AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Driver Now Available, Adds Mixed Resolution Eyefinity

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 27, 2014 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: radeon, R9, R7, eyefinity, amd

AMD has just launched their Catalyst 14.6 Beta drivers for Windows and Linux. This driver will contain performance improvements for Watch Dogs, launching today in North America, and Murdered: Soul Suspect, which arrives next week. On Linux, the driver now supports Ubuntu 14.04 and its installation process has been upgraded for simplicity and user experience.

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Unless performance improvements are more important to you, the biggest feature is the support for Eyefinity with mixed resolutions. With Catalyst 14.6, you no longer need a grid of identical monitors. One example use case, suggested by AMD, is a gamer who purchases an ultra-wide 2560x1080 monitor. They will be able to add a pair of 1080p monitors on either side to create a 6400x1080 viewing surface.

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If the monitors are very mismatched, the driver will allow users to letterbox to the largest rectangle contained by every monitor, or "expand" to draw the largest possible rectangle (which will lead to some assets drawing outside of any monitor). A third mode, fill, behaves like Eyefinity currently does. I must give AMD a lot of credit for leaving the choice to the user.

Returning to performance with actual figures, AMD claims "up to" 25% increases in Watch Dogs at 1080p or 28% at 1600p, compared to the previous version. The new CrossFire profile also claims up to 99% scaling in that game, at 2560x1600 with 8x MSAA. Murdered: Soul Suspect will see "up to" 16% improvements on a single card, and "up to" 93% scaling. Each of these results were provided by AMD, which tested on Radeon R9 290X cards. If these CrossFire profiles (well, first, are indicative of actual performance, and) see 99% scaling across two cards, that is pretty remarkable.

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A brief mention, AMD has also expanded their JPEG decoder to Kabini. Previously, it was available to Kaveri, as of Catalyst 14.1. This allows using the GPU to display images, with their test showing a series of images being processed in about half of the time. While not claimed by AMD, I expect that the GPU will also be more power-efficient (as the processor can go back to its idle state much quicker, despite activitating another component to do so). Ironically, the three images I used for this news post are encoded in PNG. You might find that amusing.

AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Drivers should be now available at their download site.

Source: AMD

May 27, 2014 | 12:27 AM - Posted by Randomoneh2 (not verified)

With 3x1080p monitors, will you be able to run peripherals at lower resolution?

Also, I hope invisible portions aren't rendered in that "Expand" scenario.

May 27, 2014 | 12:34 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I expect that the invisible portions are rendered. I cannot see any way they can avoid rendering portions of the frame buffer, in a generalized fashion, with existing APIs (OpenGL, DirectX).

May 27, 2014 | 12:36 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Lies. Not been released yet.

May 27, 2014 | 12:38 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I guess AMD has not pressed the shiny red button yet.

May 27, 2014 | 02:11 AM - Posted by JohnGR

So, theoretically, someone with not that much money in the pocket could use two old lower resolution and ultra cheap monitors as side monitors to his main fullHD monitor for gaming.
Bezels will be huge of course but the cost could be, I don't know, $100-$120(?) for two 1280X1024 old monitors. So, with $100-$120 someone could add two extra monitors left and right of the main monitor that could give an advantage when playing online FPS games without spending too much money and without going from a 1920X1080 resolution to a massive 5760X1080 that could have a huge impact on performance.

Is there any logic in this idea? Could this bring Eyefinity to a bigger user base?

May 28, 2014 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Dusty

That sounds like the ideal situation for this setup! I could also see it being used for racing or other simulators, where the middle, main, screen has almost all of the focus, and the "wing" screens are just there to fill the peripheral vision.

May 27, 2014 | 02:22 AM - Posted by CrisisHawk

I...I...damn it.

I find the timing of this incredibly annoying.

I just had a set up with a 2560x1440 in the middle and 2 1440x900 in portrait at either side. I was waiting for something like this, so I could run eyefinity on that set up.

But a week ago I gave up waiting and brought 3 1080p monitors to replace the two 1440x900s.

So now that was a waste.... I even tried asking AMD through their twitter Q&A thing if something like this was coming and got no response.

May 27, 2014 | 11:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It has always been thus with CPU/GPU technology, hardware and software included, and the moderators that Staff the AMD, and other sites are not necessarily the best and brightest. Much of your waiting, on the software side even more so than the hardware side, has to do with the proprietary nature of the business, and the lack of a quick avenue of adoption into the Display Standards across the entire industry. With all the multi-monitor support in the modern GPU systems, there does not appear to be anyone driving the push towards a standard to mix and match monitors in a multi-monitor setup. It's just like this movement towards better drivers, and getting the drivers closer to the metal, drivers were not so important as getting the product out of the door and sold, when there was a growing PC market, so why did the GPU and display manufactures not stress better drivers and mixed video resolution years ago, and include variable refresh in this same question.

Really AMD, My laptop came with your Discrete GPU, and you and the device's OEM can not ship the device with some built-in GPU monitoring software, so I can see how things are running on the GPU, that and a complete lack of documentation in the laptops manual, describing the features of the GPU, and how it relates the laptop. Catalyst control center is a piece of crap!

It's More of the same $HIT different year, for the entire CPU/GPU/Display industry!

May 27, 2014 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

wow this is really great, everyone can afford eyefinity now, just put 2 19" monitors and you have pereferal vision for fps and simulation, beside beside i have a sapphire VaporX with Flex so i dont even need active displayport adapter, 3x DVI or whatever combination will do, for about 20€ for 19" monitor, im definitly getting it, now just need to find a desk to fit it all...

May 27, 2014 | 04:11 AM - Posted by icebug

Now I can use My Dell Ultrasharp with my 2 other Dell 1080p displays instead of using the other crappy 1080p display or buying another dell 1080p. Looks like I'm going back to a triple vert set-up! Now to get another 7950 so I can actually push all of the pixels.

May 27, 2014 | 08:21 AM - Posted by Shortwave (not verified)

I would of kept my 6970 if this was possible or known to be in works at the time. Bummer for AMD.

I've been enjoying the nvidia experience lately so it's cool.

They just released some more DX11 updates it seems.
I'm loving what they're doing.

The 560ti I'm playing with actually maxes out a lot of games you wouldn't expect after all these years.. More so slowly with each month it seems.

May 27, 2014 | 08:21 AM - Posted by willmore (not verified)

"Ironically, the three images I used for this news post are encoded in PNG. You might find that amusing."

Ironic, yes, but you picked the right format for the images you used, so thumbs up to you!

May 27, 2014 | 11:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Eh its cool but I dont see how this is going to help. I have a 1440p monitor in the center and 2 1080s on the sides, out of the options the old style still seems best, as Expanding would cut off alot of content and push my cards more, and the FIT would chop up my 1440.

May 27, 2014 | 11:46 AM - Posted by SkilledRebuildz (not verified)

!!!!!Available @ GURU3D!!!!!!

May 27, 2014 | 08:17 PM - Posted by SpeedyVV (not verified)

WAIT!!!! Will this work for:

Yes I mean Portrait+Landscape+Portrait.

Please, please tell me it does!!!!

May 28, 2014 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Dusty

I would think it would, seeing as monitor rotation is independent of the other monitors. I love a PLP set-up too, and will probably buy a third monitor to set it up if this works well. Please try it!

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