Print 12 comment(s) - last by yacoub.. on Oct 23 at 1:35 PM

Ouch! ATIs latest driver release lacks support for their latest and greatest video card.

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 known internally.

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.

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tsk tsk tsk
By andrewrocks on 9/25/2006 12:11:40 PM , Rating: 2

RE: tsk tsk tsk
By andrewrocks on 9/25/2006 12:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
maybe the amd & ati merger is really screwing things up over there?

RE: tsk tsk tsk
By hwhacker on 9/25/2006 12:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
Cat 6.10 is expected on coincide with the x1950pro/x1650xt launch on the 17th of October. It will no doubt include x1950pro/x1650xt in the inf of the drivers as this release is supposed to allow the new (without a dongle) crossfire support on 965. It's also suspected to be a important release, and may include chuck as standard. It will surely support x1950xtx.

As for 6.9 supporting x1650xt/x1950pro...That's immaterial. It'll prolly ship with 6.10

There really is no excuse for 6.9 not supporting the x1900xtx though. That's just sloppy...Thankfully the .inf has has been modded by the community and is readily available for download here:

RE: tsk tsk tsk
By Marcus Pollice on 9/25/2006 1:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
1) I don't care which future cards and future drivers will solve the mess for ATI with respect to this specific problem.

2) P965 Crossfire is enabled with Catalyst 6.9, be it with dongle or not. Or does it only work with dongle? Not 100% sure on that.

3) I never alleged that X1950 Pro and X1650 XT should be supported in Catalyst 6.9. X1650 Pro (which is a X1600 XT, really) and X1300 XT (X1600 Pro, really) should be supported though.

Thanks for pointing out, that the AT community already knew this. I just stumbled over that myself. I also found other forums where this issue was mentioned, but no major news site mentioned it before.

ATI Drivers
By vanka on 9/25/2006 6:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
ATI driver support has always been shoddy in my experiance. My first taste of ATI driver hell was back around mid 2001 when I was assembling an early P4 system for a friend. The system had an All-in-Wonder 128 and a SoundBlaster Live, and was experiancing sound problems and getting various error messages. Turns out that the AIW and the SB don't play well together using the stock drivers. Updated drivers for both cards solved the issue, but getting those drivers over a 56k was a major pain.

About a year later I decided to upgrade my PC with an AIW 7500; note that at this time the AIW 8500 was already available. I installed the card with stock drivers and everything seemed to work fine. I remember being amazed at how awesome RTCW looked compared to the old 8MB nVidia TNT I had. Then I put my computer on standby and went to run a couple of errands (back then if I left my computer for more than 30 minutes and less than 3 hours I put it on standby leaving what I was working on running); when I came back and tried to bring it out of standby, the computer restarted. Luckly at this time I was attending the local community college and had a stack of Zip 250s. I dowloaded the new drivers and software, reinstalled windows with the new drivers, and got the same problem. It took ATI 2 or 3 more driver releases to fix the issue; by this time though I had gotten broadband and never turned off my computer.

I have also had problems with the Remote Wonder Plus that came with the TV Wonder Elite that I got. I have had the thing for almost a year and only last May ATI finally released a driver that doesn't stop working after 20 minutes.

On the plus side, ATI does have great customer service. When the AIW 7500 fried for some reason, I contacted ATI customer service and promptly recieved an RMA. When I finally sent out the card (6 months later) I recieved a new AIW 8500DV card. The conclusion: crappy drivers, good service.

RE: ATI Drivers
By Maruta731 on 9/26/2006 10:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the ATi newsgroup, about 80% of the complaints result from the buggy AIW software, due to the multitude of components that don't get released on the same schedule. Pretty soon this will be moot as AIW products are being discontinued.

The core display and 3D drivers have been pretty solid for a few years now (since the Radeon 9700 days). It's also important to note Nvidia doesn't have the equivalent of an AIW line, so it avoid many problems.

RE: ATI Drivers
By yacoub on 10/23/2006 1:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
you put your DESKTOP in standby? honestly, who does that? they probably don't even QA test for that, lol.

Consider this :)
By Clauzii on 9/26/2006 6:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
Since ATI on a pretty steady schedule, put out a new driver every month, I really wouldn't worry so much.

How often do nVidia? (Really, I don't know!)

RE: Consider this :)
By Marcus Pollice on 9/29/2006 11:12:21 AM , Rating: 2
That's what ATIs marketing says.

I have a very neutral stance and if you look at NVIDIAs driver releases, you will notice, that they are infrequent, but whenever a new card is launched, a driver is out on day one or even slightly before (which leads to "new cards listed in driver" news stories, but who cares...).

Or put it another way: Do the frequent updates make ATIs drivers really better over NVIDIAs? I think nope, in terms of driver quality they are more or less on par. That doesn't include slips like the one I unveiled some days before, but rather features and general stability.

RE: Consider this :)
By Clauzii on 9/30/2006 3:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks :)

Not much of a problem
By bassjunkie on 9/28/2006 6:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
I got 2 of these Cards from ATI last week for my QA department, I had to manually install them via have disk. this is what I was told to do by ATI, I selected the x1900xtx for main and secondary and had no problems, the card stated it was a X1900xtx but the chip type said x1950xtx and after testing it came out with a better score meaning it had installed right via have disk, so its fine and works fine with cat 6.9 if you know what you are doing :)

By Dfere on 9/28/2006 9:38:11 AM , Rating: 1
Came with 6.3 which worked, but it wasn;t until 6.8 that I could install and updadate mine. Terrible. I will not be buying ATI next time, unless they have an obvious home run over Nforce at the time I choose to upgrade.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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