As we've noted in a few recent NVIDIA driver articles, there are a ton of new games coming out right now, which of course means we'll need to drivers/profiles in some cases to get optimal performance. Today AMD has released their beta Catalyst 14.11.1 drivers, with support for all recent AMD GPUs. Specifically, the new drivers support HD 7000 and newer desktop GPUs, and HD 7000M and newer Enduro notebooks – non-Enduro notebooks apparently are not supported. The actual display driver version is now at 14.301-141105a-177561E. Windows 7 or 8/8.1 are required as well.

In terms of updates, the Release Notes specifically call out performance improvements and CrossFire profile updates for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Assassin's Creed: Unity; the latter just launched this morning (at midnight) while Call of Duty was released last week. The performance improvements apply to both single GPUs and CrossFire configurations, though the only figures we have right now are that Call of Duty has "up to 30% performance increases with FXAA and lower game resolutions". If you're currently playing either game on an AMD GPU, give the drivers a shot and let us know in the comments how it goes.

Source: AMD Drivers

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  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link


    I said USED card from somebody else's hands, not a new card.
    I'm not in US either, I'm in Canada, for your reference - please stop making stupid conclusions without any information. So, if you go to Canadian online flea markets you can get, say, HD 7950 even for $100 and buy it in one day (e.g, I just bought very slightly used R9 290 for $250 two weeks ago, because the seller upgraded to GTX 970, which is cooler, quieter and much less power hungry).
    "For some people $120 is a lot of money" - then maybe it's better to earn a little money, then game (in this exact sequence, not the other way around, as you imply).
  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    BTW, HD 7950 (Tahiti Pro) has WAY more firepower, than A10-7850K APU - 28 CU instead of just 8, plus higher GPU frequencies, plus 3 GB of dedicated GDDR5. It's a completely different device in terms of performance. Overall graphical performance of HD 7950 is 4 times bigger, if not more.
    So, gaming on APU is like riding a bike on a highway, when you can easily rent a car for relatively cheap.
  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I'm not actually trying to be arrogant. Let's put it another way- in terms of price to performance ratio. For $200 you can get new Core i5, and for $100-120 you can find used GTX 760 or HD 7950 or some other comparable discrete gfx card. DDR3 DRAM is the same for both platforms (LGA1150 and FM2+), motherboard cost can also be around the same. 500W PSU is enough for these cards, which is also not a big deal.
    So, all other things being essentially equal, it comes to $320 for Core i5 + gfx card vs $160 for AMD APU. However, you get 4 times more performance in graphics + way faster CPU everywhere for just additional $160 in case of i5 + dedicated gfx card. To me, the choice is obvious, as I said above - and that's why AMD now has less than 20% CPU (including APU) market share.
  • wolfemane - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    HA! The i5 with used 760 is what I originally went after. But we (wife and I) ran into three issues. First, the compact case we wanted didn't allow for the 760 (little larger than the PS4). Going with a case that could increased the cost. Second came down to price. Third came down to the memory we both wanted to use, DDR3-2400.

    I didn't want a console, I've never really been a big fan. My wife didn't want a console because it could'nt do anything she wanted to on the work end of things. The middle ground was a compact PC with the budget of a console. That target was $400 - $500. The i5, vid card, and a compact case that fir that just didn't work. It put the price to high.

    I installed 32gig of 2400 into a clients computer who did a lot of video/photo editing and the difference in performance for him was pretty amazing. But I had a hell of a time getting his board to recognize it (MSI board z87 1150). We finally got it to work, but it was a chore. I read several builds with the FM2+ chipset having no issues with the ram, and sure enough it was recognized without issue when we build our system. All in all we spent $500. Slightly more than the PS4 and much cheaper than ps4+computer and we saved a bit of space in front of our TV. And it performs GREAT for what it is and what it replaces.
  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Yes,support of different RAM on different motherboards is not really a sure thing, unfortunately.

    In my case, however, I have 32 GB of DDR3-2400 RAM (2 identical 2x8 GB G.SKILL CL11 kits) in my aforementioned home desktop, and it works perfectly from the day I built the machine originally (back in June 2013, Z87 build also) with Core i7-4770 @ 3.7-3.9 GHz, and since September 2014 it continues to be rock solid with Core i7-4790K @ 4.3-4.5 GHz on the same M/B. I, however, have Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H M/B. Works like a charm with 32 GB of DDR3-2400. So, it is not LGA1150 Z87 platform itself which is glitchy in terms of memory support as a whole, it's just the particular M/B and/or RAM which caused these issues.
  • wolfemane - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Yeah it turned out to be the board, had to get MSI on the phone and wound up with slightly different timings to get it to work.

    Your system reminds me of my previous desktop. ASUS Sabertooth z77, i7-3770k @ 4.6ghz, 16gig GSkill trident X DDR3-2400, and twin sapphire tri-X OC 290's all on a duel radiator loop. Thing ran solid @ 4.6ghz and the memory worked right out of the package. Wih a little help from a certain OC site I had it at 5.1ghz with a custom fish tank chiller attached.

    Unfortunetly I started getting weird black screens. Turns out both video cards had the non hynix (Elpida I believe)
    memory and was suspect to the problem. After several months of unsuccessful attempts to correct the problem and on the verge of RMA a friend offered a decent amount for the whole system. He didn't care about the vid problems. Couldn't refuse the offer and planned on a similar build to what you have, but decided on other things.
  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Oh! Then you are also a powerful PC enthusiast; I'm taking my words back :)
    I read about these possible Elpida VRAM R9 290(X) problems on the web. Luckily for me, my R9 290, despite being reference hot and noisy unit with "turbine" (centrifugal fan), has Hynix VRAM on it, according to GPU-Z and Hawaii Memory Info. Got it recently (around 3 weeks ago) and it seems to be very stable so far in all the loads I tried (no throttling even at slight overclocking and long 3D loads, but the "turbine" goes to 50+% speed and sounds like an airplane - headphones needed).
    BTW, I had two reference "turbine" HD 4870s in CrossFire in the past (back in 2008-2009) and also had no problems with them (heat and noise is "by design" there, it seems to be not a problem for stability).

    Regarding Elpida memory on R9 290(X), people on the web are saying that maybe downclocking could help (but will hurt performance, of course).
  • wolfemane - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    That is one solution that has helped some. The best recommendation was using GPU tweak to set/limit 2D core and mem clocks to a fixed speed of 450/500. It decreased the number of black screens, but I still had the problem. The Elpida memory is very sensitive to voltage controls. The best way to put it is from our good friends over at

    "This black screen from power transitions occurs because the memory clock jumps up to full speed (1250, etc), while the GPU voltage (which also controls the IMC--this is the problem) is STILL running at idle volts of 0.9xxx). That idle voltage is too low to handle the IMC, which is controlling the memory running at that speed (this is NOT due to defective memory modules btw), and thus the card black screens.

    The fix, is to increase the GPU voltage, which ALSO increases the idle voltage to the IMC as well. (previous generation cards used separate voltages for idle clocks and 3D). This Is purely a bios/design problem. The IMC should NEVER be running at 0.9xx when the memory jumps to full speed, or, alternatively, there should be 'lesser' memory speed jumps, for when a light load is put on the GPU, so the memory doesn't jump from 150 MHz to 1250, but instead it could be 500 MHz for a very light load (like when the core goes from 300 to 450 MHz), etc."

    I used both MSI AB and Sapphire Trixx to adjust my voltage higher but I still had the same issues (both programs I used when I was overclocking originally). I have a feeling that the black screens are due more to my previous overclocking. I was never really concerned about pushing my system (and I pushed it hard) because I never had any of the tail tale signs of problems (excessive heat, stuttering, visual degradation, etc..). At the time I could have pushed the cards just to hard (I was using seti@home in background mode @ 100% GPU usuage while at the same time running gaming/workload benchmarks. Felt it was a better use of the cards than straight up mining) but never saw or recognized the warnings until I was all done and returning the system back to normal everyday use. I was just starting to research writing my own BIOS for the cards to see about controlling all this upon start up instead of after boot when the offer was made. It would have been an interesting project.
  • TiGr1982 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    since we're talking black screens here, I'll tell my R9 290 story now; my specimen of R9 290 seems to be an OEM board for internal AMD office usage, which somehow made its way out of the office - it does not belong to any specific card vendor (Sapphire, XFX etc.), and it has just an AMD graphics sticker on the "turbine". Nothing else - not even "QC pass" on the back. The guy who sold it to me (just in antistatic "silver" plastic bag) said he got it from friends of friends (something like that) who work at AMD (this is all happening in Toronto, Canada, nearby to where AMD graphics (former ATI) division is). So, the card appears to be indistinguishable in terms of hardware from retail units (same AMD C671 marking on the PCB etc.), but initially it had very early and poor ...002... VBIOS (with even different GPU boost frequency state - 937 MHz instead of established 947 MHz). So, guess what - in idle 2D I got an unstable picture with horizontal ripple-like artifacts, followed by black screens, with it (because of poorly defined voltages for power tune in this ...002... VBIOS it had). After researching the issue, two days later I reflashed it with retail ...007... bios from techpowerup. And voila - since then it is completely stable so far (as I wrote here already), but only AFTER this VBIOS reflashing.
    It's all like a "detective story", which was specifically possible due to my location in Toronto, near former ATI office. Very unusual and uncommon experience, I suppose :)
  • wolfemane - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Seriously? You can't see the point? Well here is a decent example.

    I built an APU system because I wanted something between a console and a computer. That is all our budget allowed for. What we came up with was a perfect combination of both worlds. For damn near the same cost of a PS4 or a XB1 I built an APU system that games at higher quality settings than either console, and is a decent computer for all my families needs. My wife does photo editing in multiple screens along with standard online streaming and day to day use (internet, office, email, etc...).

    AMD's APU's really have a nice niche for those that don't have a budget for both a computer and a console. APU systems combine the two at a good price point. I personally can't stand the console wars, but a home built system for $500 that plays games at console quality (and in some cases better) and can handle all aspects of day to day life and professional applications is a perfect fit.

    miniITX - $50 - $70
    7850k -$160
    8gig DDR3-2400 - $80
    2tb Barracuda HD - $75 - $90

    Total: $500

    Throw in a 256gig solid state for the OS and that's another $75 - $100

    System can run most games at console quality, 1080 @ 30-40fps. I can easily hit 60fps when I drop down to 720 with higher quality settings.

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