Markham (ON) – ATI today released one of the most significant driver updates for its Radeon graphics cards in some time: Even if you do not regularly update your graphics driver, this is an upgrade you may want to consider as it unlocks the GPGPU feature in those cards. There is even a free application to showcase this new feature – an accelerated video format converter that promises speed gains of up to 17x.
We wrote about this release already some time ago and jumped the gun one week ago, when ATI began sending out the stream driver, but limited the availability of the software to journalists and analysts. However, version 8.12 of the Catalyst driver package became available earlier today and if you own one of the more recent ATI graphics cards, this update will add a critical new feature set to your hardware.
ATI is finally making stream processing and its CAL (Compute Abstraction Layer), a feature that was previously only available for its dedicated stream processor cards, available for its graphics card line. The benefit: Multi-threaded applications with certain API extensions (Brook+, OpenCL), may seem substantial speed improvements by running at least portions of the software across the GPU and not the CPU.
The stream enabling feature is integrated in both the Windows and the Linux version of the driver.
Included in the package is a new version of the ATI Avivo Video Converter, which uses this technology to accelerate the conversion of a video in different formats. AMD claims that the speedup on 4600 and 4800 cards is about 17x.
Catalyst 8.12 also comes with performance improvements for the Folding@Home application, 3DMark Vantage DX10 benchmark and a range of games, including Call of Duty: World at War, Crysis, Crysis Warhead, Devil May Cry 4, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, FEAR, Hellgate: London, Left 4 Dead and Lost Planet Colonies.
The new driver can be downloaded from ATI’s website.