As anticipated, AMD has released a new beta driver for Radeon owners this week, bringing a handful of new features and enhancements. Improved support for Enduro, a technology that's akin to Nvidia's Optimus graphics switching solution, is perhaps the most notable addition to the latest Catalyst update. The feature technically rolled out as part of the Radeon HD 7000M products earlier this year, but driver support has been iffy at best.
Like Optimus, Enduro can dynamically toggle between discrete and integrated graphics chips to provide the best balance between performance and power consumption on notebooks in any given situation. Unfortunately, reviews -- such as this one by AnandTech's Jarred Walton -- have been fairly negative. Only a few weeks ago, Walton wrote that Enduro was years behind Optimus in performance, but that a few driver tweaks might help. In an update yesterday, Walton wrote that he's testing the Catalyst 12.9 beta to see what's improved.
The new Catalyst release also offers up to 10% more performance in Lost Planet 2 on single-GPU setups, as well as the latest Catalyst Application Profile, which resolves Crossfire-related issues such as texture flickering in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Tribes Ascend and F1 2012. Other bug fixes include one that caused corruption in Firefox on Crossfire configurations, one that resulted in undesired Overdrive behavior, along with another that caused performance issues in certain DX10 and 11 applications on Crossfire and Eyefinity.
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.
The HD 7950 has 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs. The only other ports are on the I/O panel where you'll find a dual DL-DVI connector, a single HDMI 1.4a port, and two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 sockets. Supports a max resolution of 2560x1600 on up to 3 monitors.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7870 measures 24cm long (9.4 in). The GPU core is clocked at 1000MHz and the GDDR5 memory operates at 1200MHz (4.8GHz DDR), The HD 7870 carries 1280 SPUs, 80 TAUs and 32 ROPs, it also adopts the 28nm design process and is PCI Express 3.0-compatible.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7850 measures 24cm (9.4 in) long. The core clock frequency of the AMD ATI Radeon HD 7850 has been lowered from 1GHz to 860MHz. The GDDR5 memory still works at 1.2GHz, which is effectively 4.8GHz DDR. The HD 7850 has 1024 SPUs and 64 TAUs, while the ROPs remain at 32. It is also PCI Express 3.0-compatible
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