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How The ATI Catalyst Driver Has Matured Since The RV770 Launch
Warsow still is not too demanding on a modern GPU but its Qfusion engine can be more taxing than the ioquake3 engine used in most open-source games. However, the Warsow performance over the past two years is not interesting but is almost flat. In Catalyst 8.6 the Radeon HD 4850 had an average FPS of 135 and in Catalyst 10.6 it hit a high point of 148 FPS.
VDrift, the leading open-source drift racing game, started out in Catalyst 8.6 being buggy and not playable at all with a frame-rate of just four. However, those OpenGL issues were quickly worked out for this new hardware at the time and in Catalyst 8.7 the frame-rate already jumped to 52 FPS. Between the Catalyst 8.7 and 9.6 releases, the frame-rate fluctuated but had leveled off by mid-2009 up until last month. Like some of the other tests already shown, Catalyst 10.6 is slower with OpenGL in some of these tests. Catalyst 10.5 had an average frame-rate of 72 where in the 10.6 release it dropped to 57.
With the updated versions of the Unigine Heaven/Tropics/Sanctuary tests not running in the older Catalyst releases, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is the most demanding OpenGL game shown in this two-year Catalyst performance comparison. With ET:QW the frame-rate had improved between the Catalyst 8.6 and 8.7 releases like many of the other games, but then between Catalyst 9.5 and 9.6 there was a very sizable performance drop that was only somewhat recovered a month later. By the end of 2009, there was another drop in performance and it has stayed that way since. With the Radeon HD 4850 and the Catalyst driver releases from this year, the performance still is not as high as it was during late 2008 and early 2009.