Seemingly prompted by the release of Nvidia's GeForce 266.58 drivers, AMD has dropped a Catalyst 11.1a hotfix with speed gains for its Radeon HD 6800 and 6900 series graphics cards. As usual, the hotfix is not officially supported, so be aware that you're installing it at your own risk. An official Catalyst update is on track for January 26, so the faint of heart may just want to wait a week.
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Both GPU lines can look forward to a performance increase of around 7% in 3DMark Vantage, 3% in 3DMark06, 20% in Call of Duty: Black Ops when playing at 4xMSAA and 35% at 8xMSAA, as well as 20% in the Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. Unigine Heaven OpenGL performance improves 10%, 30%, or 100% when running at moderate, normal and extreme tessellation levels.
AMD also cites a handful of series-specific improvements. Radeon HD 6800 cards get a 9% boost in Aliens vs. Predators when running at 2xMSAA and up to 20% at 4xMSAA, Metro 2033 should be around 28% quicker at 4xMSAA, while Batman Arkham Asylum and Crysis Warhead get a ~4% boost. Meanwhile, Battleforge's DirectX 11 performance increases by 6% for Radeon HD 6900 users.
Speed gains aside, AMD has added prototype tessellation controls to the Catalyst Control Center. "Our goal is to give users full control over the tessellation levels used in applications," the company said. "The default selection "AMD Optimized" setting allows AMD, on a per application basis, to set the best level of tessellation. No applications have been profiled yet, so this feature is currently non-operational.