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BUFF

AMD/ATi Catalyst 8.3 out

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For me, the ability to force FSAA in Unreal 3 engined games like UT3 and R6 Vegas under Windows XP was an important addition.

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While I always upgrade when I have the time (sometimes I fall behind by a relase or two), it is not really necessary unless:

1) you have some glitch in 1 or more of your games and you think the new release might have fixed it.

2) the release claims to improve performance across the board by some useful % (typical with newly released cards).

3) there is some new feature that was previously disabled or broken (such as a new form of antialiasing that improves visual quality and/or reduces the hit for using anti-aliasing).

 

While there are rarely any fixes for flight sims (maybe Microsoft FS at best), sometimes the problems with popular shooters and sports games are common to fligh sims too, so when they fix some major bug in other games, the flight sims get fixed too. I remember one case where I had a problem with Radeon 8500 series hardware T&L in Operation Flashpoint and when a release came out to fix a similar problem with an EA Games hockey game, suddenly my OFP problem was solved as well.

Unfortunately, combat flight sims are pretty much small niche games, so the people who write the video card drivers generally ignore problems with them.

In the case of the SFP1 series, TK actually had to change his graphic engine to accommodate problems with ATi hardware T&L way back when the 9700 Pro was a new card.

I was able to manually disable the problem with the Radeon 8500 (using a third party driver tool), but people who bought the high end 9700 Pro were stuck and couldn't even get as good of framerates as I coudl get on my 8500 :)

 

The problem with upgrading drivers is that there is a chance that something will get broken (typically a registry entry or a dll conflict).

The ATi uninstall tool isn't as thorough as it could be (I almost always use it before installing the newest Cat and almost always have problems if I don't use it).

Sometimes, I am forced to use a 3rd party tool driver cleaner to trouble shoot new problems.

Somehow, my current PC has picked up a problem where my Catalyst Control panel settings are frequently ignored.

I have to use the ATi tray tool (3rd party alternative to Cat control panel) to have positive control.

No matter what I do, I can't get rid of the problem while my wife's nearly identical PC (same MB chipset, cpu, gpu) does not have the problem.

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