AMD Releases New WHQL Catalyst 15.7 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 8, 2015 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: Win 10, whql, drivers, catalyst, amd, 15.7, 15.20

Sadly, it is not every month that we see a new AMD WHQL driver release.  Several years back AMD made the promise that they would release WHQL drivers on a monthly basis, and for quite a while they kept to that promise.  Engineering cuts, new architectures, and more challenges than ever with new technologies have essentially ended the monthly model.  AMD does their best by putting out beta drivers when major titles are released, but it has been quite some time since we last saw a full WHQL.

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Today we finally see the release of the very latest branch of the Catalyst drivers.  Last month we saw the 15.15 drivers that were released with the AMD FuryX.  We also had a fair share of beta drivers to keep users updated on the latest game profiles.  The version that has been released today is based on the 15.20 code path and is officially known as Catalyst 15.7.

There are a lot of new features and support in this driver, which makes it a pretty big deal.  I am guessing that it seems like such a big deal because major updates have been few and far between.  This is AMD's first driver to support the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

The next set of features is very exciting for anyone who has any GCN based card, no matter the age.  Virtual Super Resolution is enabled for all GCN 1.0 cards and above.  The same goes for Frame Rate Target Control.  AMD has included new CrossFire Profile Enhancements for many of the latest games and top sellers.  The only new feature that does not support all GCN cards is that of AMD FreeSync with CrossFire support.  As readers may remember, FreeSync did not previously work in a CrossFire solution.  FreeSync itself is relegated to the newer members of the GCN family.  The only other potential disappointment (and not new news at all) is still the lack of CrossFire support (much less FreeSync with CrossFire support) in DX9 titles.

AMD promises performance improvements as compared to the previous Omega drivers released last year.  This is fairly typical, but people are already reporting some better performance and CPU usage in WinX previews based on the latest build.  It is great to see AMD releasing a new set of drivers, but just like any addict... we can't wait for our next hit and what new features and performance they may bring.

You can find the drivers here.

Source: AMD

July 8, 2015 | 06:20 PM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

New AMD drivers always have me exited! These days, that unfortunately equals the libido of a 83-year-old whose blue prescription pills have run out prematurely. :/

But today's my lucky day, and I'm going to enjoy it, damnit!

:P

July 8, 2015 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why hasn't there been a review of Frame Rate Control for us still on 60hz monitors.

Like the Sapphire R9 390 on a 1920x1080 monitor at 60hz. Be interested if there any power savings during game play.

July 8, 2015 | 07:38 PM - Posted by arbiter

I think reason there is no review, that is something like that that been out for a long time, its called v-sync.

July 8, 2015 | 10:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

V-Sync still renders un-seen frames. This is suppose to control clock speed which V-Sync cant.

July 8, 2015 | 10:56 PM - Posted by kenjo

say what?. Any sources to back up that rather astonishing claim.

v-sync limits the display and rendering to the refresh rate. It would be total madness rendering faster than the display rate since the only outcome of that would be potential worse image quality.

July 9, 2015 | 02:54 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

"V-Sync still renders un-seen frames."

No, it doesn't.

"This is suppose to control clock speed which V-Sync cant."

Controlling the GPU's power states in accordance to its current graphics load would be a driver thing. AFAICT AMD had not implemented any obvious downclocking-measures even with my 290X consistently under-utilized (say, 70-ish%) and V-sync on.

July 8, 2015 | 10:06 PM - Posted by Keven Harvey (not verified)

It's probably just a framerate limiter, which isn't new, with potentially some optimizations for further power savings.

July 9, 2015 | 02:44 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Sadly, it is not every month that we see a new AMD WHQL driver release.

Josh tell me something. What is more important? The stability of the driver or if that driver comes with a WHQL on it's title?

July 9, 2015 | 02:58 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

JohnGR, tell me something. If AMD are confident in their drivers, why wouldn't they submit them for WHQL certification and release them properly? Why did it take them 7 months and a complete refresh of their product line-up to do the bare minimum in product support?

Also, how's your Keppler card doing?

July 9, 2015 | 03:32 AM - Posted by remon (not verified)

Who the fuck cares about WHQL cert? Those Nvidia drivers that killed gpus were certified.

July 9, 2015 | 04:27 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

Well, only every single OEM partner in the world.

July 9, 2015 | 11:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

OEMs care about drivers sometimes, but they care about parts suppliers even more, and as a parts supplier AMD is just about in the right place, now to get Nvidia, and Intel down and desperate and keeping their prices low, and not dominating the markets, and innovating to survive. How are the OEMs going to produce systems that people want to buy, when they have big giant chip monopolies like Intel telling the OEMs to make Ultra-books and such, who the hell does Intel think it is, a lowly parts supplier who through government inaction was allowed to get too much market share and force its crappy graphics on the entire marketplace. I do hope that Apple gets some Zen based APUs with AMD graphics and HBM memory in its MacBook SKUs, and forces chipzilla back to its proper role as a parts supplier, like it was back in the days of the IBM PC.

Laptop OEMs do have a habit, of customizing the Intel graphics drivers, and Intel does not offer updates on its drivers if the OEM has customized it, and even HP, with some updated AMD graphics drivers for its ProBook laptops, the laptop is 2 years old, where is a driver update.

It's time to bust the monopolies, and require the laptop OEMs to offer updated graphics drivers, on the same schedule that the owners of laptops with generic graphics drivers get theirs form the makers of their GPU parts.

July 10, 2015 | 02:34 AM - Posted by sob3kx (not verified)

Microsoft doesnt give a .... about how good drivers are. For 250 dollars/system, they would put WHQL on Mechahitler. Lets talk about Kepler downgradeing drivers or card frying one.

July 9, 2015 | 11:32 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

" It is great to see AMD releasing a new set of drivers, but just like any addict... we can't wait for our next hit and what new features and performance they may bring."

Personally I think that a monthly WHQL is somewhat useless and a waste of resources, but once every six to seven months is too long.

July 9, 2015 | 12:49 PM - Posted by JohnGR

I think I was reading that there is a cost to get a WHQL certification from Microsoft. If that's true and looking at AMD's financials, I guess they try to save every penny they can.
On the other hand AMD did posted many beta drivers these last months, and if beta is just a word on the title and doesn't point to instability issues, I am fine with that.

PS I hope you had enough time to use this driver on R9 Fury review. I was reading a few slides at eteknix today that show that R9 Fury moved from the 14th to tomorrow.

PS2. If it is a matter of financials, maybe they should create a new naming, for example "AMDQL" just to differentiate the versions they believe they are stable, from real betas.

July 9, 2015 | 01:06 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I do believe that is correct when submitting a driver to the MS Labs for validation, there is a fee.  No idea how much it is though.  Not something that is advertised.  OEMs require it, so having more a year might make AMD's products more desirable for these guys?  I don't know all of the politics behind it.

No idea on regular Fury testing.  Will be interesting to see who has articles ready for tomorrow if that is the case.

July 9, 2015 | 02:20 PM - Posted by JohnGR

Thanks for the replies Josh. Have a nice day :)

July 9, 2015 | 08:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Any performance increase in Arma 3?

July 9, 2015 | 09:46 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

Oh great, these drivers produce jumping artefacts when using (3D accelerated?) Chrome on my stock 290X.

Lovely.

July 9, 2015 | 10:16 AM - Posted by funandjam

Until I get a VRR monitor, will definitely take advantage of FRTC. New drivers work fine, no artifacting or any other visual issue, played BF4, Star Trek, Zuma and a few others and all worked well, maybe it's because I have a stock 7970?

July 9, 2015 | 11:15 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Who gives a crap if drivers are WHQL? Nvidia just released a beta driver. Lets dump on them...

July 9, 2015 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You don't understand. It's okay for Nvidia to release beta drivers. It's only a problem for AMD because they should only ever be allowed to release WHQL drivers.

By the way, WHQL certification is Microsoft saying, "Yeah, they paid us."

July 9, 2015 | 11:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah and all those home users need certificate driver verification on their high security gaming rigs. AMD has failed us again!

July 9, 2015 | 12:04 PM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

In the time between this new 15.7 release and the last Catalyst release, Nvidia provided 9 proper driver releases for their competing cards in addition to betas and hotfixes.

Several times, AMD didn't even have a beta driver ready for the release of an AAA game. As their customer, I expect better.

July 9, 2015 | 11:48 AM - Posted by Searching4Sasquatch (not verified)

NVIDIA released a HOTFIX driver. Not even listed on GeForce.com, NVIDIA.com, or within GFE. Those are ALL WHQL.

July 9, 2015 | 01:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wow, AMD finally bothered to pay microsoft to bless their drivers. It's been like a year since that last happened. This just really shows their incompetence and lack of dedication to their customers.

July 9, 2015 | 01:45 PM - Posted by obababoy

Every game that has come out that I have wanted to play has worked fine on my AMD card. WHQL is just a cash cow from M$ and the multiple betas that have come out for games have been MORE than sufficient. I wonder if they changed the name to "non-windows update certified" AMD would get less flack. Beta sounds incomplete which the drivers clearly are not. I do wish the "beta" drivers would come out BEFORE the game is released but I have no major problems.

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