AMD today announced that after over 1 billion downloads and being around for 13 years, AMD Catalyst drivers are being retired and will be replaced with AMD Radeon Software later this month. This change is a direct result of the formation of the AMD Radeon Technologies Group and their desire to update their software for the coming age of immersive computing. The AMD Radeon Technology Group is headed up by Raja Koduri and this is one of his first projects. AMD Radeon Software introduces exciting new features, bug fixes and an entirely new graphical user interface (GUI). AMD hopes that these changes will help align the companies software for the next era of computing.
AMD also has a new naming nomenclature for their drivers as Radeon Software drivers will consist of major and minor versions. AMD Catalyst is being replaced with ‘Radeon Software’ and after that you’ll have the major version and minor version naming. The driver this year (2015-2016) is called Crimson Edition and the major version will be renamed a different shade of red every year. The minor version represents the year and month of the release just like the current drive program does. The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.11 driver above would mean that it came out in Novmber 2015, which is when the first public build should arrive sometime later this year. AMD Radeon Software Crimson Drivers currently do not require users to register to enable any features.
AMD Catalyst Control Center is being dropped for a brand new user interface called Radeon Settings. AMD Radeon Settings was designed using QT software for super fast start up times and to help create an instinctive user interface that is simple and easy to navigate. AMD Catalyst Control Center was written with .NET software and the design team at AMD thought that was limiting what they could do especially when it comes to application launch times. The move to QT is aimed at Windows platforms right now and and AMD will be discussing broader support at a later time.
AMD Radeon Settings has a new brushed metal design, with quicker than ever startup times, an entirely new layout, game manager, and the addition of new technology features. AMD Radeon Software will open in just 0.6 seconds compared to 8.0 seconds for AMD Catalyst Control Center on a modern gaming PC, so that is one of the biggest things you’ll notice right away.
AMD plans for six WHQL driver updates per year and they are looking for the best frequency to release WHQL certified drivers and the new WHQL driver goal is ever couple months. We haven’t had the chance to try out or demo AMD Radeon Software or AMD Radeon Settings just yet, but the presentation slide above shows the drastically redesigned user interface. AMD has placed key sections along the top of the GUI to make them easy to find. All of the video settings are located in one spot as are display and Eyefinity settings. On the bottom you can find out if updates are available, set preferences and share thoughts on social media.
The new AMD Game Manager allows you to change game settings on the driver side, which means you can set Anti-Aliasing, Texture Filtering and vSync from inside AMD Radeon Settings. This is a little different than say NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience or Raptr as they changes in-game settings. AMD Radeon Software does not change the in-game settings.
AMD Overdrive has been updated and now allows for per-game overclocking profiles for the very first time. Overclockers know that an extreme overclock might work on some game titles, but not all and now you can adjust the clock speeds, power limit, temperature target and even the target fan speed with game/application specific profiles inside AMD Overdrive!
We can’t wait to get our hands on the new Radeon Software Crimson Edition drivers to try out the new features. Check out the video clip below for more information!