Earlier in the year we had seen several exciting ATI driver releases, while the last couple of months have been relatively dismal. However, today AMD/ATI is pushing out their final display drivers for the year. Today's ATI fglrx 8.32.5 driver comes with very few end-user changes, but it brings a great deal of bug fixing and more "under the hood" changes to excite us for next year. The most prominent addition in this release is support for X.Org 7.2 and the Radeon X1950 family. Earlier this month our NVIDIA A Year in Review 2006 article was published and later this month we will present our ATI 2006 summary.
With it being about seven months since the release of X11R71, it is now time for the introduction of X11R72 (X.Org 7.2). Fortunately, the fglrx driver was quickly able to append official support for version 7.2. X.Org 7.2 does not bring many exciting end-user changes to the table, but X.Org 7.3 should be very interesting. OpenSuSE 10.2 already uses X11R72 and should work fine with this distribution and fglrx 8.32.5. Note: on the day prior to the 8.32.5 display driver release it was discovered by AMD/Novell that post-X11R72 RC2 does not load the DRM module by default. As a result X.Org 7.2 RC3/final doesn't look like it will work with the 8.32.5 release, but a workaround may be available.
Some of the other changes in this release include addressing the bug of a system hang when switching from console to X (this bug may still exist in some configurations), no EDID information shown in Xorg.0.log, and fglrx-uninstall.sh not being removed when uninstalling the drivers. The X server crash when configured for dual-head but only one screen is connected has also been resolved. Some of the other bugs include fixing an issue with Unreal Tournament 2004 when in Onslaught mode, when moving or resizing pseudo-color windows will no longer result in corruption, and the X.org server name and version number is now properly reported at run-time. The last batch of fixes in version 8.32.5 is a fix for Viewperf 7.1.1 to prevent crashing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 version 2, 64-bit systems with 4GB or more of system memory no longer faces issues, and the ATI FireGL V5000 now uses the DDC information correctly and does not misidentify the LVDS and TMDS signals.
Another highlight for this release is officially appending support for the Radeon X1950 series. If you're interested in the level of performance for the Radeon X1950PRO with the fglrx drivers compared against other Radeon X1000 family hardware, you may be interested in our recent review of the ASUS EAX1950PRO 256MB.