Category Archives: Drivers

Driver releases

New Sound Blaster Z drivers 1.00.28 released!

I’ve just noticed Creative released new drivers for Sound Blaster Z soundcards today. It’s now version 1.00.28 and they are WHQL certified.

Creative is being very secretive regarding included enhancements and fixes, but hey, they are new drivers and new is always better than old.

Download:

http://support.creative.com

Just pick your Sound Blaster Z model through their menus and download the latest version.

AMD Catalyst Omega 14.12 WHQL released!

So, the highly anticipated AMD Catalyst Omega drivers have finally landed. And yes, they actually have Omega in the name and no, they are not in any way related to the old community modded Omega drivers. They feature several interesting features like…

VSR (Virtual Super Resolution)

AMD_VSR_SLIDE1Basically this is the same as NVIDIA’s DSR. It renders the image at 4K and downscales it to 1080p on the output. It convinces games that your display can render higher resolution than it actually supports, so the game has to offer you option for 4K. All fine and well, except it only works with R9 290 cards. Srsly? Where is that “all GCN cards will get the same treatment” from the past?. HD7900 series are GCN powered. And yet we got screwed. It’s good that in the future I’ll get this feature if I decide to buy another Radeon, but why screw the existing HD7900 users? Which also includes R9-280 users because it is based upon HD7900 series. I’ve been with AMD for the last several generations of GPU’s. Do you think I’d not buy another Radeon if I get VSR now on my HD7950? If that was the case, I’d already have GTX 970 in my box. But I don’t, because I’ve decided to wait for AMD’s response with R9-300 series when it gets out. Maybe HD7900 doesn’t have the 4K grunt for modern games, but there are older games that we play and that would greatly benefit from VSR. Anyway…

Improved Frame Pacing

AMD_FP_SLIDE2Supposedly only for multi card configurations, improving many games smoothness. They list Tomb Raider, Metro series, Batman Arkham Origins, Sniper Elite 3 and more. We’ll see if it makes any difference on single GPU…

AMD Fluid Motion Video

AMD_FLUIDMV_SLIDE3This feature is basically what high end LCD TV’s do, interpolate missing frames and make videos super smooth and sharp during motion. Something like Philips Perfect Natural Motion or LG’s TruMotion. Only downside is that it only works in Cyberlink PowerDVD 14. Which makes it kinda useless considering I never used that thing and never will. Media Player Classic Home Theater (MPC HC) or VLC support would make tons more sense…

Video filtering and 1080p Detail Enhancement

AMD_CR_SLIDE4AMD_1080PENH_SLIDE5These features enhance video quality and are available for regular common media players that use DXVA and also work on HD7900 series. Which is nice.

4K Ultra HD Upscaling

AMD_UHD_SLIDE6It gives ability to upscale 1080p video into 4K, enhance it and display it on your 4K monitor or 4K TV. I have a 4K Philips LCD, but since I’m on HD7900, I’m out of luck yet again…

Performance Enhancements

AMD claims 19% average framerate improvements which sounds like a lot, but TechPowerUp tests proved a bit differently. You can check it out here: Synthetic tests Game tests

While the differences aren’t all that big I’m still going to use it since I use latest drivers all the time. It has worked well so far so why not. I just wish they’d focus less on R9 only. I get it, it’s their current high end, but by supporting your older userbase, you’re showing them your long term commitment. Showing that you care. And it means a lot to me and is a great factor when I’m considering my next upgrade. If I’m being treated well as a customer even when I don’t have the latest and most expensive graphic card, I sure will buy a new high end card from the same company when I’ll consider my next upgrade. So far AMD showed decent support, but I’d wish  for a bit more…

Download:

http://support.amd.com/en-us

AMD Catalyst 14.6 BETA released!

AMD has released a new Catalyst driver package version 14.6 BETA. Most significant changes are removal of the Windows 8 support, so make sure you update your Windows to Windows 8.1 Update 1 which is currently the latest version. It’s just so much better, so I’m wondering why you haven’t done so already 😛 Other important changes are quite big performance improvements, mostly for R9-290 series, but maybe even older HD7xxx users will benefit from it. Who knows, I will update anyway as I always do. Oh and AMD also added support for GPU accelerated JPEG images decoding, resulting in twice as fast JPEG images rendering. Too bad only a limited set of APU’s and GPU’s is supported, so I don’t think my older AMD E-450 will be getting any love from it.

Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Driver for Windows

  • Performance improvements
    • Watch Dogs performance improvements
      • AMD Radeon R9 290X – 1920×1080 4x MSAA – improves up to 25%
      • AMD Radeon R9290X – 2560×1600 4x MSAA – improves up to  28%
      • AMD Radeon R9290X CrossFire configuration (3840×2160 Ultra settings, MSAA = 4X)  – 92% scaling
    • Murdered Soul Suspect performance improvements
      • AMD Radeon R9 290X – 2560×1600 4x MSAA – improves up to 16%
      • AMD Radeon R9290X CrossFire configuration (3840×2160 Ultra settings, MSAA = 4X)  – 93% scaling
  • AMD Eyefinity enhancements:
    • Mixed Resolution Support
      • A new architecture providing brand new capabilities
      • Display groups can be created with monitors of different resolution  (including difference sizes and shapes)
      • Users have a choice of how surface is created over the display group
        1. Fill – legacy mode, best for identical monitors
        2. Fit – create the Eyefinity surface using best available rectangular area with attached displays.
        3. Expand – create a virtual Eyefinity surface using desktops as viewports onto the surface.
    • Eyefinity Display Alignment
      • Enables control over alignment between adjacent monitors
    • One-Click Setup
      • Driver detects layout of extended desktops
        1. Can create Eyefinity display group using this layout in one click!
  • New user controls for video color and display settings
    • Greater control over Video Color Management:
      • Controls have been expanded from a single slider for controlling Boost and Hue to per color axis
    • Color depth control for Digital Flat Panels (available on supported HDMI and DP displays)
      • Allows users to select different color depths per resolution and display
  • AMD Mantle enhancements
    • Mantle now supports AMD Mobile products with Enduro technology
      • Battlefield 4:  AMD Radeon HD 8970M (1366×768; high settings) – 21% gain
      • Thief: AMD Radeon HD 8970M (1920×1080; high settings) – 14% gain
      • Star Swarm:  AMD Radeon HD 8970M (1920×1080; medium settings) – 274% gain
    • Enables support for Multi-GPU configurations with Thief (requires the latest Thief update)
  • AMD AM1 JPEG decoding acceleration
    • JPEG decoding acceleration was first enabled on the A10 APU Series in AMD Catalyst 14.1 beta, and has now been extended to the AMD AM1 Platform
    • Provides fast JPEG decompression
    • Provides Power Efficiency for JPEG decompression

Known Issues  

  • Running Watch Dogs with a R9 280X CrossFire configuration may result in the application running in CrossFire software compositing mode
  • Enabling Temporal SMAA in the AMD Catalyst Control center under a CrossFire configuration when playing Watch Dogs will result in Flickering
  • AMD CrossFire configurations with Eyefinity enabled will see application stability with BattleField 4 or Thief when running Mantle
  • Catalyst Install Manager text is covered by Express/Custom radio button text
  • Express Uninstall does not remove C:\Program Files\(AMD or ATI) folder

Download:

http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%208.1%20-%2064#amd-catalyst-packages

AMD driver webpage is experiencing some weird problems, which makes only a 64bit version available for download. I hope they will soon fix the webpage problems…

AMD Catalyst 14.4 WHQL released!

AMD has finally released the very latest Catalyst 14.4 drivers that are WHQL certified.

Release notes:

http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/AMDCatalyst14-4WINReleaseNotes.aspx

Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 14.4 Windows Driver:

    • Support for the AMD Radeon R9 295X
    • CrossFire fixes enhancements:
      • Crysis 3 – frame pacing improvements
      • Far Cry 3 – 3 and 4 GPU performance improvements at high quality settings, high resolution settings
      • Anno 2070 – Improved CrossFire scaling up to 34%
      • Titanfall – Resolved in game flickering with CrossFire enabled
      • Metro Last Light – Improved Crossfire scaling up to 10%
      • Eyefinity 3×1 (with three 4K panels) no longer cuts off portions of the application
      • Stuttering has been improved in certain applications when selecting mid-Eyefinity resolutions with V-sync Enabled
    • Full support for OpenGL 4.4
      • OpenGL 4.4 supports the following extensions:
        • ARB_buffer_storage
        • ARB_enhanced_layouts
        • ARB_query_buffer_object
        • ARB_clear_texture
        • ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge
        • ARB_texture_stencil8
        • ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev
        • ARB_multi_bind
        • ARB_bindless_texture
        • ARB_spare_texture
        • ARB_seamless_cubemap_per_texture
        • ARB_indirect_parameters
        • ARB_shader_group_vote
    • Mantle beta driver improvements:
      • BattleField 4: Performance slowdown is no longer seen when performing a task switch/Alt-tab
      • BattleField 4: Fuzzy images when playing in rotated SLS resolution with an A10 Kaveri system

Known Issues:

    • System will TDR or BSOD when encoding with Power Director 11
    • Driver installation might result in a black screen when installing on a Dual AMD Radeon R9 295X configuration under Windows 8.1.   The issue can be overcome by rebooting the PC; upon reboot the display driver will be installed.  The remaining Catalyst components can then be installed.

 

Download:

Win7 / Win8 32bit

Win7 / Win8 64bit

AMD Catalyst 14.4 RC released!

AMD has now officially released the Release Candidate (RC) version of the Catalyst 14.4 drivers that I have posted few days ago.

Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 14.4 Release Candidate Driver for Windows

    • Support for the AMD Radeon™ R9 295X
    • CrossFire™ fixes enhancements:
      • Crysis 3 – frame pacing improvements
      • Far Cry 3 – 3 and 4 GPU performance improvements at high quality settings, high resolution settings
      • Anno 2070 – Improved CrossFire scaling up to 34%
      • Titanfall – Resolved in game flickering with CrossFire enabled
      • Metro Last Light – Improved Crossfire scaling up to 10%
      • Eyefinity 3×1 (with three 4K panels) no longer cuts off portions of the application
      • Stuttering has been improved in certain applications when selecting mid-Eyefinity resolutions with V-sync Enabled
    • Full support for OpenGL 4.4
      • OpenGL 4.4 supports the following extensions:
        • ARB_buffer_storage
        • ARB_enhanced_layouts
        • ARB_query_buffer_object
        • ARB_clear_texture
        • ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge
        • ARB_texture_stencil8
        • ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev
        • ARB_multi_bind
        • ARB_bindless_texture
        • ARB_spare_texture
        • ARB_seamless_cubemap_per_texture
        • ARB_indirect_parameters
        • ARB_compute_variable_group_size
        • ARB_shader_draw_parameters
        • ARB_shader_group_vote
    • Mantle beta driver improvements:
      • BattleField 4: Performance slowdown is no longer seen when performing a task switch/Alt-tab
      • BattleField 4: Fuzzy images when playing in rotated SLS resolution with an A10 Kaveri system

Known Issues  

    • System will TDR or BSOD when encoding with Power Director 11
    • Driver installation might result in a black screen when installing on a Dual AMD Radeon R9 295X configuration under Windows 8.1 on specific platforms (see below).   The issue can be overcome by rebooting the PC; upon reboot the display driver will be installed.  The remaining Catalyst components can then be installed.
    • ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z (990FX)
    • ASUS Maximus VI Extreme (Z87
    • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (X79)

Download

http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx

New Sound Blaster Z drivers 1.00.22 released!

I’ve just noticed Creative released new drivers for Sound Blaster Z soundcards on 10th July 2013. It’s now version 1.00.22.

What’s new:

Added Enhancement / Features:

  • Multiple fixes that improve the driver’s overall stability and performance
  • Added support for ASIO playback and recording

Download:

http://support.creative.com

Just pick your Sound Blaster Z model through their menus and download the latest version. 🙂