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Author Topic: ATI Cards: Can someone explain how Catalyst drivers and profiles work?  (Read 612 times)
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Ridah
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« on: December 11, 2011, 06:51:53 AM »

I'm a bit confused about updating my 6950's drivers. I see an 11.11 update, a separate 11.11c driver update, and a CAP3 update. I figure I'm supposed to download CAP3 on top of the 11.11 drivers, but where do the 11.11c drivers fit in? Do I uninstall 11.11 first?

Confused!  icon_cry
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Sean Lama
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2011, 07:39:11 AM »

I think those are sort of hotfix drivers released in between their regular monthly ones. Usually its for specific tweaks, and fixes for big name titles. I think these are for fixing issues games like Skyrim and Battlefield 3.
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Calavera
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2011, 01:30:11 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on December 11, 2011, 06:51:53 AM

I'm a bit confused about updating my 6950's drivers. I see an 11.11 update, a separate 11.11c driver update, and a CAP3 update. I figure I'm supposed to download CAP3 on top of the 11.11 drivers, but where do the 11.11c drivers fit in? Do I uninstall 11.11 first?

Confused!  icon_cry

You just need the latest hotfix drivers (currently 11.11c) if you have anything released since the last full update (BF3, Arkham City, Skyrim). If you're not running CrossFire, you don't need the CAP3 update as the application profiles are Crossfire only. There's not really a need to uninstall the old drivers if you're running Windows 7. The uninstall then run driver cleaner then re-install routine isn't really required anymore with the Win7 driver model.

All of AMD's driver packages are complete packages (even the hotfixes) so when you download the latest you get the latest of everything (AVIVO, Hydravision, etc). Let's say you have 11.7, you can just download 11.11c and you're set. No need to download 11.11 first.

Just use this link to the AMD Support feed. They post the hotfix link here when they come out.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 01:37:41 PM by Calavera » Logged
Ridah
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2011, 07:42:27 PM »

That clarifies things, thank you.

On a related note (I posted this in the Batman thread as well), I'm not too thrilled with overall gaming performance. I've had a hard time determining if I'm not getting the performance I expected out of a Crossfire setup because games/drivers aren't optimized for it or because my AMD Quadcore CPU is being a bottleneck (as opposed to, say, a system with the intel i7 2600k CPU).

I'm considering selling my two 6950s, buying a GTX 580, and going with an Intel setup.
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Sean Lama
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 10:06:39 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on December 11, 2011, 07:42:27 PM

That clarifies things, thank you.

On a related note (I posted this in the Batman thread as well), I'm not too thrilled with overall gaming performance. I've had a hard time determining if I'm not getting the performance I expected out of a Crossfire setup because games/drivers aren't optimized for it or because my AMD Quadcore CPU is being a bottleneck (as opposed to, say, a system with the intel i7 2600k CPU).

I'm considering selling my two 6950s, buying a GTX 580, and going with an Intel setup.

I'd bet its the CrossFire setup. AMD isn't updating the Crossfire Application Profiles (CAP) fast enough and unlike nVidia, you can't make your own. Even then, the performance gain isn't nearly as much as with nVidia. HardOCP has been running image quality and performance comparisons between nVidia and AMD lately, their Skyrim one is pretty telling. Here is their Batman: Arkham City one as well.

I just switched from a 5770 to a GTX 560Ti 448 Cores (a 570 Basically) and am really pleased with the difference. nVidia just has better products for games, AMD has better products for photo editing and multi-display setups.

I doubt the processor is really making much of a difference, most (if not all) games are significantly more limited by the GPU than the CPU. Replacing the 6950 with a 580 (or 590) will get you a bigger difference than changing from AMD to Intel.
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Ridah
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 06:18:42 AM »

Interesting. Well, I'll try selling the 6950s and trying a GTX 580.
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Sean Lama
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 02:47:56 PM »

"Skyrim is an incredibly fun game, and we know a lot of people are playing it this month. We've given AMD every chance to improve the gameplay experience in this game. Now that we've tested Catalyst 11.11b Preview Driver we can say this is easily the best driver to use for this game. You will get CrossFireX support, if you are running an HD 6000 series, and that will give you a noticeable gameplay experience improvement over a single-GPU. In comparison to the competition, we have consistently found current generation NVIDIA GPUs to provide the fastest and smoothest experience in this game. We have also found that GTX 580 SLI cannot be beat by allowing 8X MSAA + FXAA + 8X TR SSAA. If you want the absolute best image quality and performance in this game, that is where it is at."

I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but it sounds like there isn't anything wrong with your setup. Read the Skyrim review for more info - NVidia in SLI still needed special drivers - they just had them ready at launch.

What kind of system do you have, and what kind of performance are you seeing?
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Ridah
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 10:40:00 PM »

I don't even own Skyrim, it's games in general that have performance issues. I don't like the idea of worrying about whether each game I play is optimized for SLI/Crossfire. Both Batman and Saints Row were not running well.

I have an AMD Phenom X4 3.4ghz CPU and 6GBs of RAM. I've asked multiple times here if switching to an Intel setup would benefit my games and have been consistently met with "no" as the answer.

I sold my two 6950s and ordered a 580 GTX which should arrive tomorrow, I'll update with what I find.
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 07:24:31 PM »

Oddly enough, I just sold my ATI 5770 after picking up Vinda-Lou's GTX 460.

So I will be of no more help with Catalyst driver recommendations. biggrin
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Calavera
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 09:55:49 PM »

As an update to what I said earlier. With the 12.1 Catalyst Drivers, you can make your own CAP for games, but it's not 100% that it will work. If it does, the game will get the same performance as with the official CAP. Still, nVidia is where it is at for performance and IQ right now.
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Ridah
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2011, 11:58:40 PM »

I installed by 580 GTX and test drove the two games that were making me depressed: Batman and Saints Row. Now they both run smooth as butter.

I'll never bother with a dual card setup again.
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Sean Lama
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