Review Index:

Frame Rating: Catalyst 13.8 Brings Frame Pacing to AMD Radeon

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: AMD

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 (DirectX 11)


Battlefield 3™ leaps ahead of its time with the power of Frostbite 2, DICE's new cutting-edge game engine. This state-of-the-art technology is the foundation on which Battlefield 3 is built, delivering enhanced visual quality, a grand sense of scale, massive destruction, dynamic audio and character animation utilizing ANT technology as seen in the latest EA SPORTS™ games.

Frostbite 2 now enables deferred shading, dynamic global illumination and new streaming architecture. Sounds like tech talk? Play the game and experience the difference!

Our Settings for Battlefield 3

Here is our testing run through the game, for your reference.

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Immediately we see some good results!  The most important comparison here is between the orange line (HD 7990 with the 13.4 driver) and the black line (HD 7990 with the new 13.8 driver and frame pacing enabled).  Compare the lines in the first two graphs - FRAPS FPS and observed FPS - notice how the orange line dips dramatically from FRAPS to observed frame rates?  The black line does NOT do that indicating we are not seeing runt frames!

The frame times graph clearly shows that difference at work as the black line of the HD 7990 with the latest beta driver and frame pacing enabled is MUCH tighter than the orange line.  The result is frame time variance that never gets out of control and stays within 2-3 ms.  Looking at the FPS by Percentile graph you can also see that because of these changes the observed frame rates are much higher and actually push the Radeon HD 7990 well ahead of the GTX Titan and the GTX 690.


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The same story is repeated here at 2560x1440 - the new 13.8 driver with frame pacing produces a MUCH better result!  The frame times aren't quite as consistent and smooth as the GTX 690 still but the improvement over the previous driver iterations is clearly night and day.


August 1, 2013 | 02:19 PM - Posted by mAxius

Good work Ryan you nerd keep the pressure on them :D

August 1, 2013 | 02:33 PM - Posted by Particle (not verified)

Does the new frame pacing setting apply to just the Radeon 7000 series parts or will owners of 6000 series (or perhaps older) cards also benefit? I ask as an interested dual 6970 user, and I haven't really seen anyone talking about anything but 7000 series parts.

August 3, 2013 | 02:59 AM - Posted by Automaticman (not verified)

Frame Pacing will work on 5000, 6000, and 7000 parts. I'm personally using it on my 2 CF 6950s with good results.

August 1, 2013 | 02:38 PM - Posted by Mac (not verified)

No before and after videos? No side by side comparisons with the competing solutions? :( The data makes my head hurt

August 1, 2013 | 06:28 PM - Posted by Chris B (not verified)

It can be pretty confusing, but here's my understanding of it!

Doing a before and after video would be incredibly difficult because video files are recorded at a set FPS. In a nutshell, think of a metronome ticking.


That's the ideal framerate, a frame at every tick of the metronome.

What was happening was:


Ideally the graphs would show a flat line with no peaks in it, the further they deviate from that flat line, the further they are from that perfect tempo.

August 1, 2013 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The best 'before' would be to check out ryans first piece on the subject. 

August 2, 2013 | 12:25 AM - Posted by nabokovfan87


There are some good videos there. Check out the far cry 3 one.

November 11, 2013 | 04:34 PM - Posted by Rob (not verified)

> The data makes my head hurt.

It is no different than any form of exercise.

* Practice lifting (reading) smaller weight (difficulty) first.
* Do some workouts (skim the Article, and read the suggested backlinks that offer more info) to build up your strength.
* Go back and do more exercise, both when tired and not.
* Practice and take breaks.

That WILL make your Brain hurt, just like exercise makes your Muscles ache; same reason, the same benefit.

Your Brain will hurt less and less as the years pass, and you will be as fast as Bruce Lee (but not at Kung Fu unless you practice that in between reading Technical Materials).

Rob -

August 1, 2013 | 02:42 PM - Posted by Fishbait

Great work! Now when I get a 2560 x 1440 panel I can think about getting a second 7950 :D

August 1, 2013 | 02:55 PM - Posted by brisa117

So just to be clear, when you say multi-monitor isn't fixed, is that only eyefinity? I have two monitors, but only game on one at a time.

August 1, 2013 | 10:24 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

So long as eyefinity is disabled, you're good. 

April 21, 2014 | 05:15 PM - Posted by Sebastian (not verified)

Well, not for a few minutes. 7-mile stage Sportspsychiatrist Dr Steve
Peters, the team participates in friendship visits in which they
meet individuals with disabilities. Strategically placed jets pump out air and suddenly it's like riding
a bike to be more interested in youu as a person,
during his or her safety. Therefore, cyclists can suffer from Patellofemoral pain or Runner's knee syndrome.

August 1, 2013 | 03:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You exaggerate a little with the last Sleeping Dogs graphs. The important question is: can a gamer perceive a 5ms variance at below 25ms?? I think the answer is NO.
Sleeping Dogs feels just as smooth on the 7990 as on the 690.

August 1, 2013 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Terminashunator (not verified)

Sounds good Dr. Anon

August 1, 2013 | 10:25 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Depends largely on the gamer.

August 2, 2013 | 12:26 AM - Posted by nabokovfan87

And it's also not just lag, screen tearing, latency on input, all kinds of things are affected.

August 1, 2013 | 03:10 PM - Posted by Patatas X (not verified)

I just the the way the review reveals pretty much everything that AMD is still hiding on the new driver. Don't get me wrong, I'm an APU user; I'm greatly affected by this issue myself... albeit in a small scale.

Great job as always Ryan! Make em bleed!

August 1, 2013 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Metwinge (not verified)

Hopefully not to long for 3 way and multi monitor support as that was what I was hoping for in the first place.

Good job either way Ryan!

August 1, 2013 | 03:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Good job once again Ryan. Very good news for Radeon users. Now to test 3- and 4-GPU configs to see if the benefits apply there as well...

August 1, 2013 | 04:05 PM - Posted by André Coelho (not verified)

Congratulations in proving you had solid data on the issue and in making AMD see this was something they needed to address. Also, congratulations on this amazing in-depth analysis of the new driver. It's really well laid-out and very thorough. Excellent work. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to see the content you produce.

August 1, 2013 | 04:39 PM - Posted by tbone8ty (not verified)

now that we have a proper crossfire driver from AMD.

curious how well this works on AMD's mobile side...

Specifically I have a laptop with an A10-4600m APU + 7670m discrete gpu (7660g+7670m)...

will this help my setup?


August 1, 2013 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Johnny Rook (not verified)

I have said it before and I say it again: This frame-pacing, frame-pacing, FCAT or whatever you want to call the methodology, was the biggest step in gaming and GPU industry since DirectX 9 came along. And Ryan deserves a lot of credit for picking up from what Tech Report's has done and giving it an all new dimension, to the point AMD couldn't ignore it anymore. THIS IS A MAJOR WIN FOR US, THE GAMING COMMUNITY.
I'm glad this is out but, I only wish this were here sooner, when I had my HD4870X2 back in 2008 or my 2x HD4890 in 2009 or my HD5970 in 2010. After 5 years, I was burnt out and move on to a single-GPU card and got the best one I could afford, a GTX780. We can't have it all, I suppose.

August 1, 2013 | 05:51 PM - Posted by JC (not verified)

This option does not show up for the 7950 for some reason. I did a clean install of the driver and I don't see this option at all for my Radeon 7950.

August 1, 2013 | 06:00 PM - Posted by grommet

Do you have two 7950s in Crossfire? - It is only a fix for crossfire configurations so I imagine it doesn't show up in single card setups.

August 1, 2013 | 06:27 PM - Posted by JC (not verified)

The 7950 is two GPU's on one board though. If it works for a single 7990 and 7970, then it should also work for the 7950 as it is also a dual GPU card.

August 1, 2013 | 07:08 PM - Posted by biohazard (not verified)

The 7950 and 7970 are NOT dual GPU cards the 7990 is basically two 7970s on the same PCB and is the only dual gpu card AMD sells.

August 1, 2013 | 07:21 PM - Posted by JC (not verified)

Thanks! Totally my mistake. The name/numbering schemes for these cards confuse me.

August 1, 2013 | 06:43 PM - Posted by Nilbog

I would really like some clarification on if this works with the 6900 series.

I have this installed, i see the "Frame Pacing" enabled in CCC.
Is this doing anything?

August 1, 2013 | 07:35 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

I guess the biggest question is ... does Crossfire look smoother to you now when you game?

August 2, 2013 | 12:28 AM - Posted by nabokovfan87

7xxx only is what I have heard.

Easy way to test it to go to a benchmark and run it with it off. Pay attention to screen tearing on the background more so then fps and numbers. If you notice the jitter go away when you turn it on and run the same thing, then it works. If not... well... not.

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