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How The ATI Catalyst Driver Has Matured Since The RV770 Launch
Like Warsow, the Lightsmark test results from the past two years of Catalyst driver releases have been flat, but with some minor improvements. The Lightsmark OpenGL lighting performance peaked last month in Catalyst 10.5 with a frame-rate of 217 FPS while it started out at 175 FPS back in June of 2008.
Turning our attention to the Catalyst driver's 2D performance, the performance of QGears2 with the Gears test using the X Render back-end was flat except for a temporary spike in this February's driver release. While AMD rolled out the ATI 2D Acceleration Architecture in the Catalyst 10.6 release, in quantitative benchmarks like QGears2 it is not showing any significant advantages.
With the Render Bench test also using the X Render extension, the performance was flat except where it regressed badly in Catalyst 10.2, but then was corrected in the succeeding 10.3 release. Between Catalyst 10.5 and 10.6 with the new 2D acceleration architecture there is a nice improvement in performance with the test time dropping from 73 to 37 seconds.