AMD Abandons Driver Support For Non-GCN Radeons
If you're using an AMD Radeon graphics card that's older than three-years-old and you've been looking for an excuse to upgrade, this might be it. AMD has just updated its support page to inform us that all non-GCN (Graphics Core Next) Radeons will immediately cease to be supported.
Affected products include all models in the HD 5000 and HD 6000 series, and models below the HD 8400 and HD 7600 in their respective lineups. This ultimately means that the oldest supported Radeon card going forward will be the HD 7970, released the second week of January, 2012. It's not much of a comparison given AMD's move is understandable thanks to the major architecture shift that was GCN, but NVIDIA's currently oldest supported product is the GeForce GTX 480, released in March of 2010.
AMD notes that the sole reason for this move is to pour all of its resources into GCN-based cards, and that's a great thing for Radeon gamers. AMD's drivers haven't been the best-regarded in recent years for their stability, so with a more singular focus, we should begin to see the company's drivers become more refined than ever.
In fact, we've already seen the beginning of some great things to come. Yesterday, the company released its Crimson driver, which sports an overhauled interface that's really nice to use and look at. While aesthetics are not going to matter to everyone, it's clear to see that AMD is still taking its driver development extremely seriously, which can help instill a lot more faith in those who choose to go with the Red team.
While it's unfortunate for those who are using older cards no longer supported, AMD has given you a nice parting gift: it's providing an "as-is" Crimson driver, so you too can take advantage of the new interface.