AMD to Throttle Back Support for Pre-HD 5000 Series Graphics Cards
Short and to the point, AMD is moving to a quarterly Catalyst release schedule for GPUs prior to the Radeon HD 5000 Series. The new schedule will kick off with the upcoming 8.97 based driver in May 2012. For newer videocards, AMD will continue to roll out monthly Catalyst driver updates.
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"Our main development and testing efforts will now be focused on the AMD Radeon HD 5000 and later products," AMD stated in an email. "This is the best use of our resources, as the AMD Radeon HD 5000, AMD Radeon HD 6000, AMD Radeon HD 7000, and future products have the greatest potential for further performance and feature enhancements.
"Also with regards to Windows 8 support for the AMD Radeon HD 2000, 3000, 4000 Series of products; the In-the-box AMD Graphics driver that ships with Windows 8 will include support for the AMD Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 Series, and it will support the WDDM 1.1 driver level features. The AMD Catalyst driver for Windows 8 will only include support for WDDM 1.2 support products (AMD Radeon HD 5000 and later)."
If you own an older Radeon HD graphics card, what this boils down to is a staggered release schedule every three months, and those updates will mostly focus on "resolving application specific issues and critical" fixes. According to AMD, these older cards have already "been optimized to their maximum potential from a performance and feature perspective."