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Print 12 comment(s) - last by Chillin1248.. on Nov 15 at 3:55 PM

Recent driver versions from AMD / ATI appear to lack support for their latest video cards.

Some people may call it nitpicking, but I take this issue seriously. A little over a month ago I reported about Catalyst 6.9 lacking support for ATIs X1950 XTX video card. Basically it didn't support any of the models newly released in August. Since the affected card is not a high volume product, only a few people were affected and those could still use workarounds to get the card to work.

Now with Catalyst 6.10 history repeats itself. ATI now added support for X1300 XT, X1650 Pro and X1950 XTX, aforementioned cards released in August. However ATIs product management didn't sleep and released two new products in October: Radeon X1950 Pro on October 17th and Radeon X1650 XT on October 30th. To recap, Catalyst 6.10 was released on October 31st, the last day to call it a 6.10 release.

ATIs driver development apparently did sleep or so, it seems. Basically they are lagging behind by one month if you look at what they did in Catalyst 6.10. They finally managed to add support for cards released in August. And the new cards from October are missing. The late release of these cards is no excuse since ATI internally knew they were coming. It disappoints me to find such sort of support, or lack thereof.

To be fair, I have to mention, that ATI offers a separate driver download for X1950 Pro owners. It's some non-standard release and most likely without WHQL certificate, though I didn't confirm that. However X1650 XT is still missing in any driver released by ATI to date. You have to rely on the non-WHQL drivers that are on the driver CD, which should ship with those cards. It might be me, but I always prefer a publicy available driver on the Internet. Lets hope they will fix that in Catalyst 6.11, which will hopefully appear before November 30th.

I'd like to put this into perspective with NVIDIAs driver development model. NVIDIA basically only releases a new driver when necessary. That is when they want to introduce a new feature or release new hardware. ATI argued in the past that you can't rely on driver updates from NVDIA. If their monthly driver releases mean outdated drivers, I'd prefer NVIDIAs approach though. I'd also like to clarify that in general I think the drivers of both manufacturers are on a similiar level in terms of quality. There are just these annoying little issues that shouldn't happen to reputable companies like ATI.

On a side note, I mentioned solely ATI by intention. I know it's now part of AMD and their website went all green but in my opinion it's too early to call the current accomplishments those of AMD. Since the GPU division will still be called ATI it's ok to call them just that for a while.



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RE: its pretty sad actualy
By Christopher1 on 11/6/2006 4:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well, really the drivers are an afterthought with ATI, when they are the main thing with NVidia. NVidia's drivers are more compact and quick to respond, translating into better performance with their chipsets.

However, ATI's drivers are not optimized, but their processors and cards are better than NVidia's in terms of power right now, so you don't notice that non-optimization at all or very little.


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