As part of an ongoing feature for AlienBabelTech, this editor is comparing the performance of 25 benchmarks with the current 11.9 WHQL monthly Catalyst driver release versus the one from August (Catalyst 11.8). Catalyst 11.9 was released last week and we naturally ask ourselves if there are any performance improvements for the Radeon 6000 series in games.
Beside testing with a single HD 6970, we are also going to compare HD 6970 CrossFire performance with the latest Catalyst drivers. We are also testing the HIS HD 6770 – it is identical in performance to a HD 5770 clocked at the same speeds, so it serves double-duty for HD 67×0 and 57×0 series.
We are using our overclocked Core i7-920 at 3.8 GHz and we use the same settings for the HD 6770 as in our last Catalyst 11-8 performance evaluation. However, we use higher settings to test the HD 6970 and HD 6970 CrossFire as in our last major evaluation, SLI Versus CrossFire, Part 2. The percentage of change from upgrading the drivers should remain about the same for any capable CPU platform.
We are going to test Catalyst 11.9 against Catalyst 11.8 using our current benchmark suite of 22 games plus three synthetic benchmarks, Heaven 2.0, 3DMark 11 and Vantage. Our testing platform uses Windows 7 64-bit and Intel Core i7-920 at 3.80 GHz, 6 GB DD3, and our video cards are a single HIS HD 6770 and two HD 6970s to represent the Radeons.
The HD 6970 is tested at higher settings and resolutions generally than the midrange HD 6770 as noted on the charts. All of our games are tested at two of these three resolutions: 2560×1600, 1920×1080, 1680×1050, with 16xAF, and we use DX11/10/10.1 whenever possible with an emphasis on DX11 games.
Let’s get right to the test configuration, the driver release notes and the tests.