AMD Catalyst 14.6 beta released, Windows 8.0 support dropped

AMD have released a new beta version of their Catalyst video card drivers that offers increased performance but completely drops support for Windows 8.0.

Version 14.6 beta, obtainable later today from AMD's website, continues the company's trend of regularly releasing fixes and improvements for their graphics cards for enthusiasts to use and test before a final edition is released.

Today's release, much like Nvidia did earlier, is primarily aimed at improving GPU performance in the most modern of games. According to AMD, for example, performance in Watch Dogs, is up by 25% at 1080p with the new drivers and up by 28% when running at 2K 2560x1600.

Updates to AMD's Mantle technology which facilitates direct access to the graphics hardware seem to be the primary focus, as is major improvement regarding the Eyefinity multi-monitor mode. There is support for monitors of different sizes, shapes and resolutions and the user has the choice of three different modes - fill, fit and expand.

These improvements will be welcomed by users of multi-monitor setups but if you are currently running Windows 8.0 you will need to grab the free 8.1 update from the Windows Store first before installing the drivers. 

AMD has unexpectedly discontinued support for this OS early and the necessary files for compatibility have been removed entirely from the driver descriptors. When asked by LegitReviews why 8.0 is no longer supported, the company said

"AMD choose to focus our development efforts on the latest version of Windows 8, which is available to all users as a free update."

Increased support has been offered to users of another operating system though, as the beta drivers are fully compatible with the latest version of Ubuntu, 14.04. The installer for Linux systems has also been streamlined to create a more intuitive, user-friendly driver installation process.

If you are installing the latest beta edition of AMD Catalyst's graphics drivers today then let us know what changes you see in terms of performance and stability in the comments below. It is worth noting that the drivers are not actually showing up on AMD's download page yet but they are expected to be present by the end of today as AMD formally announced the update this morning.

Remember, however, that these drivers are described as 'beta' and as such compatibility is not ensured or guaranteed. If something goes wrong, AMD won't necessarily cover you.

Source & Image: AnandTech

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google may expand to home-security, Dropcam acquisition rumored

Next Story

Microsoft Chairman: CEO Satya Nadella still working on company's new long-term strategy

37 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

From the beta page....

Last Updates: 5/27/2014
Article Number: RN-WIN-B14.6
​ ​​
- Starting with AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta, AMD will no longer support Windows 8.0 (and the WDDM 1.2 driver)
- Users should upgrade (for Free) to Windows 8.1 to take advantage of the new features found in the AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta
- AMD Catalyst 14.4 will remain available for users who wish to remain on Windows 8
- A future AMD Catalyst release will allow for the WDDM 1.1 (Windows 7 driver) to be installed under Windows 8.0 for those users unable to upgrade to Windows 8.1

Curious , Windows 8.1 is that much different from 8.0 that architecture design requires separate drivers? Wonder how different it actually is.

It's not the architecture. It's just like how they don't support Windows 7 RTM either, and yet it's still the same OS. It was superseded by later builds, drops out of support relatively quickly once a service pack/update rolls around.

ObiWanToby said,
Curious , Windows 8.1 is that much different from 8.0 that architecture design requires separate drivers? Wonder how different it actually is.

Probably not. They probably don't want to have to test it separately anymore.

ObiWanToby said,
Curious , Windows 8.1 is that much different from 8.0 that architecture design requires separate drivers? Wonder how different it actually is.

There are substantial changes even from 8 to 8.1 which allowed for a much more stable driver environment. Such revisions are mostly only common in big OS revisions (7 to 8). Installing previous Windows 8 drivers on some AMD devices could easily lead to BSOD. Something MS was trying to fix after 8.1 was release (yes this was related to internal architecture changes)

FunkyMike said,

There are substantial changes even from 8 to 8.1 which allowed for a much more stable driver environment. Such revisions are mostly only common in big OS revisions (7 to 8). Installing previous Windows 8 drivers on some AMD devices could easily lead to BSOD. Something MS was trying to fix after 8.1 was release (yes this was related to internal architecture changes)

This cannot be stressed enough.

Microsoft not only made changes to the kernel but they made tons of improvements across the board not only on display drivers but other device drivers. One of the major improvements with Windows 8 was native printer drivers.

Most Win 8.0 device drivers are not supported in 8.1 because of the changes that happened.

ObiWanToby said,
Curious , Windows 8.1 is that much different from 8.0 that architecture design requires separate drivers? Wonder how different it actually is.

Windows 8.1 uses WDDM 1.3 while 8.0 is stuck with 1.2, reason for which newer drivers are required.

Article Number: RN-WIN-B14.6

​ ​​◾Starting with AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta, AMD will no longer support Windows 8.0 (and the WDDM 1.2 driver)
◾Users should upgrade (for Free) to Windows 8.1 to take advantage of the new features found in the AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta
◾AMD Catalyst 14.4 will remain available for users who wish to remain on Windows 8
◾A future AMD Catalyst release will allow for the WDDM 1.1 (Windows 7 driver) to be installed under Windows 8.0 for those users unable to upgrade to Windows 8

Order_66 said,
But the beta driver still supports vista.

Windows Vista SP1 is still under extended support. Windows 8.0 is dropping out as it was replaced by 8.1... just like Windows 7 RTM is no longer supported because SP1 replaced it. Been like that since the XP days, at least.. XP RTM and SP1 wasn't supported by a fair number of third parties either before XP itself died off. After a service pack/update the previous build has 24 months and then gets dropped, nothing new here.

Max Norris said,

Windows Vista SP1 is still under extended support. Windows 8.0 is dropping out as it was replaced by 8.1.

Windows 8 is less than 2 years old, amd decided to drop 8 but keep vista.

Says it all, really...

Order_66 said,
Says it all, really...

Yes, says you don't know how the lifecycle works ;) 8.0 is unsupported. Vista RTM is unsupported. Windows 7 RTM is unsupported. Take it back further.. a lot of third parties dropped XP RTM and SP1 support by the time SP3 rolled around. See a trend here? Once a service pack/update rolls around, the older versions are on a clock until their support is cut. Been like this for quite a long time.

Order_66 said,

Windows 8 is less than 2 years old, amd decided to drop 8 but keep vista.

Says it all, really...

There's no more reason to still be using 8.0 than there is XP SP1 rather than SP3.

Order_66 said,

Says it all, really...

Actually AMD said all that needed to be said.

"AMD choose to focus our development efforts on the latest version of Windows 8, which is available to all users as a free update."

There's no reason to continue using Windows 8 with 8.1 now available. Continuing to support it only enables further fragmentation which needs to be avoided.

Order_66 said,
With vista SP1 still on extended support, absolutely lol

... and? Vista's EOL doesn't roll around till 2017. Windows 7 is 2020. Windows 8 is 2023. But that's only for the latest versions. Windows Vista, 7 and 8 RTM are all on the fast track to the history pages, just like versions that came before it. Microsoft isn't supporting it, nor should you expect third party support. Not sure which part you're not getting.. are they supposed to completely kill off Vista and back off on their promised support just because 8 is out?

There is virtually no reason for anyone to still be using 8.0 at this point... if you haven't yet upgraded to 8.1.1, then just do it.

Yet a large number of users do run 8.0

The time has really come (and passed) for MS to make 8.1 automatic/forced on Windows Update.

It's just weird how microsoft put it on the Windows Store rather than standard Windows Update & how it doesn't show at all unless you have a ton of pre updates installed.

If AMD is dropping support for Windows 8, one must be reminded that the Enterprise version of Windows 8 cannot be updated from the Store. Windows 8.1 Enterprise requires a complete re-install including all programs. This won't be a problem for most users. I thought I'd mention it as the article quotes AMD as saying (with typo "choose" left in place) "AMD choose to focus our development efforts on the latest version of Windows 8, which is available to all users as a free update." In fact, it is not a free update for all users, just non-Enterprise ones.

seeprime said,
If AMD is dropping support for Windows 8, one must be reminded that the Enterprise version of Windows 8 cannot be updated from the Store. Windows 8.1 Enterprise requires a complete re-install including all programs. This won't be a problem for most users. I thought I'd mention it as the article quotes AMD as saying (with typo "choose" left in place) "AMD choose to focus our development efforts on the latest version of Windows 8, which is available to all users as a free update." In fact, it is not a free update for all users, just non-Enterprise ones.

It doesn't require a reinstall, just go download the enterprise update from the volume license service center.

Enterprise uses basically have a subscription, so they can get the upgrade too. Having said that, I doubt there's (m)any enterprise users running 8.0 and requiring an updated GPU driver.

Eric, is the volume license download a clean install or does it keep all programs and settings? Thanks for your information.

It can keep everything, BUT I tried the update on my machine, and it finished and as soon as I logged in BSoD'd. All drivers and software up to date as far as I could tell. I could NOT update my drivers as mentioned below. I even tried the AMD Driver Clean tool. Nothing worked. I did a clean install off the same disc, and it's been fine.

On a side note, then only reason I tried updating was because my AMD drivers wouldn't install anymore. I tried rolling back as well and they would crash when installing the CCC. CoD:Ghosts kept locking up as well, so I was hoping a driver update would fix, but it didn't....

AMD got one of the crappy and buggy drivers. I wonder if they don't support Win 8 then that means they are not going to support Win 7 as well. I think they will be then catering only 6% market of Win 8.1 and out of that how many will be really running AMD card. What a lazy company. Not surprised Intel keeps beating them to pulp.

Their drivers are perfectly stable, mine crash substantially less than my nVidia drivers used to. They're dropping Windows 8 because 8.1 is a free update and will be rolling out free to all 8.0 users. They won't drop Windows 7 support.

Why would you even think that? Windows 7 will be supported for a very long time.

Windows 8.0 doesn't need to be supported anymore. 8.1 is a free update.

I've nothing against ATI/AMD, but tried a Radeon recently (after a few years with Nvidia) and had to let it go because of the drivers. The card worked fine under Linux, but Windows drivers kept surprising me every day.

This makes sense, especially if you're testing beta drivers, it would be good to have the most up-to-date version of Windows 8, which is 8.1U1.