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AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta brings micro-stutter fix

AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta brings micro-stutter fix

The latest AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta driver bundle includes CrossFire Frame Pacing, which aims to fix micro-stutter issues - but does so only on single-monitor systems.

AMD has posted a beta graphics driver package, Catalyst 13.8, which it claims resolves the frame latency issues plaguing its Graphics Core Next (GCN) boards when used in CrossFire.

The issue, which only occurs when two or more graphics processing units are joined together in a CrossFire configuration, causes what is known as micro-stuttering: a juddery appearance in a rendered scene despite apparently high frame rates, caused by variations in the delay between each frame. With each frame arriving at varying delays, the eye picks up a clear stutter - despite reported framerates that should theoretically give a smooth gaming experience.

While numerous third-party workarounds for the issue - ranging from trading in multiple cards for a high-performance single-GPU to software tools like RadeonPro - exist, AMD has been claimed to be working on the problem internally resulting in the impending release of Catalyst 13.8 with CrossFire Frame Pacing.

Available now in beta form, Catalyst 13.8 adds various new features - including full support for the latest OpenGL 4.3 application programming interface (API) - but, more importantly for some, aims to resolve the micro-stutter problem in CrossFire configurations. Using the new driver, AMD claims, frames should be generated at a more stable rate with a fixed delay - meaning a completely smooth image and an experience far closer to what measured framerates would suggest.

There are a few restrictions, however: Frame Pacing only works for games using the DirectX 10 or 11 API; DirectX 9 games don't appear to be compatible with the fix. More critically, the maximum resolution supported is 2,560x1,600 on a single display - meaning those who bought a multi-GPU system for high-resolution gaming across multiple monitors will still be left with micro-stutter issues until AMD can add a more comprehensive fix.

Still, for those who game on a single monitor using CrossFire, the new driver is certainly worth checking out. Full details, and links to the downloads, are available on the AMD website.

8 Comments

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jimmyjj 3rd August 2013, 00:40 Quote
This article on Anand explores this in great detail if you are interested:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7195/amd-frame-pacing-explorer-cat138
fluxtatic 3rd August 2013, 08:54 Quote
Good on AMD for getting on it...but I can't recall how long I've been hearing about this problem with CF. And only DX10/11, single-display up to 2560x1600? Better than a kick in the nuts, but damn, AMD, step it up already!
rollo 3rd August 2013, 10:32 Quote
20% is better than 60% but only just
konstantine 3rd August 2013, 23:10 Quote
Wow, decent job AMD! I'm waiting for the AMD push to use decent physics in games. Those APUs can do it, and I don't there's another way to handle those computation heavy simulation effects. A decently fast APU is miles faster than the best Intel can and will have to offer in the future for those kinds of workloads.
Really, the future of gaming rest upon AMD.
thom804 4th August 2013, 00:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by konstantine
Wow, decent job AMD! I'm waiting for the AMD push to use decent physics in games. Those APUs can do it, and I don't there's another way to handle those computation heavy simulation effects. A decently fast APU is miles faster than the best Intel can and will have to offer in the future for those kinds of workloads.
Really, the future of console gaming rest upon AMD.

Fixed that for you
konstantine 4th August 2013, 01:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thom804
the future of console gaming rest upon AMD

Fixed that for you

Well, those upcoming consoles are really low-end APUs with bigger GPUs. The underlying point is: APUs are faster than mere CPUs in those massively parallel workloads. Those consoles will force coders to learn how utilize those SIMD clusters in those GPUs to perform massively parallel vector computations, which what physics and AI workloads look like. Take a look at how much GPGPU is faster than a mere CPU in such workloads. And this what 6 GCN SIMD clusters can do without HUMA.


http://media.bestofmicro.com/X/V/365395/original/clbenchmark.png
rollo 4th August 2013, 11:46 Quote
Consoles for the most part will still be coded to hardware, if they want the best performance. Which means we will get ports that are still using direct x. That alone means for us pc gamers you would still need balanced hardware.

As for physics its not really that important unless nvidia allow it on AMD cards which I have my douts.

Will be 2 years before we get a good port all the rest will be rush jobs.
xaser04 5th August 2013, 08:29 Quote
Judging by all of the reviews / analysis, these drivers look like a major step in the right direction for AMD CF. They still have a way to go as compared to a GTX690 the % difference in frametimes is still on the high side (20% compared to 5-10%), but it is still alot better than it used to be.

Depending on price I may even look at trying out a couple of 9970's in CF instead of a single card. Or I could just slap in another 780....
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