AMD has fired a volley of updates at Radeon owners, including a new Microsoft-certified build (12.1), a preview of the next official release (12.2) and an early driver for the HD 7900 series (8.21.2 RC11). The WHQL-stamped Catalyst 12.1 is likely what you'll want to download if you just want to play it safe with AMD's mainline offering. Version 12.1 contains all the goodies found in the 12.1 and 12.1a previews, including:
- A 10-15% boost (over Catalyst 11.12) in Skyrim for certain HD 6900 setups
- Support for 1080p@30Hz displays via HD3D over HDMI 1.4 (up from 24Hz)
- Improved UI for adjusting video quality and color settings in the control panel
- A new control panel feature that lets you create application-specific profiles
As usual, AMD has prepared a special non-WHQL release for thrill-seekers. The unofficial Catalyst 12.2 preview packs everything you'll find in 12.1 but adds half a dozen more improvements. Most notably, the release touts a larger range of resolutions for Eyefinity users and dynamic configuration changes, which automatically changes your configuration when plugging/unplugging a screen. There are also HydraVision enhancements (the Windows task bar can now be moved and resized) as well as Profile Manager improvements.
Radeon HD 7900 owners are strongly cautioned against installing 12.1 and the 12.2 preview as neither build supports the latest-generation cards. Instead, you want 8.921.2 RC11, which provides the proper support and delivers relevant enhancements. HD 7900 users can expect anywhere from 8% to 250% more performance in games and benchmarks including AvP, BF3, Crysis 2 and TessMark (OpenGL). The build also adds super sample and adaptive AA for DX10 and DX11 applications along with six bug fixes (mostly for games).
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7970 measures 27 cm long (10.6 in), the GPU core is clocked at 925MHz, and the GDDR5 memory operates at the same frequency of 1375MHz (5.5GHz DDR). Still, pairing that frequency with a 384-bit memory bus gives the HD 7970 264GB/s of theoretical bandwidth. The HD 7970 carries 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs, up 33% from 1536 SPUs and 96 TAUs, it's also the first PCI Express 3.0-compatible card.
In the frigid northern province of the continent of Tamriel the legendary dragon god Alduin rises, bringing with him a plague of ferocious flying lizards and the promise of the end of the world of Nirn. Only one being stands between this malevolent force and the people of the eponymous province Skyrim: Dovahkiin, the Dragonborn, a figure blessed with the ability to absorb the very powers these terrible creatures seek to unleash upon the land.
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