Exactly 10 days ago, we brought you a video quality comparison between the ATI Radeon X800 XL using Catalyst 5.12, the NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT, and the XGI Volari 8300. Using the HQV Benchmark DVD and true analog capture hardware, we showed you how ATI's legendary video quality was just that: a legend.
Nonetheless, FiringSquad's sources brought information of a new driver that would change things for ATI. Not simply a driver that would bring ATI ahead of XGI and NVIDIA and back to the top of the PC video processing world, but a driver that would bring ATI ahead of consumer electronics companies such as Sony, Samsung, Pixelworks, and Faroudja and put ATI hot on the tail of Gennum and Silicon Optix. Seeing that twelve drivers had already been released by ATI in 2005, most readers assumed that the new driver would have to come in January 2006 as Catalyst 6.1. ATI's Secret Santa decided to release this gift earlier to PC enthusiasts with a 13th driver release in 2005 and Oh, how things have changed!
Yes thatís really an ATI-developed logo for Cat 5.13.
Modern Day GPU Design
There's no secret that today's GPUs are becoming increasingly complex devices to manufacture and build. When it comes to the video processing portion of the GPU, it's probably one of the most challenging elements of design. Not only does video processing require a substantial amount of computational horsepower, but the algorithms are unclear. Knowing what to do and how to do it is much more difficult than building silicon that is fast enough for the task.
ATI considers Catalyst 5.13 as the first driver that unlocks the AVIVO technology present in the Radeon X1800, but it's more than that. Catalyst 5.13 represents the countless hours needed to understand the problems associated with deinterlacing and image enhancement as well as the time spent generating novel solutions.