soon be six years since ATI rolled out its Catalyst Control Center, and we’re pretty used to seeing a new version every month. ATI Catalyst Software Suite features a few modules, accessed via user’s interface, and they enable for hassle-free control of graphics card’s settings. Naturally, frequent updates mean that the cards are being pushed to churn out the best possible performance, and each new driver introduces fixes and improvements.
The new Catalyst Software Suite 10.2 also brings a few novelties, among which the application profiles for ATI CrossFireX technology, DisplayPort audio for DP screens, improved performance in few games (we tested Dirt 2), support for ATI CrossFireX PowerPlay technology on HD 5970, HD 5800 and HD 5700 series’ cards, Eyefinity support, etc.
It’s worth noting that AMD almost finished the next version of Catalyst Software Suite version 10.3, which should be available next month, and it will bring and/or improve on 3D Stereoscopic, display bezel compensation (technology that addresses issues when using more monitors for gaming), per-display color adjustment, multiple ATI Eyefinity groups, improved display configuration switching, ATI mobility Radeon Premium graphics Catalyst 10.3 Software Suite.
Since Catalyst Software Suite 10.3 isn’t available to most users, we performed our Dirt 2 testing mostly with Catalyst Software Suite package 10.2. Still, for those who look to the future we included 10.3 tests as well and CCC 10.3 will, as you’ll see for yourself, further improve performance when it arrives next month.
AMD says the new CCC 10.2 will bring up to 8% better performance in Dirt2 for HD 5970, HD 5800 or HD 5700 series. This coincides with our testing, although 8% naturally wasn’t true for all the cards and at all resolutions.
The results we got seem to favor the HD 5770, which indeed managed to churn out about 8% better performance at almost all resolutions.
Now we come to the interesting part – performance under CCC 10.3. You can see how HD 5870 CrossFire results jumped by over 25%.
Consumption is lower in the CrossFireX system because the second GPU hibernates when users work in 2D mode. AMD mentions up to 12W lower consumption, and although we measured only 5W, it will still make sense over longer periods of time.
Now when Evergreen family has almost all its cards on the market, AMD and ATI have the time to get busy with the drivers and introduce a couple of improvements as well. As you can see, their work has already started paying off.