AMD delivers Catalyst 10.2 drivers, offers 10.3 preview

By on February 17, 2010, 10:43 AM
AMD is doing a "tick-tock" launch sequence with its Catalyst graphics drivers package, taking the wraps off a new set today and announcing some significant changes to come in next month's release. The first, version 10.2, brings with it a reworked CrossFire profile system that will allow better performance in games using the multi-GPU technology.

The company moved CrossFire support and profile information to a separate file rather than making it part of the core Direct3D and OpenGL drivers. Consequently, Crossfire game profiles can and will now be distributed as small encoded XML files separate from the driver, so if a new game comes out and doesn't work well with multi-GPU setups, AMD can quickly test and distribute a small executable to fix this. For end users this means Crossfire support for more games with fewer waits and smaller downloads.

Catalyst 10.2 also adds support for Crossfire and CrossFireX support in Eyefinity setups, improves Crossfire power consumption by making the second GPU enter an ultra-low power state when you're just doing desktop work, and you can now pass audio through the DisplayPort connection to DisplayPort monitors.

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Continue reading: Catalyst 10.3 to bring mobile support and more...

With version 10.3 AMD is bringing even more goodies to the table -- perhaps the most important of which is Catalyst Mobility. Starting in March the same binary installer you download every month will now work on most ATI Mobility Radeon-based notebooks (from the HD 2000 series onwards) running Windows Vista and Windows 7. AMD is giving manufacturers the option to switch off compatibility with these drivers and have users rely solely on their updates. Unfortunately for Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic laptop users, all three companies have opted out, meaning they won't get the latest features each month like everyone else.

Another big feature many gamers have been expecting since the introduction of ATI Eyefinity is bezel compensation. With Catalyst 10.3 users will now have access to a game-independent wizard that will allow them to adjust their display layout to compensate for monitor bezels and make lines flow smoothly from one monitor to the next. In addition, users will also be able to adjust the brightness, color and contrast for each individual monitor, as well as to manage multiple display groups on multi-monitor setups.

Finally, the company is adding support for 3D stereoscopic gaming and movie watching at 120Hz. Rather than introducing its own closed solution, AMD will support an open standard that middleware vendors will have access to, meaning the feature should work with the incoming raft of 3D products.

All in all, the company seems to be taking its current domination of the graphics card landscape a step further and has answered the cry of gamers everywhere in one fell swoop, with multiple new features that should take advantage of the powerful hardware and directly improve the gameplay experience.

User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

Can anyone tell me why Sony is doing this? Blocking costumers from updating GFX drivers?? Don't care about Panasonic and Toshiba, they are so ugly anyway...=) But why Sony? I actually like theirs Laptops...

Is this one of the steps in the conspiracy plan? Control the humans by controlling their laptops?.. Hmmm...

This is sad...

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's because Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, HP, etc. want to keep their proprietary option. If you purchase their products they want you to only go straight to them for repairs, updates, etc. so they can charge you and keep that hook in your lip to lead you around. Which is why I always build my own PC's and buy only generic (ASUS) laptops so I can customize and upgrade at will.

My first thought in reading this article is "those sounds of crickets chirping are getting louder and louder from the nVidia camp."

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Mmmmm...ATI HD5xxx series card owners with the GSoD problem get the stonewall/card owners are morons treatment from AMD for three months > Media pick up the story...AMD claim innocence/numbers are miniscule but magically produce a hotfix within days of being caught with their pants down > AMD announce not one but two driver releases on the eve of nVidia's Q4 earnings announcement to co-incide with the oppositions (supposed) product launch.

All in all , good business practice I guess.....Why did AMD card owners have to wait this long for CrossfireX profiles to be seperated from the driver ?

Hey, AMD, how about the ability to create new game profiles ? (hint: the opposition have had that ability too for a while)

Guest said:

this may be pointless, but I am a tight wad lol.. Will 10.2 help my ati radeon xpress 200 chip set at all??

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

10.2 gave me BSODs... and I'm running HD4870's.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

this may be pointless, but I am a tight wad lol.. Will 10.2 help my ati radeon xpress 200 chip set at all??

Unfortunately not if you're thinking along the lines of increased framerate. Your chipset driver has probably been optimized about as far as it will go I think excepting new titles. Driver support for "legacy" products (non-HD5xxx series in AMD parlance) will likely stagnate from this point going forwards.Even people with cards as late as the HD3xxx series are likely to be kicked to the curb, as will people with HD4xxx series cards shortly (including myself). You may see some (possible) stability benefits, although that's not a given either.


That sucks. A system build I did for a customer a few months back is having similar problems under 10.2 - "driver stopped responding" and black screen/cursor incidents with her HD 4850. I advised her to go with 9.12 for the time being.

Cat 10.2 seems to help some people but seems to have borked some 3 and 4 series cards also- a few posts at AMD Game forums to that effect too.

Hopefully the driver team gets on top of it quickly.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

^well what's weird is ppl that are having problems w/ 10.1 also can't seem to get 10.2 working but 10.1 works fine for me. when i installed 10.2 (forget the actual driver version) i got the BSOD and then when I restarted the computer Win7 went into repair mode and reverted back to the driver that was in the 10.1 pack. So it looks like I'm waiting on 10.3 now... hopefully I have better luck with that set.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Im getting good results from 10.2 on builds and my own machine,( 3 x HD4850's CF). but 10.1 was not good for me.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

Yea it seems the results are heavily mixed and erratic. I've been on AMD game forums a lot lately asking around but I haven't found much. I wanted to update because I was having some trouble running games in DX10 w/ CrossFire enabled. I figured this update, along with the CF profiles or whatever they are, would fix it but I couldn't even install it without something breaking. Just the fact that Windows went and reverted back to 10.1 tells me that something is very wrong.

Guest said:

Ahhh time for the monthly AMD/ATi driver rip.

Catalyst 10.2 and suprise they still don't run X2's in "Crossfire" without constant conflict.

The thought of millions of comsumers outlaying substaintial amounts of cash on a product that appears to not have a hope in hell of delivering any sort of gaming performance one would expect from the hundreds/thousands dollars committed in good faith is obscene.

18 months later and I'm still unable to run Crossfire X2's at a level that betters a single X2.

Nothing ventured nothing gained ....but for sure ATi, "NEVER AGAIN".

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