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Friday, June 01, 2012
AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta released, Company Moves Away From Monthly Driver Releases

AMD has released the AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta, available for download here. With the release of the Catalyst 12.6 Beta driver, AMD also confirmed earlier reports that the company would move away from its Monthly Catalyst release plan and released drivers for the Windows 8 Release Preview.

"Our goal is to ensure that every Catalyst release delivers a substantial benefit to our end users; as we have today with the release of the Catalyst 12.6a Beta," said David Doel, AMD marketing team. "We will still continue with the Catalyst naming convention; Catalyst: Year.Month., You just won’t see a new driver every single month. We are confident that this will only benefit the end user; you’ll only need to upgrade to a new Catalyst driver, when it makes sense" he added.

AMD also introduced the AMD Issue Reporting Form. The company made a number of improvements to the older Catalyst Crew Feedback form, making it more comprehensive. AMD said that it would review every report posted and investigate every issue encountered.

AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta resolved issues:
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Tri-CrossFire configurations + Eyefinity no longer results in a BSOD when launching a DirectX application
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Eyefinity/Multiple Display configurations no longer results in a BSOD when using desktop applications
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 cards no longer hang when system goes to sleep
  • Resolves CrossFire scaling issues seen in AMD Catalyst 12.4 with Elder Scrolls: Skyrim CrossFire
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center – Overdrive page is no longer intermittently missing
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center – GPU Activity gauge is no longer missing
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Configuration – no longer results in system hang after cinematic in Call Of Duty: Black Ops
  • Heroes and Generals: Blocky corruption in scenes with smoke effects when run in DirectX 11 mode are no longer experienced
  • HDMI audio is no longer disabled if the connected HDTV is powered Off/On
Feature highlights:

Dual Graphics enhancements – new application profiles

  • Supported Dual Graphics configurations:
    • AMD Accelerated Processors for Desktop PCs
      • AMD Radeon HD 7560D (A8-5500)
      • AMD Radeon HD 7660D (A10-5700)
    • Notebooks with AMD Accelerated Processors
      • AMD Radeon HD 7660G (A10-4600M)
      • AMD Radeon HD 7640G (A8-4500M)
      • AMD Radeon HD 7520G (A6-4400M)
  • New profiles have been added for the following titles:
    • Diablo 3
    • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
    • StarCraft 2
    • Portal 2
    • Call of Duty Modern Warfare
    • Call of Duty Black Ops
  • Future Catalyst releases will continue to add Dual Graphics support for additional titles

This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems

  • SLED 11 SP2 production support
  • RHEL 5.8 production support
A new AMD Catalyst Application Profile is also now available:

Catalyst 12.6 Beta CAP1 – Download here

  • Max Payne 3 (DirectX11 version): Improves CrossFire scaling performance
  • Krater: Resolves full screen flickering issue
AMD also released a feature preview driver for the Windows 8 Release Preview. It can be downloaded here.

Featuring full support for the new WDDM 1.2 driver model, this new driver enables users to take full advantage of the model’s features as applications are updated to leverage them. These features include:

  • Support for the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series, and the AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series
  • Native Stereo 3D support:  Windows 8 natively supports stereoscopic 3D gaming and videos via compatible applications. Middleware applications will not be required for such apps.
  • Unified Video API: Video playback has been integrated into the DirectX 11 API, enabling simultaneous video and gaming content. Transcoding performance may also be improved for supporting applications.
  • Optimized screen rotation for rotation-aware devices.
  • Improved sleep/resume performance.
  • Optimized GPU power consumption.
  • Support for AMD Features:
    • AMD Eyefinity
    • OpenCL
    • OpenGL
    • UVD
    • AMD Dual Graphics / AMD CrossFire Technology
    • AMD Overdrive
    • AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center

Known issues found in the AMD Catalyst feature preview for Windows 8 (these issues will be resolved in the AMD production release for Windows):

  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and the AMD Radeon HD 7700 performance in DirectX 9 applications may be slower under Windows 8 vs. Windows 7
  • AMD CrossFireX configurations using the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and the AMD Radeon HD 7700  in DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 applications may be slower under Windows 8 vs. Windows 7
  • Video corruption can be seen when playing back movie trailers with the Windows 8 Metro video player

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