ATI has just released the Catalyst 10.6 video drivers. The newest version is said to provide several performance enhancements, including improved scores in 3DMark Vantage. Video playback enhancements include:
GPU acceleration of H.264 video content using Adobe Flash Player 10.1
- AMD GPU acceleration of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 delivers smooth high definition video playback and reduces system resource utilization on notebook and desktop platforms featuring AMD graphics
Video De-blocking support
- Reduces blocking artifacts seen in low-bit rate video during playback
- Supported on ATI Radeon HD 5000 series Graphics
Mosquito noise removal
- Reduces mosquito noise seen in highly compressed progressive video, during
These claims have yet to be substantiated, but it is likely the performance gains are minimal. The most interesting part of this driver release is ATI’s claim that the new drivers boost 3DMark Vantage scores, specifically: “overall scores improve up to 5% on a single ATI Radeon HD 5970.” Forums members began testing out this theory earlier today, Jaym14 reported a 3000 point or 9% gain in his Vantage GPU score on the following system:
i7 920 @ 4.0ghz
6GB G.Skill Perfect storm ram @ 1600Mhz 6/6/6/20
5970 + 5870 both @ 850/1250
More testing will reveal the true value of the new drivers. Several of the OCF Benching Team members that I spoke to agree that 10.4 is still the best Catalyst Driver package for benchmarking, especially for 4000 series cards.
The release notes also stated that several games, specifically with crossfire, will see performance gains including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Crysis Warhead, Aliens vs. Predator DirectX 11 Benchmark and Wolfenstein (had to mention it, since its my favorite game series of all-time).
View the full release notes on AMD’s website: ATI Catalyst Software Suite Version 10.6 Release Notes