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AMD Reveals Upcoming Catalyst Driver Changes

AMD

Published on 17 February 2010 07:25 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
18 Comments

While AMD does not generally reveal planned changes and feature road-maps publicly for their Catalyst driver in advance of the given driver's public release, over the night they have announced a few upcoming changes. Last night AMD issued a press release announcing a set of changes coming for the 10.2 and 10.3 driver releases, which will be released this month and next, respectively.

The announced changes target the Windows Catalyst driver and they include two key features for this month's Catalyst 10.2 and three for next month's 10.3 version. The changes expected to arrive this month include new application profiles and CrossFireX support when leveraging Eyefinity Technology. The application profiles are designed to better optimize the graphics driver for the given game/application that's being run and AMD will be offering new profiles for download separately via their web-site when new software launches that they are supporting via a profile. AMD Eyefinity is their technology found on new Evergreen GPUs for driving many displays simultaneously (up to 24 on a single system we have encountered) and now with this forthcoming driver update you can still use CrossFireX at the same time as using Eyefinity.

Next month's features include a commitment to deliver monthly driver updates to those with Mobility Radeon GPUs, an easy-to-use wizard for Eyefinity configuration, and 3D stereoscopic gaming enhancements via allowing independent left and right images at 120Hz.

So which of these announcements are relevant to Linux? Well, we haven't been told. It's very unlikely that the new application/game profiles will be found in the Catalyst Linux driver for the lack of games available on Linux in the first place and generally these sort of features aren't to be bothered with by the Catalyst Linux team.

Eyefinity should work with the Catalyst Linux driver at this time, so seeing CrossFire support here on Linux would be reasonable with much of that code being shared between AMD's supported operating systems. However, Eyefinity+CrossFire support wound still be bound to splitting the rendering workload between just two ATI Radeon graphics cards compared to CrossFireX on Windows supporting three and four card configurations.

In regards to monthly mobile driver updates, the mainline Catalyst Linux driver already supports all Mobility Radeon GPUs in the same binary driver, unlike the Windows counterpart, so this will not cause any changes. No Eyefinity easy-to-use wizard would be expected in the Catalyst Linux driver in the near future nor the 3D stereoscopic gaming for the lack of Linux games out there and those that would even support this technology.

In other words, there really isn't much to get excited about if you are a Linux user when reading today's press release. There are, however, other significant changes -- for better or worse -- coming to the Catalyst Linux driver this month or next. When we are allowed to share, you can be sure that we will. Maybe X Server 1.7 support will finally come too.

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