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With all the new games coming out, we need to keep our graphics drivers updated to insure a quality experience with them. The graphics companies are always updating and improving their drivers, but does it make a difference really?

So new version of the ATI Catalyst Drivers were released recently, what do they bring in terms of performance? Read on as I compare v9.1 to v9.2 in several games including F.E.A.R 2, FarCry 2, Left4Dead, Call of Duty: World at War and a few others…

First here’s some notes regarding gaming from the 9.2 release:

Performance Improvements
Catalyst 9.2 brings performance benefits in several cases where framerates are CPU-limited. Some measured examples are:
• Crysis DX10 gains up to 20%
• Crysis Warhead DX10 gains up to 20%
• World in Conflict gains up to 5%

There’s a ton more resolved issues etc as well in the release, you can find more info at the ATI/AMD site HERE

My system basically consists of:

Intel Q9650

Radeon 4870 512MB

8 gig of ram

I used both auto benchmarks and FRAPS for testing, all were run three times and averaged out to get the scores.

First game is Call of Duty : World at War:

CoDWaW 2009-03-08 12-24-40-75 CoDWaW 2009-03-08 12-24-46-19 CoDWaW 2009-03-08 12-25-02-78 CoDWaW 2009-03-08 12-25-11-27

Black Cats Level, Maxed settings, 1680×1050 Resolution:

codwaw

Going from 9.1 to 9.2 we see a slight decrease in performance actually.

Next for testing is Crysis Warhead in both DX9 and DX10

Gamer Settings with 2X AA at 1680×1050 Resolution, 3 runs averaged out.

crysis warhead dx9

In DX9 we see a very slight increase but nothing special

Here’s DX10:

crysis warhead dx10

Here again we see a very slight increase but not the 20% as was stated in the release notes.

Next we have Crysis in both DX9 and DX10.

Settings are:

1680×1050 Resolution, 2X AA with High Quality Settings, 3 runs again.

crysisdx9

Here we see a decrease going from 9.1 to 9.2

here’s DX10 testing:

crysisdx10

Here we see a slight increase, but I don’t think it’s the 20% claimed in the release notes…

Next up is FarCry2 DX9 and DX10

Settings: Demo(Ranch Small), 1680×1050 (59Hz), Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(2x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Optimal), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Very High), Terrain(Very High), Geometry(Very High), Post FX(High), Texture(Very High), Shadow(Very High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)

farcry2 dx9

here again we see a very slight decrease in performance going from 9.1 to 9.2

Here’s the DX10 testing:

farcry2 dx10

again the same thing, a decrease in performance overall…

Next we have F.E.A.R. 2 testing:

fear2pic FEAR2 2009-03-08 12-26-30-53 FEAR2 2009-03-08 12-26-36-86 FEAR2 2009-03-08 12-26-46-71

Settings are not maxed, but fairly high with a resolution of 1680×1050.

fear2

The average FPS does drop slightly, but it’s still more than playable, even though it does drop for the minimum…

Next up is Left4Dead:

left4dead 2009-03-04 14-49-06-58 

Basically full settings at 1680×1050 resolution:

l4d

More than playable all around.

Since Unreal3 was running this weekend on Steam for free and the new Titan pack is here, I figured I’d throw this in as well:

settings are maxed with resolution at 1680×1050

unreal3

The same for both, still very playable.

Overall though we see a decrease in performance when moving from 9.1 to 9.2, not sure why, and not what was listed in the release notes for the drivers.