Summary: A few weeks ago ATI's CATALYST team unleashed a gift for all ATI users in the form of CATALYST 3.10. This driver promised more fixes and compatibility, but exactly how effective is it? In this article we examine ATI's latest driver and why it could be one of ATI's best driver releases of 2003!
As part of its recent commitment to release a new graphics driver every month, in mid-December ATI released its CATALYST 3.10 driver to the web. Initially, CATALYST 3.10 caused some confusion among FS readers in the news comments, as the name was similar to the CATALYST 3.1 driver released at the beginning of this year. Whereas CATALYST 3.1 is pronounced “three dot one”, CATALYST 3.10 is known as “three dot ten”.
Under ATI’s new naming scheme, the three denotes the year the driver was released (in this case, 2003), while the “.10” designates CATALYST 3.10 as the tenth driver released for that year. The CATALYST team will ring in 2004 with a new 4.x driver set sometime later this month.
Other than the new name, the biggest topic surrounding CATALYST 3.10 is game compatibility. If you recall, shortly after we posted our CATALYST 3.9 report, ATI issued a hotfix for its CATALYST driver to resolve the issues with Call of Duty. ATI cards were notorious for crashing with this game, which was the #2 selling game in November and December, behind The Sims: Makin’ Magic (an expansion pack that costs less than Call of Duty). In fact, Call of Duty has already surpassed Battlefield 1942 and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory as the #2 game played online so clearly this was an issue that needed to be addressed.
The hotfix ATI issued is essentially the beta version of CATALYST 3.10, so the driver we’re testing today was originally battle-tested by many of you back in November.
ATI has also squashed a few more bugs with the final release of CATALYST 3.10. For instance, the menu bug in Battlefield 1942 we mentioned in the CATALYST 3.9 report has been fixed. In addition, the CATALYST driver team has resolved the flickering textures issue with IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles.
This bug was particularly annoying, as it was present whenever you played IL-2. Considering that IL-2 is still considered the best WWII flight simulator on the market among flight simmers, it’s pretty important that ATI has addressed this. The most overwhelming complaint now revolves around EA’s Madden 2004 and anti-aliasing. With CATALYST 3.10, this feature doesn’t work.
SIDEBAR: CATALYST 3.10 release notes
NASCAR Racing 2003 Season (Bristol custom demo)
Nascar 2003 – Direct3D
IL-2 Sturmovik: FB - OpenGL
Quake III - OpenGL
Unreal Tournament 2003 – Direct3D
Splinter Cell – Direct3D
Tomb Raider – Direct3D
Unreal Tournament 2003
All RADEON card owners
While those of you looking for performance improvements are likely disappointed with the release of CATALYST 3.10, we must say that the stability/compatibility improvements introduced with this release are definitely more welcome, and we have a strong feeling many of you would agree with this sentiment. There’s nothing more frustrating than executing a brilliant flanking maneuver in Call of Duty only to have the game crash and be forced to do it all over again. The game would literally crash at will with previous drivers unless fast writes was disabled.
|© Copyright 2003 FS Media, Inc.|