Are ATI drivers any good these days?

ShawnD1

Lifer
May 24, 2003
15,987
2
81
I had a Radeon 7200 and a Radeon 9600, and my experience was that ATI drivers were absolutely horrible at the time. They sometimes would refuse to install because it didn't detect the card, or updating the driver would cause a massive drop in frame rate (original Counter-Strike went from a solid 60fps to maybe 20fps after updating the 7200 drivers). For the past couple of years, I've been sticking with Nvidia cards just because I like the drivers so much.

Right now the 4870 has my attention, but I really need some feedback about the drivers. Are the drivers any good? Has ATI fixed those issues where it says the card doesn't exist? Are there still wild discrepancies between driver versions such as getting 20fps with driver A then 60fps with driver B then 40fps with driver C?

Aside from whether the drivers actually work or not, do ATI drivers have any neat gimmick features? Example: the Nvidia ones have the option of not scaling the video when the game resolution does not match the desktop resolution, so a game at 1280x800 will appear as a box in the middle of the screen, and the rest of the monitor space is filled with black. Does ATI have something similar?

 

adairusmc

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2006
7,095
76
91
I have been using nvidia for years (since I got rid of my 9800XT), and just recently switched to ATI to run a tri-fire setup. So far I have had no major issues with their drivers, and absolutely no problems so far with cat 8.12's (though the only other version I have run were cat 8.11).

I am not sure about scaling though, as I run everything I can at native res.
 

Qbah

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2005
3,754
10
81
I'm running a HD4870 512MB. No issues what so ever. And ATi cards have the aspect thingie, you can stretch to full, stretch with aspect ratio (bars on opposite sides) or keep the original size with black bars all around it.

The cards are cheap, stable, quiet if somewhat hot (within specs though) and provide excellent performance :)

EDIT: Running with Cat 8.12s
 

solofly

Banned
May 25, 2003
1,421
0
0
Why don't you try it and find out for yourself. I was against ATI drivers until I tried them (again) and now I ain't looking back no more...
 

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
4
0
I have been very happy with the 8.11 and 8.12 Cats with my 4850, and the 8.9 and 8.10s with my 3450 before that.

None of the problems you describe, drivers seem very stable and my admittedly limited but good mix of old and new games all run as expected.

Even when I had my 9800 pro I never experienced any of the issues you describe, sounds like hardware/software problems rather than specific driver bugs to me (although I understand ATI drivers were somewhat useless back in the old days, and my first ATI card was a 9800 pro, so you may be referring to your experience with your 7200).

EDIT: I ran Nvidia cards exclusively for about four years between my 9800 pro and buying my new rig a few months ago, seemed comparable in terms of stability to me.
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
I just switched to Vista 64 a few weeks ago, no issues yet in my limited gaming. Under XP everything was perfect. I think most of the issues people do run into are Crossfire bugs.
 

AzN

Banned
Nov 26, 2001
4,112
0
0
I had radeon 7200 vivo and 9700pro in those days. I never had a problem with any of the games I tried. To each their own I suppose.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,069
499
126
I bought a 4850 after years of using Nvidia products.

I had an issue with it detecting and correctly running dual monitors. Then it cant figure out my HDTV. Those were minor and irrelevant to me right now due to the following.

The control center causes blue screens and cant be installed.

I really suggest looking at a slightly more expensive 260 if you dont want to deal with these annoying issues. I am not that impressed with ATI drivers.

I like you tried a 9600 AIW years ago and had nothing but nightmares. My favorite was the install that goofed up and on the next reboot the control center software would spike to 100% CPU useage with a high priority. The only option was to kill the process, uninstall, reboot, reinstall, and hope for the best. So I wasnt happy when my new 4850 exhibited annoying issues and the control center is still shit 5 years later.
 

Mem

Lifer
Apr 23, 2000
21,476
13
81
Originally posted by: Genx87
I bought a 4850 after years of using Nvidia products.

I had an issue with it detecting and correctly running dual monitors. Then it cant figure out my HDTV. Those were minor and irrelevant to me right now due to the following.

The control center causes blue screens and cant be installed.

I really suggest looking at a slightly more expensive 260 if you dont want to deal with these annoying issues. I am not that impressed with ATI drivers.

I like you tried a 9600 AIW years ago and had nothing but nightmares. My favorite was the install that goofed up and on the next reboot the control center software would spike to 100% CPU useage with a high priority. The only option was to kill the process, uninstall, reboot, reinstall, and hope for the best. So I wasnt happy when my new 4850 exhibited annoying issues and the control center is still shit 5 years later.
I'm using 4870 in Vista x64 and also a lot of games including beta game testing,drivers are solid in my experience and I actually had less issues then Nvidia drivers on my other system,so I disagree with the above comment from Genx87 (which is normal since we all have different experience with both Nvidia and ATI drivers).
Basically they are solid as Nvidia drivers.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
My x1950 Pro AGP ran fine in Windows XP Pro 32-bit. I had trouble with their Linux drivers (choppy when 3D was enabled, certain features lack support, etc.), but that could have been because of it being AGP (even the Windows version had AGP hotfixes, so it was obvious that AGP x1950 cards were not their top driver priority).
 

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
4
0
Originally posted by: Genx87
I bought a 4850 after years of using Nvidia products.

I had an issue with it detecting and correctly running dual monitors. Then it cant figure out my HDTV. Those were minor and irrelevant to me right now due to the following.

The control center causes blue screens and cant be installed.

I really suggest looking at a slightly more expensive 260 if you dont want to deal with these annoying issues. I am not that impressed with ATI drivers.

I like you tried a 9600 AIW years ago and had nothing but nightmares. My favorite was the install that goofed up and on the next reboot the control center software would spike to 100% CPU useage with a high priority. The only option was to kill the process, uninstall, reboot, reinstall, and hope for the best. So I wasnt happy when my new 4850 exhibited annoying issues and the control center is still shit 5 years later.
While your personal experience is certainly valid (and I have no doubt entirely genuine) and exactly the sort of experience the OP was seeking to hear about, your personal problems with ATI drivers != your conclusion that the OP will suffer the same issues if he buys an ATI card.

If everyone, or at least a significant proportion of people using ATI drivers had these problems, then your conclusion would be valid.

Since they don't, your personal machines clearly have/had hardware or software issues exclusive to the ATI drivers which are creating/created the issues you describe.

That may be unpalatable to you, and no doubt it's more convenient to blame the ATI drivers, but your conclusion is quite simply unsupported by most people's experiences.

I personally also struggle to understand people's dislike of CCC, mine works very well and did for my 9800 pro, 3540 and now my 4850. While it was a bit sluggish to open with my old Athlon XP machine, it opens and functions as quickly and smoothly as any other similar control interface with any modern processor.

I can't see any real benefit to either CCC or the nvidia display driver interface these days, comparing my GF's 9600GT installed on an E8500 C2D machine to my 4850 on a Q6600 machine. Of course, the colour scheme comes down to personal taste, and I understand that many on here have a strong preference for either red or green ;)

Just my 2c at the end of the day.


 

Stumps

Diamond Member
Jun 18, 2001
7,125
0
0
they work for me...most of the time, currently had issues with the 8.12's not enabling my crossfire so I went back to 8.11's and I've had no drama's....these days I don't think there is a great deal of difference between ATI's drivers and Nvidia's as far as quality goes...
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
22,070
1,241
126
I've been using ATi boards since around 2002 or so and in my experience their drivers have generally been quite solid and robust.
 

videogames101

Diamond Member
Aug 24, 2005
6,777
18
81
I have never had an issue with Nvidia or ATI drivers in 4 years of video cards from both sides.
 

SSChevy2001

Senior member
Jul 9, 2008
774
0
0
ATi drivers work fine here, but CCC is a POS. I remember even when I had my 9800 I would go out of my way to find the CP version. Now I just use ATT instead.
 

Qbah

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2005
3,754
10
81
The only thing I use CCC for is Display Manager. I run everything at stock. And I run it once I install new Cats, to make sure everything's set at "application controlled". Works just fine for those things :thumbsup:
 

WaTaGuMp

Lifer
May 10, 2001
21,207
2,506
126
Neither company makes perfect drivers, hence why they always continue to release new drivers. ;)
 

Elfear

Diamond Member
May 30, 2004
7,052
570
126
Very happy with ATI drivers. I've used a pretty even mix from both companies over the past 4 years and I haven't had any big problems except for SLI teething issues when it first came out. Those were worked out awhile ago though so I wouldn't hesitate to buy from either company based on driver quality unless you find a problem very specific to your needs.
 

neothe0ne

Member
Feb 26, 2006
197
0
0
Everyone's been giving you glowing impressions, so I'm here to bring a little reality. The Catalyst 8.12 is a POS. There are many users having issues with 4gb of RAM and HD 3870 cards for example, and others can't even install the driver (and are unable to roll back to 8.11 either). You don't need to take more than 5 minutes browsing http://forums.amd.com/game/categories.cfm?catid=279 to get an idea of how much trouble you could be in store for with the 8.12 drivers.

So I would have to say, no, ATI drivers are not any good these days, though they might have been a month ago.
 

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