Easily one of the chief criticisms gamers have had with gaming on notebooks up to this point has been shoddy driver support.
With laptops, driver support is solely up to the notebook manufacturer, not the graphics manufacturer. This means that your laptop manufacturer is directly responsible for providing drivers for you, whether itís Dell, Sony, HP, etc. With vast libraries of drivers available, and a plethora of different products to support, notebook manufacturers are often overwhelmed by this burden, and as a result driver updates are rarely provided, and are often outdated in a matter of weeks. This is important, especially for gaming, as newer drivers will often resolve game compatibility issues that end userís need in order to play their favorite games. In contrast, on the desktop, end users can download the graphics manufacturerís reference driver, which is released more frequently and contains the latest features.
Starting with CATALYST 5.6, ATI MOBILITY users will finally have access to the same monthly driver updates that are found in desktop drivers, thanks to ATIís new CATALYST MOBILITY driver.
CATALYST MOBILITY will be based on the same driver thatís simultaneously released that month on the desktop, in other words the feature set between regular CATALYST and CATALYST MOBILITY are transparent to each other. Of course, ATI also includes features which are unique to notebook users as well, such as power management and resume, but other than this the drivers are the same.
Initially CATALYST MOBILITY will only be offered for MOBILITY RADEON X800 and MOBILITY RADEON X700 users with Windows XP, but ATI plans to offer support for older products and additional operating systems as well with future releases. In addition, CATALYST MOBILITY will only be available from system builders who chose to participate in the program, Dell for example has chosen not to support CATALYST MOBILITY, choosing instead to validate each driver manually. This means that those of you with Inspiron XPS systems will have to continue to rely on Dell to provide support, rather than being able to go to ati.com for the latest driver updates. Weíre pretty sure quite a few gamers wonít be happy about this.