There are two aspects of driver performance we need to analyse for this article: in-game performance improvements against previous patches, and the performance impact of gradually higher levels of VSR. The former will allow us to assess whether GPU performance boost are system-wide with Catalyst Omega or game-specific, and the latter gives us some indication of whether VSR is particularly onerous.
We first needed to choose a baseline from which we could compare results. As complicated a process as this might be, it was in fact made easier by historical issues we have his with AMD drivers. Our testing rig (the specs of which are outlined below) suffered from one of the bugs within previous Catalyst packages, where after an install the system would refuse to recognise the presence of a monitor except in safe mode. The one recent driver edition which didn’t exhibit this was the Catalyst 14.9.2beta.
We were apprehensive that Omega would also include the bug, despite it being listed as fixed. Thankfully our fears were unfounded and Catalyst Omega passed the first hurdle, allowing us to install the drivers on the system without a hitch. Along with both packages were the Raptr application, which was nonetheless disabled during benchmarking.
Initial tests looked at the performance difference in a range of games and synthetic benchmarks to assess how well the new drivers had incorporated application-specific improvements and if across the board performance had been unlocked by Catalyst Omega. Subsequent tests analysed AMD Virtual Super Resolution, looking at not only performance but also qualitative impact on the experience.