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Despite Game-Related Glitches, AMD Discontinues Monthly Driver Updates 213

MojoKid writes "Recently AMD announced that it would cease offering monthly graphics driver updates, and instead issue Catalyst versions only 'when it makes sense.' That statement would be a good deal more comforting if it didn't 'make sense' to upgrade AMD's drivers nearly every single month. From 2010 through 2011, AMD released a new Catalyst driver every month like clockwork. Starting last summer, however, AMD began having trouble with high-profile game releases that performed badly or had visual artifacts. Rage was one high-profile example, but there have been launch-day issues with a number of other titles, including Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Bat Man: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3. The company responded to these problems by quickly releasing out-of-band driver updates. In addition, AMD's recent Catalyst 12.6 beta driver also fixes random BSODs on the desktop, poor Crossfire scaling in Skyrim and random hangs in Crysis 2 in DX9. In other words, AMD is still working to resolve important problems in games that launched more than six months ago. It's hard to put a positive spin on slower driver releases given just how often those releases are necessary."

AMD's New Radeon HD 7950 Tested 120

MojoKid writes "When AMD announced the high-end Radeon HD 7970, a lower cost Radeon HD 7950 based on the same GPU was planned to arrive a few weeks later. The GPU, which is based on AMD's new architecture dubbed Graphics Core Next, is manufactured using TSMC's 28nm process and features a whopping 4.31 billion transistors. In its full configuration, found on the Radeon HD 7970, the Tahiti GPU sports 2,048 stream processors with 128 texture units and 32 ROPs. On the Radeon HD 7950, however, a few segments of the GPU have been disabled, resulting in a total of 1,792 active stream processors, with 112 texture units and 32 ROPs. The Radeon HD 7950 is also clocked somewhat lower at 800MHz, although AMD has claimed the cards are highly overclockable. Performance-wise, though the card isn't AMD's fastest, pricing is more palatable and the new card actually beats NVIDIA's high-end GeForce GTX 580 by just a hair."

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Launched, Fastest GPU Tested 281

MojoKid writes "Rumors of AMD's Southern Island family of graphics processors have circulated for some time, though today AMD is officially announcing their latest flagship single-GPU graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970. AMD's new Tahiti GPU is outfitted with 2,048 stream processors with a 925MHz engine clock, featuring AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture, paired to 3GB of GDDR5 memory connected over a 384-bit wide memory bus. And yes, it's crazy fast as you'd expect and supports DX11.1 rendering. In the benchmarks, the new Radeon HD 7970 bests NVIDIA's fastest single GPU GeForce GTX 580 card by a comfortable margin of 15 — 20 percent and can even approach some dual GPU configurations in certain tests." PC Perspective has a similarly positive writeup. There are people who will pay $549 for a video card, and others who are just glad that the technology drags along the low-end offerings, too.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.