I was just about to set up a system for testing ATI's Radeon
X1950XTX video card, which was release about a month ago with retail
availability starting 2 weeks ago. Courtesy of Sapphire I am able to play with
such a card. So plug it in, connect power-cable and monitor, install drivers
and go, right? Nope!
Everything went fine until I wanted to install the drivers. I simply picked the
latest Catalyst drivers, which is Catalyst 6.9 from last week. The problem was,
it simply wouldn't install. It couldn't be the nForce 4 mainboard, no? A quick
check at ATI's website revealed that its latest driver release indeed doesn't
support the Radeon X1950XTX.
To make matters worse, it actually supports no new cards
released in August. Although Radeon X1650 Pro and X1300 XT are just renamed
X1600 Series products, sometimes with revamped memory configuration - that's
vendor dependant though - they are not included in the drivers INF file. It
will probably support the Radeon X1900 XT 256MB, as this is just the same card
with half the memory, nothing else changed.
Of course the X1950 XTX shipped with a CD that contains a
compatible driver based on Catalyst 6.8. But that's not really an excuse as ATI
had enough time to add it to their publicly available drivers. Did they really?
Well, a quick check on the INF file reveals, that the driver dates back to
08/22/2006. So the driver release is basically 3 weeks old. While there is
always a delay between completion and release (think testing, WHQL
certification...), it simply shows how ATIs driver development is working.
ATI's driver team did not include the new cards, although they should have
So what did I do? I wanted to use the lastest drivers no
matter what. So I simply edited the INF file of Catalyst 6.9 and added those
lines from the vendor supplied disc containing a compatible Catalyst 6.8
release and installed them manually via Device Manager. Did I mention that you
lose the WHQL certification when you do this? This is hardly a solution for the
Average Joe. Let's just hope that ATI will do better with their upcoming Radeon
X1650 XT and X1950 Pro products which should launch within the next month.