ATI has recently divulged some information on their upcoming Catalyst drivers and announced a plethora of new features to be implemented in the coming months. These improvements and new features include significant OpenGL support and optimization, CrossFire support for OpenGL applications running on Vista, HD DVD and Blu-Ray support for the 64-bit version of Vista, and eventually the introduction of MSAA adaptive anti-aliasing. AMD has not committed to release dates for these features but says we can expect to see them show up in catalyst releases over the next few months with the goal of having them all implemented by May.
Today I was able to speak with Terry Makedon, the head of software development for ATI/AMD; basically the man to hit up with Catalyst questions. He shared several interesting notes with me that I will discuss below. First though, let's review what ATI's Catalyst team was able to get right and what was left out in our first look at gaming performance under Windows Vista. All of the DX9 titles we tested worked very well and showed performances very similar to drivers we used in Windows XP; a great achievement so early in the game. However, the OpenGL support in the 7.1 Catalyst driver had some performance issues; the initial problem of Prey not running at all was fixed with a slight installer change. There was also no support at all for CrossFire configurations and OpenGL applications. In all, those two issues were the worst we found in our testing of the Catalyst 7.1 Vista driver; but how would ATI's software team address these issues and the future of DX10?