ATI's Catalysts and how they've changed

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 12, 2005 - 12:10 PM |

It's been a year of monthly updates for ATI's catalysts, with current rumours of a 13th release close to christmas.  AnandTech examines just what has changed over 2005, and ventures into the performance irregularities we saw earlier in the year.

"We have seen on more than one occasion that our benchmarks have been turned upside down and

inside out, with cases such as ATI's Catalyst 5.11 drivers suddenly giving ATI a decisive win in

OpenGL games, when they were being soundly defeated just a driver version before. However, we have

also seen this pressure to win drive all sides to various levels of dishonesty, hoping to capture

the lead with driver optimizations that make a product look faster on a benchmark table, but

literally look worse on a monitor. Quake3, 3DMark 2003, and similar incidents have shown that

there is a fine line between optimizing and cheating, and that as a cost for the flexibility of

software, we may sometimes see that line crossed.

That said, when the optimizations, the tweaks, the bug fixes, and the cheats are all said and

done, just how much faster has all of this work made a product? Are these driver improvements

really all that substantial all the time, or is much of this over-exuberance and distraction over

only minor issues? Do we have any way of predicting what future drivers for new products will do?"

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    Source: AnandTech

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