Catalyst 12.6 drivers improve performance, plug security hole

By on June 29, 2012, 5:30 PM

The official release of AMD's Catalyst 12.6 driver has finally hit the scene. As expected, the unified driver features a long list of bug fixes and improvements for users with video cards dating back to the Radeon HD 2400 series. However, 12.6 also addresses one other unusual problem: a driver vulnerability which could result in a system crash.

Catalyst 12.6 includes fixes not found in the 12.6 beta, like resolving system hangs after entering sleep mode. If you're running 12.6b, then definitely grab 12.6 final or 12.7 beta.

Catalyst 12.6 downloads (release notes)

Note: While many mobile users can install these reference drivers from AMD, many more will not. It depends upon the make, model and GPU of the laptop. Regardless, users can still run the appropriate mobile download above to find out for certain.

Resolved issues:

  • CERT recently approached AMD with information pertaining to what they believed to be a possible video driver vulnerability exposed by non-default settings of the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). EMET is a security test tool that allows system administrators to create test conditions to validate correct behavior of system components or indicate potential weak points.
  • The AMD Catalyst 12.6 driver for the AMD Radeon HD 7000, AMD Radeon HD 6000, and AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series is designed to resolve a possible video driver vulnerability issue and to minimize the occurrence of system crashes.
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Eyefinity/Multiple Display configurations - BSOD when using desktop applications.
  • AMD Catalyst 12.6 includes some additional fixes(not found in the AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta) for the AMD Radeon™ HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 graphics cards for issues related to the GPU hanging when the system goes to sleep.  Please ensure that your System BIOS is up to date.  Some occurrences of this issue may be related to an outdated System BIOS.
  • Heroes and Generals - Blocky corruption in scenes with smoke effects when run in DirectX 11 mode.
  • AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 CrossFire Configuration – system hang after cinematics in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • AMD A4, AMD A6, AMD A8 and AMD A10 APU Products - crashes after repeated toggling between VGA and HDMI monitors.
  • System hangs after playing various DVD and Bluray titles with PowerDVD.
  • Video corruption seen after playing some DivX video clips using Windows Media Center.
  • AMD Radeon 7800 series products: Crysis 2 hangs when run in DirectX 9 mode.
  • AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Eyefinity/Multiple Display configurations - BSOD when using desktop applications in DirectX 11 mode.

For Vista/7 users who live on the bleeding edge, AMD also has the Catalyst 12.7 beta available for download. The beta claims to increase performance of several games for Radeon HD 7700, 7800 and 7900 users, including a 25 percent gain in Skyrim. 12.7 also adds Diablo 3 anti-aliasing support and fixes flickering issues with Skyrim.

As for known issues in 12.6, Crysis Warhead may crash on launch for some HD7900 users. AMD CrossfireX users will need to be wary of running Total War: Shogun 2 in DirectX 11 mode (may cause flickering) while Dirt: Showdown 8-Ball Track may simply hang.

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