[TEST] ATI Catalyst 10.2: Better CrossFire and OpenGL Support



ATI Catalyst display driver

ATI Catalyst 10.2 and GPU Caps Viewer


Hehe, this time, the version number is good ;)

Overview

The February 2010 edition of Catalyst graphics drivers is available. This new set of drivers is focused on CrossFire support and here are the new features you can find in Catalyst 10.2:

  • ATI Catalyst application profiles for ATI CrossFireX supported configurations
  • ATI Catalyst support for PowerPlay on ATI CrossFireX technology supported configurations
  • ATI Catalyst support for DisplayPort audio
  • Support for ATI CrossFireX on Eyefinity configurations

From Catalyst 10.2, the latest CrossFireX profiles can be downloaded in a separate executable file, ensuring users to have the absolute latest application profiles (that have not yet been added to the official ATI Catalyst release).

ATI Catalyst 10.2 and GPU Caps Viewer
ATI Catalyst CCC information

As usual, you can download Catalyst 10.2 HERE.

More information is available in this article: ATI Catalyst™ 10.2 Driver – What’s New? (actually this blog entry is a copy of the release notes, not really interesting…).


OpenGL Support

Now let’s see the OpenGL side of Catalyst 10.2.

General info from GPU Caps Viewer:
- Drivers Version: 8.702.0.0 – Catalyst 10.2 (2-2-2010) – atig6pxx.dll
- ATI Catalyst Release Version String: 8.702-100202a-095693C-ATI
- OpenGL Renderer: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series
- OpenGL Version: 3.2.9551 Compatibility Profile Context
- GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) Version: 1.50
- ARB Texture Units: 8
- Vertex Shader Texture Units: 16
- Pixel Shader Texture Units: 16
- Geometry Shader Texture Units: 32
- Max Texture Size: 16384×16384
- Max Anisotropic Filtering Value: X16.0
- Max Point Sprite Size: 8192.0
- Max Dynamic Lights: 8
- Max Viewport Size: 16384×16384
- Max Vertex Uniform Components: 1024
- Max Fragment Uniform Components: 1024
- Max Geometry Uniform Components: 4096
- Max Varying Float: 64
- Max Vertex Bindable Uniforms: 15
- Max Fragment Bindable Uniforms: 15
- Max Geometry Bindable Uniforms: 15
- MSAA: 1X
- MSAA: 2X
- MSAA: 4X
- MSAA: 8X

Firstly, AMD has fixed a bug I submitted some time ago about for loop in GLSL shaders. In GPU Caps Viewer, the OpenGL 3 demo, Illuminated torus, uses this kind of loop in the shader:

for (i=0; i<numLights; ++i)
{
  LightsDir[i] = vec3(lightsPosition[i].xyz - vVertex.xyz);
}

where numLights is an uniform variable. In previous versions of Catalyst, the use of a variable in the for loop led to a crash. That’s why I added a batch file in GPU Caps Viewer called Start_Disable_OpenGL3_Torus_Radeon_Fix.bat. By default GPU Caps Viewer uses with Radeon, a GLSL shader with a hardcoded number of lights in the loop. This batch file allows to use the real shader with the variable in the loop. This is a really nice news.

ATI Catalyst 10.2 and OpenGL 3 demo

Catalyst 10.2 adds 3 new OpenGL extensions compared to Catalyst 10.1:

  • GL_ARB_blend_func_extended – not yet documented – Increadible: an ARB extension that is not documented and even NVIDIA does not expose yet this extension…
  • GL_ARB_fragment_coord_conventions: This extension provides alternative conventions for the fragment coordinate XY location available for programmable fragment processing. Also exposed by NVIDIA (see HERE).
  • GL_EXT_texture_buffer_object_rgb32: not yet documented and not exposed by NVIDIA ForceWare

Two new non-ATI OpenGL extensions that are not exposed by NVIDIA. This is a rather good sign. The complete list of the 181 OpenGL extensions exposed by Catalyst 10.2 (under Windows 7 64-bit) is available in the forum HERE.


OpenCL Support

I also installed the latest OpenCL SDK to quickly check the OpenCL support.

ATI Catalyst 10.2 and OpenCL support


The support of OpenCL is ok and all demos ran fine. See HERE for OpenCL detailed report.

It’s the first time I didn’t encounter problem to enable OpenCL support on Radeon. The latest ForceWare 196.34 were installed on the system without perturbing OpenCL support on Radeon.




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