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How The ATI Catalyst Driver Has Matured Since The RV770 Launch
Beginning with the popular Nexuiz game, the results were rather interesting showing the performance of the ATI Catalyst driver over the past two years. Between the Catalyst 8.9 and 8.10 releases, there was a sizable regression that was not fully recovered until Catalyst 9.3, albeit at that point its frame-rate was higher than before. The frame-rate kept slowly creeping up until the Catalyst 10.2 release when it regressed again. As of Catalyst 10.6, the performance of Nexuiz for this RV770 graphics card is back on track and its performance with this newest ATI driver release is better than the driver from June 2008: 76 in June 2008 vs. 89 FPS in June 2010.
World of Padman isn't too demanding on a modern GPU like the RV770 even when running at 2560 x 1600, yet there still was a great deal of change in the ioquake3-based game's frame-rate over the past two years. The Radeon HD 4850 started out in Catalyst 8.6 with an average frame-rate of 188 FPS while a month later in Catalyst 8.7 the FPS jumped to 272 FPS. Over the past 24 months there's been some fluctuation in the frame-rate for World of Padman at different points, but the highest frame-rate encountered was 306 FPS for this game and that was with last month's Catalyst 10.5 driver release. However, with the most recent Catalyst 10.6 driver release there is a significant regression with the frame-rate going from 306 to 188 FPS -- back where it was running at in Catalyst 8.6.
With OpenArena the results are a different story again. The Radeon HD 4850 began running at 230 FPS in the first supporting driver (Catalyst 8.6) and then peaked at 243 FPS a month later, but since then its frame-rate had fallen and then remained stagnate after that point up until Catalyst 10.3 when the performance began improving again. However, like World of Padman, with OpenArena between the Catalyst 10.5 and 10.6 releases the frame-rate has fallen a great deal.