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OMEGA vs CATALYST

By vega
Aug 25, 2003
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  1. I've used ati catalyst drivers for the last few months but was today,told that there was a suite of radeon drivers pre-tweaked to squeeze that little extra oomph out of radeon engined cards - the driver is called omega - can anyone shed any light on this and how it compares to ati's 'official' drivers?
  2. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    I've used them for quite a while, and never had any problems with the drivers playing games. They include a hack for a 9500 or 9700 to a 9800, (for Win 2000/XP), if you want to use it, you have a choice. They are supposed to give you better IQ, but usually at the expense of a few points on the 3DMark benchmark, if you care about that.

    I have never really been able to see much, if any improvement in the way games play or look. At one time, several drivers ago, I did have some stuttering in some games and the Omega's did help that. Also, if you want to use the hack, it is the easiest way that I have seen to implement it, if you have the appropriate card.

    After reading this you probably wonder why I use them? Always looking for something better I guess, and I think if you have a 9500, you may see some improvement. A lot of people say they see a lot of improvement. If you want to try them, you can get them here. Omega also makes drivers for nVidia.
  3. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    I have seen comparisons that showed that the omega drivers come out just a bit ahead of the stock catalyst drivers. I have never heard anything negative about the omega drivers.

    the guy that does the Omega catalyst drives has ATI's blessing and support they ship him their latest drivers so he can mod them and then have them available on the same day that ATI releases their new drivers.

    I know a couple of the guys here use them I havent tried them yet though. google has several pages of comparison reveiws if yuo want to check them out.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Ati ...illa-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
  4. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Forgot to mention, that with the Omega drivers, there is an overclocking feature built in. It can be found in the control panel, as an extra tab. Also included are some custom resolutions, to use if you want.

    Vega, if you decide to try these drivers be sure to read the "read me". Omega recommends a different install procedure than the regular ATi's. He includes the control panel with the drivers, as one install, rather than two as ATi does.
  5. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,383   +15

    Yo Old Fartie :D I was wondering, to mod the 9700 into a 9800, what do you actually do? Just install the drivers, check a box and vulla? That'd be pretty cool!

    Oh yea, does it work with any 9700?

    ..::Edit::..

    This "mod" works with PRO cards right? Because its a 9700 PRO I want to take to 9800 PRO.
  6. vega

    vega TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Thanks for the p.o.v's people, after careful consideration, I've downloaded the omega driver - I currently use the catalyst 3.6 driver in conjunction with a softmodded ati 9500 128 np with a 3d mark score of 10,521 - after installation of the omega driver, I'll perform a benchmark and let you know the results.
  7. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    ---agissi---, when you start the installation, you get a screen that gives you the choice of installing, with or without the hack. And all you have to do is make the choice and it does the rest, very easy. Also, the driver and control panel install together, not like the ATi Cats, in which you install the driver and control panel seperately.

    Yes the hack does work with the 9700 Pro, that's what I have. After you install it, in the control panel, under adapter, it will show "chip type....9800". I believe you get more benefit from the hack, if you have a 9500, though.

    As far as how it works, as I said, I can't see that much of a difference, if any, but some say they can. Maybe if you took screen shots of with and without the hack, and closely looked at them, maybe there might be some small difference. But I find it hard to tell while actually playing games.

    My opinion is, if your really interested in trying it, it's worth a shot. You might see more difference than I did.
  8. vega

    vega TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 160

    I installed the omega driver (installation of the hack was a breeze compared to the shenanigans of the catalyst mod) and on rebooting was very pleased to find that the control panel - with options aplenty - had also been installed.
    I installed the 9800 hack option and here's the result -Performance wise, I found very little difference between omega and cat 3.6, unreal 2, colin macrae nolf 2 and midnight club 2 performed much the same as the catalyst driver but oddly enough, 3d mark showed a drop in performance from 10,521 (cat 3.6) to 8561.
    I'm keeping omega onboard for a couple of days to see how it performs in the long run but at the end of the day, if I can't get the 3d mark speed up to a more respectable score, I might go back to the cat.
    To sum up, installation of the driver (and hack) are a breeze, plenty of tweakability via the control panel, a built in artifact detector (very nice!) for the hacked version and best of all, the control panel is included in the driver installation package (anyone at catalyst reading this?).
  9. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 1,040

    I actually like Catalyst 3.6 better than the Omega drivers. I've tried them both, and qualitywise, the Cat3.6 drivers give better than the omega.

    :twocents
  10. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    vega, I would not have expected that much of a drop in 3DMark 2001. I only experienced a loss of about 200-250 points, (can't remember exactly), in both 3DMark 01 and 03, BUT, that was with the 3.4 Omegas. I really haven't run a benchmark with the 3.6 Omegas, and I thought they would probably fall in line with the older ones, but having done a little more research, I find that a lot of people are matching or even bettering there older scores by a few points, just as iss said. Have a look at the graphs below. The few points gained in this test really don't mean much, though.

    I personally would look at the way the games play, not the 3DMark results, but having said that, the drop you experienced in your score seems to indicate a problem. The only suggestion I have, is to try installing the driver again, a second time, over the top of the first install. I did this one time with regular Cats., after having a problem with games not running right, and it made all the difference in the world, but don't know why. Bad first install I guess. Also, since you are into 3DMark, why don't you run the newer 3DMark 03 test. This test is at least partly DX9, and your card supports that. Not sure what to expect from your card, maybe 4500? Might be more or less, that's just a guess out of the blue.

    Here are some graphs of benchmarks from a site called Dark Tweaker. Looking at the graphs below. you will see that in this test, in almost all cases, the Omegas outscored the regular Cats. by a few points. If you go to the Dark Tweaker site, there are some more charts of tests of other games.

    Edit; I don't know why these images aren't displaying here. They were earlier. The links work though.

    3DMark 01

    3DMark 03
  11. vega

    vega TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 160

    OLEFARTE -
    After some earnest tweaking, I've managed to get a count of 10,326 from 3d mark 2001 - true, it's a bit shy of the catalyst score but given the convenience of having a built in control panel and inbuilt 9500-9800 hack feature which means not having to go through the hastle of using rivatuner and installing the ati2mtag file every time I install the driver, I think I'm going to keep this babe installed full time.
    Given that my gfx card and the processor are currently in the process of having decent cooling fans installed, meaning more scope for overclocking, I think I can forgive the lower 3d mark score!
    Thanks again for enlightening me people!
     
  12. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,383   +15

    So does that mean it doesnt really make your card a 9700/9800? Er, perform Identicle to one anyways. And does this work with every 9500/9700, or only the 9500s with the "L" shaped RAM,etc.
  13. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Obviously, you've heard somthing about this, and since you mentioned it, I do remember it also. I think you are right about it not working on all 9500's. L shaped ram, I'm not sure about, which one I mean. If it shows the 9800 chip, after installing, the hack worked.
    It doesn't make mine perform like a 9800, it performs like a 9700. As far as I know the hack uses some of the 9800 driver paths and is also supposed to give you "SmoothVision 2.1" Some say it shows 2.1 and some say it doesn't, mine doesn't, it shows 2.0.

    Like I said, if you are interested, give it a try. If you don't like the way the drivers work, you can always roll back.
  14. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,383   +15

    thanks oldfartie :)
  15. Universal

    Universal TS Rookie

    Can someone tell me if its a good idea that i uninstall the current drivers before installing OMEGA's drivers ?
  16. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Universal, you absolutely have to uninstall the Control Panel, (I'm assuming we are still talking about ATi drivers). Omega say's it's not necessary to uninstall the old drivers, they overwrite the old ones, again, just be sure to uninstall the Control Panel.

    A lot of people go ahead and uninstall the drivers also, and then run Driver Cleaner, to absolutely get all the old files out, before installing the new ones. With Omega drivers, I've done it both ways, and didn't see any difference. I'd say just do the way he recommends, in the read me for the drivers on his page, and you won't have any trouble.
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