Eyefinity configurations – Users will no longer see lower than expected performance in certain DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications
  • FireFox – corruption is no longer observed on CrossFire configurations
  • Enabling Overdrive settings no longer increases clocks in all power states
  • AMD Video Converter support is available in AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Windows 7 and Windows Vista packages

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Linux Driver: New OS Support
This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems

  • Ubuntu 12.10 early look support
  • RHEL 6.3 production support

Source: AMD

AMD Catalyst 12.8 arrives

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.8

Get your new Catalyst 12.8 driver today!

AMD-Eyefinity-Technology-Hero-Banner_736W.jpg

Windows 8 support AMD’s first logo certified and unified driver for Windows 8 production

Featuring support for the DirectX 11.1 and the new WDDM 1.2 driver model:

  • AMD’s first official unified and logo certified driver for Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  • Target-Independent Rasterization (TIR): TIR is a new rendering path that enables superior anti-aliasing in Direct3D driver applications
  • Native Stereo 3D Support: Windows 8 natively supports stereoscopic 3D gaming and videos via compatible applications
  • Unified Video API: Video playback has been integrated into the DirectX® 11 API, enabling simultaneous video and gaming content. Transcoding performance may also be improved for supporting applications.
  • Optimized screen rotation for rotation aware devices
  • Improved sleep/resume performance
  • Optimized GPU power consumption Major technologies / features also supported under Windows 8:
    • AMD Eyefinity technology
    • OpenCL
    • OpenGL
    • Unified Video Decoder (UVD)
    • AMD Dual Graphics
    • AMD CrossFire technology
    • AMD Overdrive
    • AMD Catalyst Control Center
    • Vision Engine Control Center

Performance highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.8 (versus AMD Catalyst 12.6)

  • Up to 25% in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • Up to 3% in Battlefield 3
  • Up to 6% in Batman: Arkham City
  • Up to 3% in Dues Ex: Human Revolution
  • Up to 6% in Crysis 2 Up to 15% in Total War: Shogun
  • Up to 8% in Crysis Warhead
  • Up to 5% in Just Cause 2
  • Up to 10% in Dirt 3

AMD’s latest Catalyst™ Application Profile: AMD Catalyst 12.7 CAP3 (to be used with AMD Catalyst 12.8)

Find the latest available AMD Catalyst CAP here : http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/crossfirex-app-profiles.aspx

  • The Secret World (DX11): Resolves corruption seen in HUD/options when running in CrossFire mode on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
  • TorchLight 2 – Improves single GPU performance, and disables CrossFire due to incompatible support when running in a Multi-GPU configuration
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Improves CrossFire performance
  • Hawken: Improves CrossFire performance

Resolved issue highlights of the AMD Catalyst™ 12.8 driver

  • Over/underscan settings are correctly restored on system reboot Audio is no longer disabled if the connected HDTV Is switched off/on
  • Shogun 2 : Flickering text is no longer experienced
  • Star Wars – The Old Republic : In game cinematic no longer experience flicker when using the arrow keys
  • Dirt Showdown: 8-Ball track No longer hangs with Crossfire enabled
  • Max Payne 3 : A black screen is no longer observed when launching game in DirectX 11 mode with Crossfire enabled

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 12.8 Linux Driver: New OS Support
This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems
Ubuntu 12.04 production support

Source: AMD

Announcing the new Catalyst 12.6 WHQL and 12.7 Beta

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 29, 2012 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.6, catalyst 12.7, whql, beta

feature2.png

AMD announced two new drivers today, the final WHQL build of the 12.6 beta that many are currently using as well as a new beta version of 12.7.  These represent the first new drivers on AMD's new release schedule, instead of a new driver every month they plan on now releasing a new driver once it has been proven to improve performance and been fully tested.  The 12.6 offers the same benefits as the 12.7, the difference is that the 12.7 introduces a new feature called the Video Codec Engine which is designed to provide powerful GPU support for video encoding tasks in applications such as vReveal and ArcSoft MediaConverter.  Check out AMD's blog post here for more details and scroll down to read the highlights of the 12.6 WHQL driver.

driver_improvements-635x357.png

 

Resolved issues in AMD Catalyst 12.6 WHQL and Catalyst 12.7 Beta

  • Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 and AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series in TriFire or QuadFire configurations with AMD Eyefinity will no longer result in a BSOD when launching a DirectX application.
  • Multi-display configurations will no longer BSOD at the desktop on AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs.
  • Additional fixes for AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series GPUs hanging the system upon entering sleep.
  • Some occurrences of this issue may be related to an outdated motherboard BIOS, however. Please ensure that your motherboard BIOS is up to date.
  • Resolves AMD CrossFire technology scaling issues seen in AMD Catalyst 12.4 with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center: Overdrive page is no longer intermittently missing
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center: GPU Activity gauge is no longer intermittently missing
  • Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series GPUs in an AMD CrossFire technology config no longer results in system hangs after cinematics in Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Heroes and Generals: Blocky corruptions in scenes with smoke effects under the DirectX 11 mode are no longer experienced.
  • DiRT Showdown: Improves scaling for AMD CrossFire technology configurations using the AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
  • HDMI audio is no longer disabled if the connected HDTV is powered off/on.

Source: AMD

AMD June Update: Catalyst monthly drops gone, higher clocked 7700, more free games

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 31, 2012 - 06:07 PM |
Tagged: dirt showdown, catalyst, amd, 7770, 7750

I just got off the phone with AMD this afternoon as they gave me a quick update on the status of Radeon PC gaming with some interesting news about the low-end HD 7700 cards and the world of Catalyst driver updates going into the future.

amdjune01.png

First up, there a few changes coming to gamers looking at cards in the Radeon HD 7770 series including higher base clocks, higher overclocking potential and the inclusion of a free copy of DiRT Showdown.  When the Cape Verde GPUs first launched in February the default clock speeds were 1.0 GHz on the HD 7770 and 800 MHz on the HD 7750.  Going ahead, the default clocks will be available to AICs at 1.1 GHz and 900 MHz, a 100 MHz clock speed jump for each.  

Along with these base clock increases you'll find that the Catalyst driver will allow you to push the clock speed up a bit higher as well.

Maybe more interesting than all that is many of the new SKUs will be including a free copy of the new DiRT Showdown, a value of $50 according to Steam today.  For a graphics card with a starting price of $109 or $129, a free copy of basically anything is a pretty sweet addition and should entice some people to make the move and upgrade from integrated graphics. 

amdjune03.png

After that good news came some more INTERESTING news about changes to AMD's driver organization going forward.  I have never been shy about sharing my disgust for some of the confusion that AMD's driver numbering systems, in-between and dual releases caused not only reviewers but the consumers we represent.  In an attempt to prevent this again AMD is moving away from the fixed cadence of a monthly Catalyst driver release and instead will move to a "dynamic" schedule.

Starting with driver release 12.6, Catalyst drivers will be released in an on-demand format and will be posted when there is a need for it either with significant performance increases or the release of a new game, etc.  You can see above that they are hoping to make sure that each Catalyst release will "deliver substantial benefit" to consumers as opposed to the monthly releases that might only offer minor changes. 

Here is where I think they are making a mistake: they are still going to be versioned as YEAR.MONTH so you'll see 12.8, 12.11, 13.3, etc types of versions.  But what if you release more than one a month?  Are we going to 12.85?  12.8.1?  If you are skipping the monthly cadence then WHY BOTHER with the "year.month" nomenclature?  Just increase the version in arbitrary amounts like we see with NVIDIA's drivers.  It just makes more sense.

Regardless, I am curious to see how much work AMD continues to put into their driver releases.  When I asked AMD is this meant they were scaling back on resources for the Catalyst team, I was assured that was NOT the case and in anything they were increasing staff in this area.  We'll see over time if AMD's new driver schedule (or lack thereof) benefits gamers.

Source: AMD