AMD Catalyst Omega 14.12 Driver Performance with Frame Times in CrossFire

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AMD Catalyst Omega 14.12 Driver Performance

AMD Catalyst Omega Driver Suite

AMD worked on the Catalyst Omega Driver (Catalyst 14.12) that was released earlier this week for nearly six months. These new drivers bring new features, a ton of bug fixes and of course the usual performance and quality improvements that gamers expect from each new driver release. AMD put so much time and effort into these new special edition drivers that they wanted to name this something different to help them stand out from the crowd.  We figured the least we could do is take a look at the performance of the the new Catalyst Omega driver versus that of the previous non-beta driver release, which would be Catalyst 14.9.

AMD Omega Performance Improvements

AMD gave Legit Reviews a slide deck that showed that they had improved performance by up to 19% on the AMD Radeon R9 290X video card since it was released. This is great and all, but comparing Catalyst 14.12 drivers to Catalyst 13.12 drivers is a bit of a stretch as more than a year of time has passed. We asked AMD for performance numbers between the AMD Catalyst Omega drivers and the latest non-beta driver release (Catalyst 14.9) and we were not given that information. This is rather unusual and after doing this for 12 years we figured it might be worth a closer look as there might not be a significant performance increase between the latest build and Catalyst Omega.

AMD Frame Pacing Improvements

We’ll be using a pair of AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB reference cards for benchmarking so we can also take a look at the frame pacing enhancements that AMD has claimed to have improved for dual graphics users. Frame-pacing issues have become a concern to both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire multi-GPU users in recent years. AMD has continued developing frame-pacing enhancements and there are many improvements in the Catalyst Omega drivers that should bring a smoother gameplay experience to gamers with a multi-GPU setup. It was explained to us that the AMD Catalyst Omega driver provides more consistent frame times, with smaller differences in render time between subsequent frames, and this results in a smoother, more enjoyable gaming experience. AMD also informed Legit Reviews they they picked 15 popular game titles and improved the frame pacing on them. We once again asked multiple times for the list of the 15 game titles that were optimized, but was not given that list. AMD did mention in their presentation that that Batman Arkham Origins, Sniper Elite 3, Tomb Raider and the Metro Series were part of the titles that were improved. We figured that this is something that we could test on our own, so we tested game titles like Batman Arkham Origins and Metro Last Light that we know has enhancements and then game titles like Battlefield 4, Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 that weren’t mentioned.

Let’s take a look at what we found out!

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  • sina

    hi I have a problem laptop asus n551zu switch the graphics card in the game I’ve got through the catalyst controll center. High performance to some, but not change

  • Ry

    Comparison vs 970 please including frame delay.

  • vammaane

    can someone tell what would be fps in dayz standalone with i7-4790k and gtx 970
    (i know that dayz is very badly optimised)

    • Amet Monegro

      search in youtube…

  • vishalsaw

    guys mine is a radeon r9 m265x ( or 8850m ).. its not getting installed. says : “watchdog error ” like that ….. what to do…in the middle of the installation my lappy hangs up. and then all display drivers r gone……i have to reinstall alll of them(even intel).. plz guys any help…. and also will this upgrade be helpful ???

    • Taher Ajnawala

      i think its a compatibility issue with your laptop.
      This was mentioned at the driver update page for Catalyst mobility drivers.


      If you experience difficulty while using the AMD Catalyst Mobility driver(s), we recommend reverting to the driver provided by your notebook vendor. Please contact your notebook vendor for their most recent graphics drivers.

  • Millek

    Test AMD CPU to see the added boost from that please, both the FX and the K series if you could, it is AMD driver after all and using Intel gives less of a complete picture.

    • Amet Monegro

      AMD says about (up to) 15% performance with AMD multicore CPU (asumming AMD FX Vishera processors), but no reviews for this driver with these processors -_- im really deceptioned, but im trying make that http://www.madboxpc.com do our review with an AMD FX-9590 processor but we no have AM3+ 220w motherboards for now :/ we are searching…

  • Biones

    Did anyone tested this driver with a AMD cpu. I have a 8350 and got great improvements after install it.

  • BACE

    Nice review! but why you didn’t tested AC Unity ? I have heard and saw myself that the game got massive improvement from Omega drivers.

    • Khalid Abrar Aji

      Review AC Unity in amd’s graphic is not fear, ’cause the game is optimize on nividia….

      • sassafras15

        they didn’t review AC:Unity probably because of the performance issues still lingering. they’d probably do it once the issues are properly fixed to get consistent results.

  • ElBloguero

    So far, the very best value/performance card is 970 GTX. IMO.

    • Loganvz

      You can’t make a statement like that and then say ‘IMO’.
      It either is or it isn’t…
      The 290X and 970 have very competitive performance, with the 290X pulling out very slightly ahead, just buy the one that’s for sale at the cheapest price or fits your power consumption needs.

      • evolucion8

        The higher the resolution, the more the R9 290X distance itself from the GTX 970.

    • Savo

      290X is better than 970. 290X is 4% faster(with the new driver like 6-7%) while it consumes 14% more power than 970. When it comes to price 290X is 11% cheaper than 970. On Newegg Gigabyte GTX 970 is 370$ and Gigabyte R9 290X is 330$. So with atleast 4% more performance and 11% cheaper 290X takes the upper hand.

      • ScubaDynamo

        Maybe. I would give up 4% of performance for a card that runs silently at idle and considerably quieter under load.

        The 290x is a dreadful card. Way too loud and hot for me.

  • Casecutter

    I wonder how much these improvements work at inducing more boost clock and if there’s an effect on the power consumption. Some of their ability to improve FpS and pacing, could permit them to unlock more Boost.

  • sepi

    r9 280x?

  • Guest

    Far Cry 4 has a crossfire profile now?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      No, AMD has not released a Crossfire profile for Far Cry 4 yet. I updated the Far Cry 4 page to make a larger note of that.

  • Bottoz

    Uh…. Your graphs for BF4 say 1080p, yet the screen shot of settings says 3840×2160. Also, there’s no option to choose between DX11 or Mantle. What version of BF4 did you test?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Mantle was not used. I got lazy and used the screen shots of the test settings that I use for normal video card reviews. All of these tests were done at 1080P.

      • Bottoz

        Thanks for the update. Could you re-test with Mantle? Maybe do a 14.12 Crossfire Mantle vs DX11 review of current BF4?

        • Nathan Kirsch

          The only problem there is I can’t use fraps to record with Mantle. I heard that Raptr was coming out with a benchmark tool that worked on both the DirectX and Mantle API’s, but haven’t used it yet and would obviously have to re-test everything.

        • Bottoz

          You could use perfoverlay.framefilelogenable and use BF4 Frame Time analyzer (google it) for Mantle Benchmarking. Just an option. Thanks for your replies and reviews.

    • Darron Andrews

      my version shows selection of mantle or directx11. see if origin updated yours

    • Aziz Bouzailoul

      il faux lancé le jeux en x64 pour pouvoir sélectionner les options graphique!!

  • Blockchains

    Why are you only testing 1080p with crossfire? Many of us with crossfire setups get these setups so we can handle higher resolutions, so this is if course where many of us would be most interested to see results. (I’d imagine that slight microstutters at 150 fps is less perceptible than microstutters at 60 fps while driving higher resolutions)

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Honestly, when I started testing I used Catalyst 14.9 first and I was only getting dropping down to 20FPS at 1080P. I went to 1080P to keep things simple and it is the most used resolution by gamers worldwide. Running that on the 4K is a bit silly, I agree, but the point here was to take an in-depth look at the differences between drivers. I can see the microstutters at 1080p (FarCry 3 big time when the frame time spikes and that is why I used that older title as I know where the stutters usually are), so they aren’t gone at higher frame rates. I do agree they might be less perceptible though to many.