Quarterly driver updates planned for older Radeon cards

If you own a PC with an older Radeon graphics card inside, you won't be getting a monthly driver update anymore. Hardware Canucks reports that, according to a statement from AMD, three older versions of the Radeon family of graphics cards will now be getting maintenance-style quarterly driver updates.

The graphics cards that are affected by this move are members of the the AMD Radeon HD 2000, AMD Radeon HD 3000, and AMD Radeon HD 4000 series. The quarterly driver updates for these card will begin in May. AMD says that from that time period, the drivers for those cards will "focus on resolving application specific issues and critical updates."

AMD says the reason for the decision was they felt the older Radeon cards " ... have been optimized to their maximum potential from a performance and feature perspective." Those cards also won't be getting much in the way of Windows 8 support. AMD confirms, " ... the In-the-box AMD Graphics driver that ships with Windows 8 will include support for the AMD Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 Series, and it will support the WDDM 1.1 driver level features."

The graphics cards that belong to the Radeon HD 5000 family, along with the cards that are newer than the 5000 series, will continue to receive monthly Catalyst driver updates as previously announced. Those cards will also be getting more Windows 8 driver support. AMD states, "The AMD Catalyst driver for Windows 8 will only include support for WDDM 1.2 support products."

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Guys, maybe sell 48X0 like me, buy 7770 or better like me and have 2x faster card with DX 11.1 and W8 support - 80W at stress.. like me

7770 OC have performance similar to 4890...

Those cards also won't be getting much in the way of Windows 8 support. AMD confirms, " ... the In-the-box AMD Graphics driver that ships with Windows 8 will include support for the AMD Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 Series, and it will support the WDDM 1.1 driver level features."

I have a 4850, so I'll have to buy a new graphics card to be able to play games in Windows 8? If this is true... Goodbye to AMD forever

RuuddieBoy said,

I have a 4850, so I'll have to buy a new graphics card to be able to play games in Windows 8? If this is true... Goodbye to AMD forever
I'm gaming on Windows 8 with a 3850 and the Windows 7 driver. I had to install the driver manually via Have Disk but after that all the games I've tried (both new and old) seem to work as expected. The one downside to this workaround is that the Catalyst Control Center can't see the driver, so I'm using a third-party tweaker (RadeonPro) to make adjustments.

primexx said,
wait, we get monthly updates? I never noticed.

Same here...
I pretty much stopped looking for them since on of their drivers ****ed up the screen positioning on my monitor and forced me to wait 5 months for a driver that worked.

As an owner of hd 4870 i can say that performance has only gone downhill ever so slightly with each new driver it seems. That much I must give to Nvidia that their drivers are exactly the opposite, as with my old 8800 gts 512 it went only upwards. Even few years after the card had came out.

Makes sense. Eventually drivers for these cards have to reach a point where they're considered "stable", and so monthly updates just become unnecessary. I mean hell, the HD2000 range came out in 2006. They've had 6 years to get the drivers right, so if they're not bug free now, it's unlikely they ever will be.

Makes perfect sense. I'm actually running on a mid-2011 driver for the 6870 and it seems a lot more stable than anything since then anyway

cleverclogs said,
Makes perfect sense. I'm actually running on a mid-2011 driver for the 6870 and it seems a lot more stable than anything since then anyway

I never understood the compulsion for people to update their video drivers all the time. I mean, if you buy a brand new game, there's often driver updates that improve support for that game, but aside from that, I'll just find a stable driver and keep it until something breaks.

cleverclogs said,
Makes perfect sense. I'm actually running on a mid-2011 driver for the 6870 and it seems a lot more stable than anything since then anyway

Noticing the same on my daughter's machine; she's using an older HD3850 512MB, the last few versions of the driver have been iffy at best performance wise, visibly slower in some instances. Seems to want to restart the video driver every once in a while too due to a driver fault, whereas I don't think the older one's ever failed. Keeping her's at 11.4. It works perfectly.

Max Norris said,

Noticing the same on my daughter's machine; she's using an older HD3850 512MB, the last few versions of the driver have been iffy at best performance wise, visibly slower in some instances. Seems to want to restart the video driver every once in a while too due to a driver fault, whereas I don't think the older one's ever failed. Keeping her's at 11.4. It works perfectly.

Yep, I had random driver crashes, which wouldn't even resolve when rolling back to 11.9... uninstalled everything, used driversweeper and installed the WHQL Windows-Update stock drivers, which I think are 11.5, and all OK. Performance is great.

Majesticmerc said,

I never understood the compulsion for people to update their video drivers all the time. I mean, if you buy a brand new game, there's often driver updates that improve support for that game, but aside from that, I'll just find a stable driver and keep it until something breaks.


Generally, while newer drivers aren't as well optimized for older cards, they are better optimized for newer games.

So it really depends when running old cards.

Running driver from fall 2011 here too. AMD broke the driver afterwards for those on 5xxx mobile that output to Vizio HDTVs. The last one that worked was the RAGE performance driver, which did make the game twice as fast for me. Other than that I've not had any issues playing newer games so far.