AMD to add full profiles to Catalyst driver

Driver twitchers will have already spotted AMD’s latest Catalyst 10.1 graphics drivers going up yesterday, but this latest Catalyst goody bag looks pretty trivial compared with what’s to come. AMD’s Catalyst Product Manager, Terry Makedon, has implied that Catalyst 10.2 and 10.3 will be saddled up with many new features, including an overhaul of the profile system.

Makedon hinted at the new profiles on Twitter yesterday, where he goes by the moniker of CatalystMaker. ‘10.1 is just a standard release to fix up some bugs,’ said Makedon, ‘but 10.2 and 10.3 will indeed have some major new features.’ Another Twitter user, PackFanJason, quizzed him on this, asking ‘can you give us any hints at the new features? Please say Profiles!’ Makedon’s response was simply to say ‘profiles.’

AMD already has a primitive profiles system in its Catalyst driver, but it’s far from user-friendly. Unlike Nvidia’s profile system, which automatically changes the graphics settings when you launch the associated game, ATI’s profile system requires you to launch the game from the Catalyst Control Center. It’s hardly ideal for gamers who launch their games from a third-party app, such as XFire.

This will be great news to owners of ATI graphics cards who like to tweak the specific anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering settings for each game. For example, Mass Effect doesn’t allow you to adjust the anti-aliasing settings in the game, so they have to be altered via the Catalyst Control Center.

However, it has to be said that ATI has needed to overhaul its profile system for a long time. Frustrated owners of ATI cards have previously had to resort to third party apps, such as Tray Tools, in order to get a proper game profile system. Nvidia first introduced its profile system in its ForceWare 55 drivers, back in March 2004, so it’s absurd that ATI has taken this long to implement a similar system.

AMD updates its Catalyst drivers every month, so we should see the next Catalyst 10.2 driver in February, and 10.3 in March. In the meantime, you can get the latest Catalyst 10.1 drivers from here.

AMD claims that the new driver will boost your frame rates in some games, including a four per cent performance improvement in Crysis on Radeon HD 5800-series cards, along with a three per cent speed increase in Left4Dead 2.