AMD releases Catalyst 9.3

Written by Ben Hardwidge

March 19, 2009 // 3:52 p.m.

Tags: #4800 #93 #amd #ati #catalyst #driver #folding #foldinghome #hd #lost #planet #ppd #radeon #release

Although Microsoft hasn’t even set a release date for its forthcoming Windows 7 operating system yet, AMD is still committed to supporting the new OS with its graphics drivers from now on. The company has just released its WHQL Catalyst 9.3 driver, which features full WDDM 1.1 support on its Radeon HD chips, enabling the Windows 7 desktop to use DirectX 10.

AMD says that this is just the beginning of its Windows 7 plan, however, and claims that future versions of Catalyst will feature a unified package that works with both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, so you only need one driver set for multiple operating systems. As well as this, AMD says that Catalyst 9.3 is the first AMD graphics driver to automatically include the Vista HDMI audio driver, which will only be installed if the graphics card features an HDMI connector.

There are a few other features of the new driver too. For example, on his blog, AMD’s senior manager of advanced marketing, Ian McNaughton, says that “you’ll experience outstanding Folding@Home scores when running ATI Catalyst 9.3 and the most recent F@H client. We utilize ATI Stream technology which means you must have an ATI Radeon HD 4000, HD 3000 or HD 2000 series GPU to take full advantage of these enhancements.”

However, the latest GPU Folding@home client still dates from November last year, and we saw no increase in the production rate when we tested the new driver. Using Catalyst 9.3, our Radeon HD 4850 test card produced around 2,100 points a day, peaking at 2,153.68. Comparatively, the same card produced around the same number of points, peaking at 2,132.87 when using Catalyst 9.2. Both tests were conducted using the same work unit (Project 5739 - R4, C111, G19) on the same Core 2 Quad QX6700-based test machine, and were left to process ten percent of the work unit.

AMD also claims that its seen performance gains of up to 50 percent in Lost Planet: Colonies using Radeon HD 4600, 4500 and 4300-series card, and gains of up to 20 percent using Radeon HD 4800-series cards.

You can see the driver’s full release notes here and download Catalyst 9.3 from here.

Have you tried out Catalyst 9.3, and are you interested in Windows 7 support at the moment? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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