Product: AMD Radeon HD 6990
Company: AMD
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: March 15th, 2011
AMD Catalyst Software

Catalyst 11.4 brings the first of the promised updates to the revamped Catalyst Control Center unleashed in Q4 2010. The early preview driver not only offers a laundry list of performance improvements for the new HD 6000 series cards over previous drivers, but show AMD's attention to features too.

Vision Engine Control Center

As part of the Vision branding and new Fusion strategy, systems equipped with an AMD processor and chipset, plus AMD graphics get the Vision Engine Control Center (VECC). This includes Fusion APU based systems and mobility systems with PowerXpress integrated and discrete AMD GPUs. VECC is a tweaked and warmed over CCC 2, controlling processor and system aspects as well as the traditional graphics properties and features.

Systems with a non-AMD chipset or processor, you're stuck with the old Catalyst Control Center title, for managing AMD graphics hardware. If you're running and AMD FirePro or FireStream processor, you get the Catalyst Pro Control Center. Delving deeper, it's just a rename of CCC and nothing new for system control is here yet. Hopefully we'll see AMD Overdrive and AMD System Monitor merged into VECC/CPCC/CCC.

Eyefinity setup is now easier, thanks to the newly revamped Eyefinity group creation task. It is less confusing and faster to create a single large surface of your displays, with bezel compensation.

Catalyst Update Notifications

Catalyst update notifications are now included. Every two weeks, VECC/CPCC/CCC will check with AMD for published display driver updates. In general this will be useful most users, to allow them to track updates and apply them. Enthusiasts will likely already have the driver from leaks published in forums, or be using Hotfix or Preview drivers that aren't detected by the update notifier. The feature really benefits those users whom spend little time on system maintenance and chasing down updates and just want things to work.

Tessellation Controls

Catalyst 11.2 introduced AMD Tessellation control. This allows AMD to create optimized gameplay settings for titles by capping tessellation factor - the number of subdivisions a poly is sliced by. The control offers three options, AMD optimized (default), application controlled, and user controlled. Currently there are no title profiles, but AMD has created this control to offer flexibility for user-tuning and future game profiles. AMD's stated intent is provide the maximum visual benefit of the DirectX 11 feature while minimizing the performance impact.

Image Filtering Quality

Catalyst 11.2 changed how the texture filtering options in Catalyst AI operate. The default 'Quality' setting has changed to match the un-optimized 'High Quality' setting except for one: smart detection of when to apply tri-linear filtering vs. bilinear filtering. The Quality mode limits tri-linear filtering to apply only on areas on and around mip-map transitions, reverting to bilinear in other areas of the texture being filtered. This applies higher quality filtering at texture mip-map changes that can visually benefit from it. As previously, setting Catalyst AI texture filtering quality to 'High Quality' disables any and all driver optimizations.

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