How The ATI Catalyst Driver Has Matured Since The RV770 Launch

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 22 June 2010. Page 5 of 5. 27 Comments

Lastly, here are the JXRenderMark results, which are quite straightforward.

At the end of the year it has been a tradition to benchmark the proprietary ATI/AMD and NVIDIA driver releases that were put out over the course of the year (see the NVIDIA 2009 Year in Review and ATI 2009 Year in Review). While those yearly comparisons are interesting in their own right to see how the drivers have changed over the course of twelve months with both the quantitative performance and new end-user features, this has been interesting to look at how the Radeon HD 4850 (RV770) performance has changed with the Catalyst driver since its inception in the summer of 2008.

Most of our OpenGL tests show major performance improvements between the Catalyst 8.6 and 8.7 driver releases, which is not surprising seeing as the 8.6 release was AMD's "first cut" at providing the RV770 support and was further refined in the following months. In nearly all of the tests the performance of the Radeon HD 4850 graphics card is noticeably better than where it was at in 2008, but with the most recent Catalyst 10.6 release there does seem to be a new set of regressions compared to Catalyst 10.5. There are though some exceptions like with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars where its frame-rate actually peaked in Catalyst 9.5, but since then has not returned to those performance levels at least with this hardware configuration.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via