ATI Introduces Catalyst Control Center

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Introduction:

ATI Catalyst Control Center

Introduction:

With the recent release of the next generation video card many users were left asking why they are stuck with using old driver packages. Today ATI has made a strong come back with the new Catalyst Control Center. This new UI (User Interface) replaces the current ATI Control Panel that we have all come to use when making adjustments for our video card settings for video play back or gaming.

For a veteran gamer, the Control Panel is sufficient for everyday usage, you know where all the settings are, and how best to tweak them. But while this system has worked fine for 10% of ATI’s customers, that has still left a lot of people who either don’t understand what all the settings control, or who don’t want to have to be hunting through everything, tweaking every imaginable setting, then having to launch another program or game to see the affects.

To make things easier for everyone, ATI has unleashed the CATALYST Control Center on the general public. Promising a much easier to navigate Interface, new features, and easy customization, ATI hopes not only to give end users a easier way to manage their video/ gaming experience, but also to reduce the amount of time they spend on tech support.

So, without further ado, I bring you the new and improved ATI UI, the ATI Control Center.

Specifics

Redesigned user interface

  • Using the CATALYST Control Center is incredibly easy
  • Real-time previews immediately show users the impact of adjusting settings
  • Task-oriented wizards guide users step-by-step
  • Significantly reduces the need for customer support  

Significant new features

  • New features will improve the end-user experience and increase productivity:
  • Profile Manager
  • Hotkey Manager
  • Automatic Updates
  • Application Manager
  • New video and color controls 

Customization

  • The CATALYST Control Center can be customized at a number of different levels:
  • Insert a logo
  • Design a new skin
  • Design a new feature
  • Design a new UI

High level architecture

  • Microsoft’s .NET framework allows customers to easily create plug-in extensions
  • Microsoft’s next OS, Longhorn is based on the .NET framework

Feature roadmap Full product support

  • Currently the CATALYST Control Center only supports the R3XX and R4XX family of products
  • A Future release of the CATALYST Control Center will support the entire line of RADEON based ASICs for the Desktop, Mobile , and Workstation families
  • The CATALYST Control Center will be able to update itself and the CATALYST driver through ATI’s servers
  • Customer specific versions of the CATALYST Control Center can be updated through customer servers

Simplified 3D settings

  • Real-time 3D previews educate users on the benefits of enabling 3D features such as anti-aliasing
  • Simplified controls -  most 3D settings no longer require users to know if their games use Direct3D or OpenGL

Video configuration

  • Pre-defined profiles will configure video settings to best match the user’s environment
  • Enable Full-screen video on the secondary display with Theater Mode

As you can see from the specifics, ATI has been very busy upgrading the Control Panel’s features. Let’s see how what effect this new interface has on us and our experience with using it.

Requirements & Installation

My first experience with the Control Center was a little hectic. Just recently I upgraded to Windows XP SP2, and have had intermittent problems with various programs. What makes that experience more frustrating is that the problems for the most part haven’t had a pattern at all; one time a program works flawlessly, the next it doesn’t want to work at all. After loading the Control Center, it didn’t want to open — it continuously giving me error messages and crashed to the desktop with SP2 installed on Windows XP. After conversing with Nate, we figured out that SP2 does not include windows .NET v1.1, which is required to run the ATI Control Center. If any of you managed to get a hold of this and you are getting a CLI error, it is because the .NET framework is not installed. After going to the Microsoft download site and installing .NET v1.1, the Control Center fired right up without a hitch.
Besides the installation of the .NET Framework, the install process is no different from that of a regular ATI driver. ATI told us that initially the CCC will be a separate download from the Catalyst driver package. The main reason for this is because the new CCC only currently only supports DX9 cards (meaning 9500′s and above). If you are running an older card do not worry as ATI will add support for these cards in two to three months.

After downloading all the right things the program installed and ran without any issues on Windows XP SP1A & SP2!

  • Catalyst 4.8 & Catalyst Control Center = 42mb (Grab Here)
  • Microsoft .net Version 1.1 = 24mb (Grab Here)
  • Total Download Size = 66mb

As you can tell 66mb of data needs to be downloaded to run the latest driver and the new Catalyst Control Center (CCC). While many of our readers have broadband, we know a good portion of you overseas and in rural America are still on dialup.

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