AMD to stop monthly Catalyst driver updates

AMD, and before them ATI, had the practice of releasing new Catalyst drivers for its Radeon graphics cards at least once a month, with special driver updates as needed. That era is apparently done with at AMD. In a post on its game blog today, the company announced it would no longer update the Catalyst drivers every single month.

AMD didn't go into too much detail in explaining the change, saying, "We will still continue with the Catalyst naming convention; Catalyst: Year.Month., You just won’t see a new driver every single month. We are confident that this will only benefit the end user; you’ll only need to upgrade to a new Catalyst driver, when it makes sense."

Of course, AMD's main rival in the PC graphics space, NVIDIA, also releases new graphics drivers when the time is right and doesn't have a set schedule for doing so.

The blog post also announces that the beta version of AMD's Catalyst 12.6 drivers is now available to download. The company has also launched a new issue reporting form for people who experience problems with new Catalyst driver updates. AMD states, "This is not just a check-box for us – we take these reports very seriously. We will review every report posted here and investigate every issue encountered."

Source: AMD Game Blog

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"This is not just a check-box for us - we take these reports very seriously. We will review every report posted here and investigate every issue encountered."


lol, they can't get the drivers right for the newest cards and they soon forget about cards older then the previous generation. Why can't I buy a video card and have it work correctly as long as I own it.

End of an era. The old hands will remember the first Catalyst driver appearing in mid-2002 for the famous Radeon 9700, with monthly updates soon coming afterwards. Before that, ATI's drivers were buggy and rarely updated. Catalyst put ATI back on the map.

The 9700 and Catalyst were ATI's re-emergence in the gamer market. Perhaps now, with their Catalyst Application Profiles (CAP) and overall improved driver/OS stability, a monthly driver just isn't necessary anymore.

The problem with AMD is Crossfire drivers.. It's sucks, for the 6 months i owned two 5850, i lost HDMI audio twice and lost the ability to control overscan once + all the problems i had in my games. I switched to Nvidia and just recently sold my 460 SLI, 1 only had 1 problem in 1 game with this setup over the years...

way to go AMD now you can fix all the things that are borked and at the same time bork all the things that work so way to treat your premium customers F@#%&N Idiots

For me the decision is even easier as I'll want cuda for Adobe acceleration. Which with CS6, you need all the extra horsepower you can get.

I don't understand what is the big deal.

In fact it's a very good decision. I personally update my drivers once every season. It always makes me laugh to see people blaming drivers but updating them on a regular basis while the current one installed in their PC work perfectly. Don't fix what is not broken. I update my drivers only when the one installed in my PC doesn't work properly with a new game i just bought which is usually once every season at the most.

No point making new drivers every month. Make them when they are needed.

Oh and BTW ATI drivers are not half as bad as nVidia fans tell they are. But since they never really used ATI gpu they can't know ... i personally had many nVidia and ATI gpu. I buy the best deal don't care which company it is. I had drivers problem with both companies. I tend to agree that nVidia drivers on average are better than ATI drivers but not enough to make me buy nVidia when the best deal is ATI (curently the best deal is nVidia 670 gpu but i did not wait for nVidia answer to the 5850 custom cards which was an outstanding card and i did not regret buying it).

Edited by LaP, Jun 2 2012, 3:36pm :

And this is why AMD/ATI fail.. when you don't produce drivers in the frequency of at least once a month for even simple game releases then you fail the customers.

sava700 said,
And this is why AMD/ATI fail.. when you don't produce drivers in the frequency of at least once a month for even simple game releases then you fail the customers.

Well that's weird. One of my systems has an older ATI HD 3850, drivers are from early last year, and yet it runs the new stuff just fine.

That makes no sense. By far not every (new) game needs its own graphics driver fixes and they're only needed when something doesn't run smoothly, or at all, between a new game and drivers, or if a patch could bring a performance improvement. Nobody should have to update any sort of driver as frequently as once a month.

sava700 said,
And this is why AMD/ATI fail.. when you don't produce drivers in the frequency of at least once a month for even simple game releases then you fail the customers.

sava700 said,
And this is why AMD/ATI fail.. when you don't produce drivers in the frequency of at least once a month for even simple game releases then you fail the customers.

Has to be trolling.

I'm glad, no point in doing this monthly if they don't really have a set of fixes worth packaging up at that time for the stable release.

arbitrary once per month releases aren't good for anybody, but nvidia seems to release MORE often than once per month on average, which as an enthusiast I am perfectly fine with.

So, since now most updates will be marked as beta. So, simply saying - they are rejecting in support. Since most drivers will be beta there is no ask from them for any problems...

Sadly, drivers are the reason I gave up on ATI several years ago (I had a Radeon 9800, so this must have been about 2004). I remember playing Knights of the old Republic and a particular level got incredibly bad performance, essentially breaking the game. Every month a new driver would come out and the release notes would state that said driver had fixed this exact problem, but it never did. I eventually upgraded to a Geforce 6800 and immediately the problem went away.

It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that to install an ATI driver, I had to completely uninstall the previous one, reboot, then install the next one and reboot again or I'd have endless crashing issues. With nvidia, I've never had an issue with installing over the top.

I know that's anecdotal and you really should perform a clean install each time, but there you have it.

Kushan said,
Sadly, drivers are the reason I gave up on ATI several years ago (I had a Radeon 9800, so this must have been about 2004). I remember playing Knights of the old Republic and a particular level got incredibly bad performance, essentially breaking the game. Every month a new driver would come out and the release notes would state that said driver had fixed this exact problem, but it never did. I eventually upgraded to a Geforce 6800 and immediately the problem went away.

It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that to install an ATI driver, I had to completely uninstall the previous one, reboot, then install the next one and reboot again or I'd have endless crashing issues. With nvidia, I've never had an issue with installing over the top.

I know that's anecdotal and you really should perform a clean install each time, but there you have it.

they might have been bad in the old days but i have not had a single issue with my Radeon 5670 512MB card and i just install driver updates by running the main exe program and it installs and everything is fine.

p.s. i only owned a 3DFX Voodoo 4MB card (i.e. 1996-1997) and after that i was all NVIDIA (Geforce 2 GTS 32MB/Geforce 3 ti200 64MB/Geforce 7900GT 256MB) up until the year 2010 when i got my current Radeon 5670 card.

ThaCrip said,

they might have been bad in the old days but i have not had a single issue with my Radeon 5670 512MB card and i just install driver updates by running the main exe program and it installs and everything is fine.

p.s. i only owned a 3DFX Voodoo 4MB card (i.e. 1996-1997) and after that i was all NVIDIA (Geforce 2 GTS 32MB/Geforce 3 ti200 64MB/Geforce 7900GT 256MB) up until the year 2010 when i got my current Radeon 5670 card.

That is almost the exact same upgrade path from my Voodoo card I have a 5870 now and the drivers install and work fine - my brother has much more problem with his Nvidia dirvers...

Kushan said,
Sadly, drivers are the reason I gave up on ATI several years ago (I had a Radeon 9800, so this must have been about 2004). I remember playing Knights of the old Republic and a particular level got incredibly bad performance, essentially breaking the game. Every month a new driver would come out and the release notes would state that said driver had fixed this exact problem, but it never did. I eventually upgraded to a Geforce 6800 and immediately the problem went away.

It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that to install an ATI driver, I had to completely uninstall the previous one, reboot, then install the next one and reboot again or I'd have endless crashing issues. With nvidia, I've never had an issue with installing over the top.

I know that's anecdotal and you really should perform a clean install each time, but there you have it.

Heh you think that is bad, try having to edit nearly each and every msi file in package to enable installing on windows server. (I'll grant them a year or two later they eventually fixed 75% of them but still had to edit a couple a few months back). That said after completing that hell they've been fine.

Edited by knighthawktfc, Jun 2 2012, 1:03pm :

I'm still on something old like 11.9 or something like that. As far as video drivers go, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And since I don't have a bleeding edge card (just a midrange 5770 for now) then I don't really get anything out of always updating my drivers.

GP007 said,
I'm still on something old like 11.9 or something like that. As far as video drivers go, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And since I don't have a bleeding edge card (just a midrange 5770 for now) then I don't really get anything out of always updating my drivers.

go to guru3d and download the 8.97 betas you'll be amazed at how well they work and you'll get a speed boost in a lot of games

I only have 2 x HD5770's in my machine aswell so far I've yet to find a game that is forcing me to upgrade

Jub Fequois said,
I wish they would just release when they have something new or fixed. My 7970 has been a huge pain in the behind...

You have it in the wrong slot ...

Sounds like a good plan. Spending resources trying to come out with drivers every single month whether they were needed or not never really made much sense.

this will probably be better as i think those monthly updates are somewhat pointless as with driver updates now being only occasionally it will help people i think in that they won't have to update their drivers nearly as often for new games basically.

to me something like maybe 3-4 updates a year, along with possible fixes when really needed in between, sounds about right.