Catalyst 14.1 Public Beta Gets The Go-Ahead

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅03.02.2014 15:54:06




Over the weekend AMD finally dropped their long-awaited driver bombshell: the Catalyst 14.1 Beta (r1.6 for those interested). This release is notable as it's the first official set (beta or otherwise) to support AMD's Mantle API when used in conjunction with Radeon R7, R9, 7000-series and 8000-series graphics hardware, in theory greatly improving performance within titles that can exploit it.

Catalyst 14.1 also comes with resolutions to a number of bugs in a variety of modern titles and Crossfire scenarios. Included amongst these are texture flickering problems in Rome: Total War 2, fixes for Crossfire scaling in Crysis 2, and some specific issues with DX 9 rendering.

Cards which are based on first-generation GCN architecture, i.e. HD 7000, 8000, R9 270 and R9 280-series hardware, currently only have limited support for Mantle and further development is in the pipeline. Multiple GPU configurations may also be temperamental under this driver when using the Mantle renderer, with AMD advising that DirectX pathways are to be used instead.

Complementing the Catalyst 14.1 Beta release is a new tech demo from Oxide Games, showcasing Mantle's potential in CPU-limited environments. Star Swarm simulates a next-gen RTS built with the Nitrous game engine which, when combined with Mantle, can leverage the potential for increase in draw count to display significantly more elements on-screen and at higher fidelity than is typical with DirectX. The demo is currently available on Steam.

Select highlights of the changelog can be found below. For more information on AMD Mantle visit the community blog post on the subject and AMD's official page on the technology.

Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta Driver for Windows

Support for the following new AMD Desktop APU (Accelerated Processors) products:

- AMD A10-7850K
- AMD A10-7700K

Mantle Beta driver

- AMD's Mantle is a groundbreaking graphics API that promises to transform the world of game development to help bring better, faster games to the PC
- Performance gain of up to 45%(versus the DirectX version) for Battlefield 4 on the R9 290 Series
- Performance gain of up to 200% (versus the DirectX version) for Star Swarm on the R9 290 Series
- AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta must be used in conjunction with versions of these applications that support Mantle
- It is expected that these applications will have future updates to support additional AMD Mantle features

AMD Mantle Beta driver is currently supported on:

- AMD Radeon R9 Series GPUs
- AMD Radeon R7 Series GPUs
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs
- AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series GPUs
- AMD A10-7000 Series and AMD A8-7000 Series APUs

[..]

Resolved Issues

- Ground texture flickering seen in Total War: Rome 2 with high settings (and below) set in game
- Flickering texture corruption when playing Call of Duty: Ghosts (multi-player) in the space station level
- Blu-ray playback using PowerDVD black screen on extended mode
- Black screen happened after wake up the monitor
- Full screen issue at rotation in DX9 mode
- Crysis 2 negative scaling in outdoor scene
- Crysis 2 has insufficient CrossFire scaling in some scene
- Red Faction: The game has no or negative crossfire scaling with DX9 and DX11
- Age of Conan has corruption and performance issues with crossfire enabled
- Company of Heroes shadows are corrupted when using crossfire
- Resident Evil 5 's performance is unstable when display mode set to Window mode
- Total War: Shogun 2 flickering menu/text
- Frame rate drop when disabling post-processing in 3DMark06
- Negative Crossfire scaling with game "The Secret World" in DX11 mode
- F1 2012 Crashes to desktop
- Tomb Raider Hair Simulation Stutters on CFX
- Negative CrossFire scaling experienced in Call of Duty
- Battlefield 3 performance drop on Haswell systems
- Choppy video playback on 4k Video
- VSync ON Tearing with 2x1 Eyefinity SLS CrossFire
- Far Cry 3 - Game flickering while changing resolutions
- Display corruption and BSOD occurs when extending a display after disabling Multiple GPU SLS array
- Flickering seen when enable three 4kx2k panels at the same time
- No Video, just a black screen when setting Chrome to run in "High Performance" when playing certain video clips
- Image crashed on Starcraft game

Known Issues

- Mantle performance for the AMD Radeon HD 7000/HD 8000 Series GPUs and AMD Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X GPUs will be optimized for BattleField 4 in future AMD Catalyst releases. These products will see limited gains in BattleField 4 and AMD is currently investigating optimizations for them.
- Multi-GPU support under DirectX and Mantle will be added to StarSwarm in a future application patch
- Intermittent stuttering or stability issues may occur when utilizing Mantle with AMD CrossFire technology in BattleField 4 - AMD recommends using the DirectX code path when playing Battlefield 4 with multiple GPUs. A future AMD Catalyst release will resolve these issues
- Notebooks based on AMD Enduro or PowerXpress technologies are currently not supported by the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4
- AMD Eyefinity configurations utilizing portrait display orientations are currently not supported by the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4
- AMD Eyefinity technology is not currently supported in the Star Swarm application
- AMD testing for the AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta Mantle driver has been concentrated on the following products: AMD Radeon R9 290X, R9 290, R9 280, R9 270, R7 260X, R7 260, HD 7000 Series, HD 8000 Series, A10-7850K and A10-7700K. Future AMD Catalyst releases will include full test coverage for all AMD products supported by Mantle.
- Graphics hardware in the AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K may override the presence of a discrete GPU under the Mantle code path in Battlefield 4
- Frame Pacing for Dual Graphics and non-XDMA configurations above 2560x1600 do not currently work with Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. An upcoming release will enable support
- DX9 Dual graphics is not supported in AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta. An upcoming release will enable support


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