ATIís CATALYST driver team continues to crank out new drivers on a monthly basis! Last weekís 4.2 release followed closely on the heels of CATALYST 4.1, which was released to the public less than a month ago.
ATI has been focusing on stability first and foremost lately, with performance taking a bit of a backseat. ATI has also introduced new features such as EAZYSHARE and OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) support in CATALYST 3.10, and enhanced OVERDRIVE for RADEON 9800 XT and RADEON 9600 XT in CATALYST 4.1 by incorporating hardware monitoring of the core temperature and the current clock speed of the graphics core.
For CATALYST 4.2, ATI has enhanced its Multimedia Center software (now up to version 8.9) and, whatís arguably the most talked about and praised feature: the Direct3D setting enhancement. For RADEON 9500 cards and up, the screen no longer goes blank during re-initialization, which would occur when changing settings such as anisotropic filtering or anti-aliasing! ATI has even mentioned performance improvements for DX8 class cards like the RADEON 8500 family.
Unfortunately, all isnít perfect with CATALYST 4.2. There have been complaints of anti-aliasing not working in a few applications. Weíve been mentioning the AA issues with EA Sports Madden 2004 for the past two driver releases, and unfortunately theyíre still present in CATALYST 4.2. Fortunately, a few users have discovered that you can get around this problem by pressing Alt-Enter, which returns you to the desktop, and then pressing the Alt-Enter combination again to return you back to the game. Hopefully ATI can come up with a fix of their own, as AA is pretty important in all sports titles, and the frame rate is pretty fluid with this setting enabled on lower end cards.
Battlefield 1942 is another application that has been reported as having AA problems with DX8 cards like the RADEON 8500 and RADEON 9000 series, but we didnít run into any problems with AA enabled (running with BF1942ís latest patch), we did however notice a few missing textures here and there on our system with a fresh OS install. We also saw this in a few areas with NASCAR 2003.
The final application that has been mentioned from time to time (including CATALYST 4.1) is Relicís Homeworld 2. Unfortunately, regardless of the system configuration used, we couldnít boot the game up to confirm this. Every time we launched the game it would kick us back to the Windows desktop. Oh well, everything else with threw at CATALYST 4.2 seemed to work well with it, but you may want to consult Rage3Dís official CATALYST 4.2 thread for more confirmation.