By releasing official Catalyst drivers, AMD is able to make sure users of its GPUs have access to all the latest features, such as native 3D support, and optimized screen rotation detection for rotation-aware devices.
Another benefit to using the official drivers is that they are optimized for the platform, and will deliver lower GPU power consumption and improved sleep/resume performance. These features will be of particular interest to those testing the Windows 8 Release Preview on notebooks and other mobile devices that rely on a battery to keep going.
These new drivers feature support for the new WDDM 1.2 (Windows Display Driver Model 1.2) which is new to Windows 8. This new driver model includes preemptive multitasking, reduced memory footprint and improved resource sharing.
There are a number of known issues that are worth bearing in mind if you're planning on taking the Windows 8 Release Preview for a test drive on a system equipped with AMD graphics. These include:
- Radeon HD 7900, Radeon HD 7800, and the Radeon HD 7700 performance in DirectX 9 applications may be slower under Windows 8 vs. Windows 7.
- CrossFireX configurations using the Radeon HD 7900, Radeon HD 7800, and the Radeon HD 7700 in DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 applications may be slower under Windows 8 vs. Windows 7.
- CrossFireX configurations using the Radeon HD 7900, Radeon HD 7800, and the Radeon HD 7700 in OpenCL accelerated applications may cause a BSOD or system hang.
- Blacklight Retribution (DirectX11 mode) played with a CrossFire configuration may result in a system crash when launching the application (32-bit OS only).
- Video corruption can be seen when playing back movie trailers with Metro video player.
As well as support for the Radeon and FirePro line of graphics chips, there's also support for the A-, C- and E-series APU CPU/GPU packages.
The new drivers are available for download here. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 8 are supported.
NVIDIA has yet to update its drivers for the Release Preview. When the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 was released back in February, it took the company two weeks to release the first driver update to support the new platform.
- Windows 8 Release Preview: Microsoft gets its apps together
- Windows 8 includes enhanced multi-monitor support
- Microsoft to charge customers $99 to remove OEM ‘crapware’
- Don’t let Windows 8 upgrade offers lure you into buying a new PC
- No Windows 8 DVD playback will mean increased costs, and consumer confusion
- Windows 8: Media Center functionality likely to cost more
- Microsoft: Here are the four editions of Windows 8
- Bring Metro apps to Windows 7 to encourage developer growth
- Why Windows 8 won’t reimagine hardware that much
- Windows 8: Can we live without the desktop?
- Here’s what’s wrong with Windows 8