It's that time again: ATI have released a new version of their Catalyst drivers - 5.11
. Most people know of the benefits of running the latest drivers. and this release is no different: speed boosts in OpenGL games and better support for the recently released X1000 family of graphics cards.
A few weeks ago, there was an 'OpenGL' fix passed down to journalists by ATI's driver team. This was said to improve average frame rates by a considerable amount. At the time we were also told that the 'fix' would be implemented into a future driver release. Catalyst 5.11 makes that fix a reality for the public.
Basically, the Catalyst team have tweaked the new ring bus memory controller with a few registry entries that have enabled them to gain higher frame rates when Anti-Aliasing is enabled at high resolution on Radeon X1000-series video cards.
You won't find these drivers on ATI.com just yet. Thanks to our friends at TweakTown
we can let you download these drivers a full 24 hours before they will appear on ATI's Driver Download page
. Call it an early Christmas gift from us to you. (talk about cheap! -Ed)
You can download the 34.7MB package from our server:
bit-tech Catalyst 5.11 WHQL
or any one of these mirrors:
TweakTown File Library
This is not a leaked beta - they have come directly from ATI's driver team in Canada. However, they are technically not supported by ATI until they appear on ATI.com on Friday at 3pm EST. However, they are fully WHQL certified by Microsoft.
No Adaptive Anti-Aliasing (click to zoom)
Make note of the aliasing on the chain fences. The chains are too small to be picked up by conventional MultiSampled Anti-Aliasing methods, so both ATI and NVIDIA implemented a new Anti-Aliasing technique that allows these transparent textures to be anti-aliased. We uncovered ATI's Adaptive Anti-Aliasing method at the end of September
Quality Adaptive AA (left) and Performance Adaptive AA (right). Click to zoom.
At the moment, we're not quite sure what method of Anti-Aliasing is being used on the transparent textures in ATI's new 'Performance' Adaptive AA mode, but it looks a lot better than NVIDIA's Transparency MSAA in our opinion. It should provide a much larger range of image quality improvements that are useable. Adaptive AA using the 'Quality' mode, isn't useable in every game out there when trying to maintain a stable frame rate, but the Performance AAA mode should help to fill the void in situations where you have performance spare, but not enough for full-blown Adaptive AA.
Tweaktown have given the drivers their usual run-through
and it seems these are really worth grabbing. "There is no denying that OpenGL has always been one of ATI's weakest points but it is fantastic to see that they have stuck their heads together and figured out how to get more performance from games," said article author Shane Baxtor. "If you're only playing F.E.A.R.
at the moment, upgrade anyway for the list of bug fixes that come with each new driver release and if you're playing anything that utilizes OpenGL, upgrade for more performance."
More performance for free? Can't argue with that! Post your experiences of Catalyst 5.11 in our forums