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Who would have thought that ATI’s Catalyst would yield the best video experience for Microsoft Vista?

I must admit I saw it coming – ATI has been working on Vista for some time now, and somehow they managed to trump the competition in a big way.

What I’m saying here is no secret – and I would have written about this sooner, but I wanted to give NVIDIA the benefit of the doubt. I’m not one to hide the truth from my customers, and the truth is that ATI’s drivers are ahead of the game, and there’s no real explanation as to how or why Nvidia missed a step … or is there?

NVIDIA has been touting the world’s only DX10 compliant solution for Vista. ATI cannot say the same, at least not until their next generation is launched. I suspect that NVIDIA has been working feverously trying to release a working DX10 candidate for their 8800 series of cards.

That said, I still don’t have SLI working on my personal machine and I am less than pleased. Today I had my OMEN ripped apart and I decided to choose Crossfire. Normally I would never make such a harsh decision, but after evaluating ATI’s Vista drivers for some time the decision was effortless. I also have an HP 30” display on my desk with a 2560x1600 resolution, so dual graphics is a must to deliver the ultimate gaming experience.

ATI has done a killer job of designing the Catalyst control panel for Vista. It’s a much lighter weight version of Catalyst than what we’re used to. One could probably assume that ATI’s tight support for Vista may have a significant market ripple somewhere down the line – but that’s just a guess.

All that said, I hope NVIDIA picks up the pace. The last time NVIDIA missed a major step was shortly after the original Xbox was released. They created a new card called the GeForce FX 5800 and it was a total disaster, ATI just skated by as a result. I don’t believe this is a major misstep, but it’s certainly a misstep.  Assuming NVIDIA prioritized DX10 support over their existing install base of DX9 is a decision that I cannot explain.

So could this flip flop spike a major change in demand? Well, that’s probably a stretch – and I haven’t lost confidence in Nvidia’s ability to deliver a working driver yet.

Then again, I have high hopes for ATI’s next generation R600 – and for the first time in a long time I think ATI should be feared. I’m thinking the R600 might be a monster.

There are some very interesting links over here at the bottom of the article for reference.





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