Drivers are a lot like couches - the more comfortable you get the further behind the styles you tend to be. And the AMD Catalyst Control Center was getting very, very comfortable. It had been quite a while since the user interface for AMD's graphics driver and while basically all of the functionality remains intact, there are interesting changes and additions worth noting.
The new Catalyst Control Center 2 will be available starting today via a 10.12 preview driver at http://game.amd.com/ and they will be fielding feedback from the community going forward.
The first thing you will see is that the style and appearance of the driver is much improved; it looks very "Web 2.0" and modern with minimal information to overwhelm you all at one time. Driver functions are broken up into tasks now and each task is categorized and fit into various pathways. You can see categories start with displays, video improvements, gaming, performance and information panels.
As you progress through the menus you'll see a breadcrumb of your path: in the image above we went from Start to Desktops and Displays and then are currently in the Desktop Properties. You can click anywhere in that breadcrumb trail to return back to the menu or submenu desired.
Inside many of the sections of the updated Catalyst Control Center 2 will look very familiar, like our Desktop Properties section here where you can adjust resolutions, color depths, etc. Also, notice that green pushpin icon on the upper right hand corner of the current section? That allows you to "pin" your frequently used or modified areas into the left hand bar under the pinned label. Here you see we have pinned the "Desktop Properties" section since we frequently are going to change our display resolution.
Pretty much everything you love from previous versions is still included - and in this case it looks kind of odd as the interface for the Overdrive section hasn't been updated.
In the standard mode, changing the gaming settings for anti-aliasing, filtering and more are done on an individual basis.
Of course, there is an advanced view, though it is not enabled by default.
The advanced view is likely what most of our readers are interested in. Essentially this takes all the menu paths and breaks it down into collapsible menus accessed with just a few clicks. And, as we hoped, you can still get to all the AA/AF/AI options in a single screen if you want for tweaking by experienced users.
Even in the advanced mode you can utilize the pinned items and presets.
Presets give the user the ability to save collections of settings to quickly switch between should the need arise. Do you often take your notebook or PC between your office and your TV for a HTPC setup? Not only can you access the presets in the CCC but you can also set them to be enabled via the start menu, the system tray menu or even a hotkey combination.
AMD also for an icon-only view of the advanced version of the new CCC2.
Finally, another great addition to the control panel is the addition of a search field that can help you quickly find a setting even if you can't remember the path to take to get to it manually. This could be very handy for occasional users.
We only got to spend a few hours with the new Catalyst Control Center 2 as we had to move on to testing other items of the GPU variety, also from AMD. (More on that soon!) There are surely additions and changed that AMD will be making as the new CCC2 evolves, and AMD is going to be soliciting your feedback on the forums of their http://game.amd.com/ website. There were also some alterations made to the multi-display / Eyefinity section we will be diving into in the near future. The changes are mostly aesthetic but the latest iteration of the AMD driver package impressed us in our time with it.