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AMD rolls drivers into Steam

AMD rolls drivers into Steam

ATI Radeon owners who use Valve's Steam can now update their drivers automatically.

AMD has announced a coup over rival graphics specialist Nvidia: a deal with Valve that sees gamers given the option of updating their graphics card drivers over the Steam platform.

Steam users running ATI Radeon graphics cards, which the latest Steam Hardware Survey suggests could be as high as 87 percent of DirectX 11 gamers, will be given the ability to check for updates via Valve's digital distribution platform - and to quickly install new driver versions in the same way as they install a game or demo.

Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president of AMD's software division, claims that the fit between his company and Valve is a good one because "AMD Gaming Evolved and Valve share the belief that 'Gamers Come First,' [and] we now have the opportunity to work together to help ensure the best possible experience for PC gamers."

Valve's director of business development Jason Holtman believes that the agreement will help keep gamers at the cutting edge of performance, stating that "PC gamers demand the most of their gaming hardware and providing these updates automatically will help ensure those playing via Steam are playing at optimal performance."

While the Steam platform is a well-established software distribution system for games publishers, this is the first time it's been used to spread updates for critical operating system files.

It's not yet known how the system will handle beta releases: gamers often upgrade to the bleeding-edge in order to eke out the maximum performance from their rigs or to fix a bug in a newly-published game, and if AMD fails to offer an opt-in beta system for receiving the very latest driver builds it could well end up with a much smaller uptake than it is expecting.

With AMD on board, Valve has given itself a pretty unique selling point in the games distribution market, but in order for it to capitalise on its success, it needs to capture the remaining segment of the market - which, unfortunately, means trying to convince Nvidia to follow in AMD's footsteps.

Are you pleased to see that keeping your graphics drivers up-to-date has just got that little bit easier, or worried that critical system files are now being rolled into Steam? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

29 Comments

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Jezcentral 17th September 2010, 10:33 Quote
This is excellent news. The closer we get to just having the one button to press (i.e. launch Steam) to make all the updates automatic, the better.
do_it_anyway 17th September 2010, 10:39 Quote
What a damn fine idea.

The green camp should take note. I would love to have this for my GPU
the-beast 17th September 2010, 10:41 Quote
So long as they don't make steam mandatory for driver updates in future or make the updates mandatory themselves (Remember the graphics card company that releases a update that had buggy fan control code and so lots of cards got fried?) then its a good idea.
Javerh 17th September 2010, 10:51 Quote
It sounds like a nice idea. However, at the moment it seems a bit buggy. Yesterday when I tried to run the steam updater it crashed on me.
perplekks45 17th September 2010, 10:53 Quote
No matter what I don't think I'll ever use this feature. Especially them mentioning "automatic updates"... no thanks.
Xir 17th September 2010, 11:21 Quote
is it really necessary to update your drivers that often? Especially with older cards newer drivers are often just...bloated.
Strange though that the automatic updates that don't always work from the driver conrol panel, are now supposed to work from steam.
Spiny 17th September 2010, 11:25 Quote
Wow, cool.
Kúsař 17th September 2010, 11:35 Quote
That's almost a great idea. But they should also provide a way to revert to older version of drivers. I know that catalyst newer than 10.4 totaly f* up support for older OpenGL games - ie. id tech 3 and older.
loftie 17th September 2010, 12:07 Quote
I used Steam to update it, and I lost Catalyst Control Centre from my tray, couldn't get it back either, or even run it from the exe. Had to download the driver from AMD's website, uninstall it and reinstall to get it working.
johnnyboy700 17th September 2010, 12:38 Quote
Yep, I'll be using this once they've ironed out the bugs.
ChaosDefinesOrder 17th September 2010, 14:04 Quote
so has no-one noticed that nVidia drivers are included in Windows Update in Windows 7?

Granted it's under "optional" but still!
TWeaK 17th September 2010, 15:16 Quote
AMD's drivers are also in Windows Update
Redsnake77 17th September 2010, 15:53 Quote
Having an alternative location to DOWNLOAD the drivers from doesn't change what a pain in the asre that INSTALLING them is.
Mraedis 17th September 2010, 16:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redsnake77
Having an alternative location to DOWNLOAD the drivers from doesn't change what a pain in the asre that INSTALLING them is.

Last time I installed ATI/AMD drivers in Windows 7 (3 days ago) I simply clicked, it installed, and I got back to work. It didn't even ask for a reset and my screen resolution was automatically set back to the proper size. :|
Gareth Halfacree 17th September 2010, 16:49 Quote
The drivers from Windows Update aren't the full releases, though: they don't come with the respective control panels, and often are based on outdated versions - for the longest time, Nvidia's Windows Update driver crippled the OpenGL performance when the direct download ones were fine.

The key thing here is that AMD is offering the Catalyst driver pack - not just a single WHQL driver for a specific card.
Snips 17th September 2010, 16:49 Quote
I get emails for my machines with Nvidia cards in direct from Nvidia when new drivers including Beta's are out. I think it would be a bit of an inconvenience when you go to click on "Play" and it stops and says "Install this new driver now". If it does it automatically while steam is running in the background then fine.

For both Nvidia and ATi cards I have, I've install a driver or two in the past that has then just killed the game of the day. So a quick rollback is needed until the game or the driver gets a further tweek.

It's a positive move none the less.
perplekks45 17th September 2010, 19:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
so has no-one noticed that nVidia drivers are included in Windows Update in Windows 7?

Granted it's under "optional" but still!
:D :D :D :D :D

Sorry, I just had to. Have you checked the dates? I got an update.... 2 days ago: drivers from June. Thanks Windows 7! :D
HourBeforeDawn 17th September 2010, 19:18 Quote
This is great as long as its not forced, then awesome, as for windows updates and drivers they tend to be months behind and I never trusted driver updates through windows anyways.
Kris 17th September 2010, 20:27 Quote
I installed new drivers through steam. worked like a charm! :)
Pookie 17th September 2010, 21:18 Quote
Lol i just tried it out and catalyst install manager crashed,so i think ill stick to the old fashioned way for now however i think its a neat idea.
jimmyjj 17th September 2010, 21:19 Quote
Nvidia are updating their install package with the current Beta drivers. You will be able to perform a "clean" install where it does not just overwrite the old drivers but performs a full driver clean first - all automatically.

This seems more like a killer feature than driver updates through Steam - which to my mind is not desirable on any level.
jimmyjj 17th September 2010, 21:22 Quote
wuyanxu 17th September 2010, 22:46 Quote
just used Steam to update my drivers. zero problem, and very easy. count the mouse clicks:

Steam menu -> Update AMD driver (auto downloads) -> install -> finish
play_boy_2000 18th September 2010, 01:06 Quote
If steam automatically detects a game you have installed would benifit from a newer driver, then this is awesome. Otherwise, I don't want to be bothered by steam every month a new driver is released.
docodine 19th September 2010, 08:05 Quote
Problem with the article, red camp is now Pantone 347..
bbshammo 19th September 2010, 11:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
What a damn fine idea.

The green camp should take note. I would love to have this for my GPU

Aha, in that case you appear to assume that Nvidia actually have consumers at the heart of their efforts?

Do we need reminding of the countless times they've bled Nvidia fans by re-releasing old tech under new badges, simply because they thought they could get away with it?

I stopped buying green a long time ago. Back since the ATI 9800 pro release I think.
greyhavens24 19th September 2010, 13:01 Quote
I tried downloading the Steam drivers but stopped a short while in. I noticed that the download package was 115MB compared to 74MB from ATI. I can only assume that the installer from Steam covers all versions of Windows whereas I just downloaded the version I required for my machine.

However, that aside this is a step in the right direction. We're getting a step closer to console like ease of use. I don't think that this is necessarily aimed at enthusiasts who will essentially do what I did, but for the more casual gamer who has less technical knowledge it is a step forward definitely. Well done AMD/Valve - brilliant idea.
matt... 19th September 2010, 21:39 Quote
don't know about 'less technical' but it certainly appeals to the 'more lazy' gamers like myself :-)
Xir 20th September 2010, 09:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree

The key thing here is that AMD is offering the Catalyst driver pack - not just a single WHQL driver for a specific card.

And that while Steam detects which Card you have, and could select the "optimized" driver. Instead you get a gigantic download.
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