We just got off the phone with AMD where we were told some shocking news that we thought we would share with you. AMD is is going to stop issuing monthly WHQL Catalyst Drivers as the company behind Radeon HD graphics cards has come up with a new dynamic release schedule for drivers. This is the first major change in the Cataylst driver release program in over five years, so it came as quite a shock to us. Instead of monthly releases, AMD says that the company will focus on issuing drivers when they are needed. For example if a new game comes out and they need to release a new driver they will just do it when it is ready. AMD is calling this a dynamic Catalyst release schedule as you can see in the presentation slide that we were shown below.
AMD says that this is a good change and will benefit users, but as with anything in life, time will determine that. The AMD Catalyst driver nomenclature will remain the same, so you’ll still see the year and month naming scheme. This new release schedule goes into effect at 4PM ET today, which is when AMD will release Catalyst 12.6 Beta drivers. From the sounds of it AMD will be having more Beta drivers and less WHQL drivers. This new driver release program appears to be comparable to what NVIDIA has been doing for years.
AMD is also going to be giving gamers and end users a new way to report driver bugs by filing out an online form at amd.com/report. That driver bug reporting site will be made live later today and will help AMD get user feedback so the companies driver team can try to make the appropriate fixes.
“With the release of the Catalyst 12.6 Beta driver, AMD would also like to announce that we are moving away from our Monthly Catalyst release plan. Our goal is to ensure that every Catalyst release delivers a substantial benefit to our end users; as we have today with the release of the Catalyst 12.6a Beta. We will still continue with the Catalyst naming convention; Catalyst: Year.Month., You just won’t see a new driver every single month. We are confident that this will only benefit the end user; you’ll only need to upgrade to a new Catalyst driver, when it makes sense.” – AMD PR