AMD Catalyst

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AMD Catalyst
AMD Catalyst Software Logo
AMD VISION Engine Control Center.png
AMD Catalyst Control Center
Original author(s) ATI Technologies
Developer(s) Advanced Micro Devices
Initial release June 13, 2002; 12 years ago (2002-06-13) (v. 2.1)
Stable release
Windows

Omega (14.12) (December 9, 2014; 10 days ago (2014-12-09)[1]) [±]

Linux
Omega (14.12) (December 9, 2014; 10 days ago (2014-12-09)[2]) [±]
Preview release
Windows

14.11.2 Beta (November 18, 2014; 31 days ago (2014-11-18)[3]) [±]

Linux
14.6 Beta (July 14, 2014; 5 months ago (2014-07-14)[4]) [±]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Linux
Platform IA-32 and x64
.NET Framework
Size 273 MB
Type Device driver and system monitor
License Proprietary / Freeware
Website AMD Catalyst

AMD Catalyst (formerly named ATI Catalyst) is a device driver and utility software package for Advanced Micro Devices's graphics cards and APUs. It runs on Microsoft Windows and Linux, on 32- and 64-bit x86 processors.

Supported hardware[edit]

AMD Catalyst is targeted to support all function blocks present on a GPU's or APU's die. Besides IC targeted at rendering, this includes display controllers as well as their SIP blocks to do video decoding, Unified Video Decoder (UVD) and video encoding Video Codec Engine (VCE).

The device driver also supports AMD TrueAudio, a SIP block to do sound related calculations.

Supported products[edit]

AMD Catalyst supports the following AMD product lines targeted at rendering:

The following product lines are probably not supported by the AMD Catalyst, but instead by some other software, which e.g. is OpenGL-certified

  • AMD FireStream product line for GPGPU in supercomputers and such
  • AMD FireMV product line for multi-monitor setups (deprecated by AMD Eyefinity being available on all consumer products)[citation needed]
  • AMD FirePro product line for professionals who require certified OpenGL support

Multi-monitor support[edit]

Main article: AMD Eyefinity

Starting in Catalyst 14.6 AMD has enabled mixed resolution support, allowing for a single Eyefinity display group to be created while each monitor runs at a different resolution. This feature is made possible through the addition of two new Eyefinity display modes, Fit and Expand, which join the traditional Fill mode. In both Fit an Expand mode AMD is compensating for the mismatched resolutions by creating a virtual desktop that is of a different resolution than the monitors, and then either padding it out or cropping it as is necessary.[5]

Before Eyefinity, there was the Windows-only software "HydraVision", a desktop/screen management software mostly providing multi-monitor and virtual-screen management. It has extensive hot-key support.[6]

Video acceleration[edit]

Both of AMD's SIP cores for video acceleration, Unified Video Decoder as well as Unified Video Decoder, are supported by AMD Catalyst.

Power saving[edit]

Main article: AMD PowerTune

AMD Catalyst includes support for AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Power, AMD's set of technologies to reduce energy consumption in their graphics products.[7]

Supported interfaces[edit]

Rendering[edit]

The AMD Catalyst device driver supports multiple rendering interfaces, all designed the give user-space programs, such as e.g. video games or CAD software, access to the correspondent SIP blocks.

Direct3D[edit]

Main article: Direct3D

OpenGL[edit]

Main article: OpenGL

Mantle[edit]

So far, only the Catalyst targeting Microsoft Windows includes support for Mantle (API).

Video acceleration[edit]

The AMD Catalyst device driver supports multiple interfaces, all designed the give user-space programs, such as e.g. GStreamer or HandBrake software, access to the correspondent SIP blocks.

GPGPU[edit]

OpenCL[edit]

Main article: OpenCL

[citation needed]

Close to Metal[edit]

Main article: Close to Metal

Close to Metal was a low-level API by AMD which was abandoned in favor of OpenCL.

Other[edit]

AMD HD3D stereoscopic 3D API by AMD.

Heterogeneous System Architecture[edit]

[citation needed]

Operating systems support[edit]

Linux[edit]

In the future libGL-fglrx-glx could use the libdrm of the radeon open-source driver instead of the proprietary binary blob.

For a long time fglrx (an abbreviation for "FireGL and Radeon for X"[8]) had been the name of the proprietary graphics device driver for Linux. Starting from Catalyst 7.11, the ATI Proprietary Linux driver was renamed ATI Catalyst Linux, and was moved to the same release dates and version numbering as the versions for Microsoft Windows.[9]

In the first years of its development, the proprietary Linux driver fglrx had been criticized for its stability and performance issues as well as lack of options. AMD improved the driver in the following periods by including key features such as CrossFire, OverDrive, Catalyst AI, Stream Computing, new anti-aliasing functions, MultiView, SurroundView, etc. But the major breakthrough for fglrx was the strategic decision that AMD took in 2008, to increase the significance of Linux support: From then on all new GPUs in future are to be shipped with Linux driver support right from the first day of their release, instead of having to face a delay of several months as it used to be until then.[10] In the following years the state of the driver had continuously further improved over time, with AMD working in concert with application developers, and most instances of the drivers were considered to be solid enough for most tasks and functional for most users.[11]

Soon after its release as free and open-source software, VOGL, an OpenGL debugger available for Linux and Microsoft Windows, received support for the AMD Catalyst Linux driver.[12]

Future[edit]

On the GDC 2014 AMD was publicly exploring the strategy of rebasing the user space components of the AMD Catalyst Linux driver from the current proprietary Linux kernel blob to the libDRM of the free and open-source radeon driver possibly easing the use and implementation of HSA under Linux.[13]

AMD is quoted to still look at the feasibility of supporting their Mantle rendering API in the Catalyst driver for Linux.[14]

Microsoft Windows[edit]

Windows support From version To version Notes
Windows 9x 4.4 There were some later releases for these operating systems, including and up to a Windows Me build of Catalyst 6.2 released on Feb 9, 2006.[15]
Windows 2000 6.5[16]
Windows XP 10.2[17] Driver updates and support stopped at ATI Catalyst 10.2 for video cards with support up to DirectX 9.0c.[citation needed]
Windows XP x64 10.2 [18]
Windows Vista 7.2 13.9 Driver updates and support stopped at ATI Catalyst 13.9 for video cards with support up to DirectX 10.[19]
Windows 7 9.3
Windows 8 12.8[20] Renamed AMD Catalyst with the merger of ATI and AMD.

Starting with version 4.9 (released on 4 September 2004) the Catalyst driver package included the ATI Catalyst Control Center,[21] a new software application for manipulating many hardware functions, such as 3D settings, monitor controls and video options. It shows a small 3D preview and allows the user to see how changes to the graphics settings affect the quality of the rendered image. It also shows information about the card itself and the software data. This application requires Microsoft .NET Framework.

Issues[edit]

On Windows Platforms[edit]

  • Quantity of rendered ahead frames cannot be adjusted
  • Triple buffering in D3D cannot be forced
  • V-sync in many games under Windows 7 cannot be forced disabled
  • Sometimes installables complain about registers being in use by Catalyst Control Center and AMD Fuel Service, and asks to shut them before proceeding. Users are in doubt whether "End Task" on them will cause display to stop working. In Control Panel installed system programs do not have a field to indicate (for any program) whether system will be unusable without it.

On Linux Platforms[edit]

History[edit]

Catalyst originated on 13 June 2002[22] with version 02.1 - after ATI Technologies released the Radeon 8500 GPU in October 2001 - as "a software suite that includes unified driver and software applications to enable [ATI's] Radeon family of graphics products"[citation needed] for Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Me, with support for Windows 98 via the Windows Me driver. The first number in a release version denotes the year, the second the release within that year, starting at x.1 for all years other than 2003 (which had a 3.0 release).

In June 2012 AMD announced that they would stop monthly driver-updates and release new drivers "when it makes sense".[23]

The original Catalyst consisted of these elements:

  1. a new, unified driver for ATI Radeon graphics-cards
  2. Hydravision, ATI's proprietary desktop-management software
  3. an ATI "Multimedia Center"
  4. ATI's Remote Wonder software
  5. a new AGP diagnostic and stability tool
  6. a redesigned control-panel

Key features promised by ATI include frequent driver-updates with performance enhancements, bug fixes, and new features.

In mid-2004, however, ATI started to support Linux (XFree86, X.Org), hiring a new Linux driver team to produce fglrx. Their new proprietary Linux drivers, instead of being a port of the Windows Catalyst drivers, were based on the Linux drivers for the FireGL (the FireGL drivers worked with Radeons before, but didn't officially support them), a card geared toward graphics producers, not gamers (although the display driver part is now based on the same sources as the ones from Windows Catalyst since version 4.x in late 2004). The proprietary Linux drivers could support R200 (Radeon 8500-9200, 9250) chips.[24] For a better display driver, the drivers from a distribution's official repositories are recommended.

Initially, ATI did not produce Radeon drivers for Linux, instead giving hardware specifications and documentation to Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) developers under various non-disclosure agreements.

The frequency of driver updates increased in late 2004, releasing Linux drivers every two months, half as often as their Windows counterparts. Then since late 2005 this has been increased to monthly releases, inline with the Windows Catalyst releases.

In 2008, ATI changed its release cycles and driver versions; now referred to as Catalyst <year>.<month>, the driver package still includes an internal 8.xx.x driver revision, but it is now monthly, having a common code base with the Windows driver (starting with internal release 8.43). In 2009, the Catalyst driver officially dropped support for R500 and older chips, the FOSS driver being deemed stable and complete enough. The last driver release supporting older architectures is Catalyst 9.3.

See also[edit]

Related technologies
Related topics

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AMD Catalyst™ Omega Windows® Release Notes". 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2014-12-09. 
  2. ^ "AMD Catalyst™ OMEGA Linux Release Notes". 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2014-12-09. 
  3. ^ "AMD Catalyst™ 14.11.2 Beta Driver for Windows®". 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  4. ^ "AMD Catalyst™ 14.6 Beta for Linux". 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  5. ^ "AMD Catalyst 14.6 beta adds new Eyefinity functionality". AnandTech. 2014-05-27. Retrieved 2014-07-02. 
  6. ^ "HydraVision". 2008-04-18. 
  7. ^ "PowerPlay™ support in Catalyst for Linux version 8.19.10". 2005-11-12. 
  8. ^ http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Talk:Fglrx
  9. ^ ATI Catalyst Linux 7.11 release notes
  10. ^ AMD Linux 2008 Year in Review on Phoronix.
  11. ^ WineD3D developer statement concerning fglrx (2008-12)
  12. ^ http://richg42.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/completed-another-round-of-testing-on.html
  13. ^ "AMD exploring new Linux driver Strategy". 2014-03-22. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  14. ^ "AMD Is Still Looking At The Feasibility Of Mantle On Linux". 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  15. ^ "Catalyst™ 6.2 Drivers and ATI Multimedia Software for Windows 98/Windows 98 SE/Windows ME". Официальный сайт. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  16. ^ ATI Catalyst 6.6 release notes
  17. ^ http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%20XP%20-%20Professional/Home&RenderOnServer=true
  18. ^ http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%20XP%20-%2064&RenderOnServer=true
  19. ^ http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop/legacy?product=legacy2&os=Windows%207%20-%2032
  20. ^ AMD Catalyst 12.8 release notes
  21. ^ ATI Catalyst Control Center announcement
  22. ^ ATI Catalyst announcement
  23. ^ AMD Drops Monthly Driver Update Practice After Ten Years. "AMD Drops Monthly Driver Update Practice After Ten Years". X-bit labs. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  24. ^ "r2** support is completely broken with 8.25.18 - Rage3D Discussion Area". Rage3d.com. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 

External links[edit]