AMD launches ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers

AMD just rolled out this month’s major Catalyst software suite release, Catalyst 11.8 WHQL. The software provides the latest WHQL-signed drivers for AMD Radeon GPUs, AMD accelerated processing units (APUs), and AMD chipsets with integrated graphics. This release sees the fusion of AMD Overdrive System (CPU) with GPU overdrive. Both AMD processors and Radeon GPUs can be tweaked using a single application in the Vision Control Center. CPU Overclocking in Vision Center, however, is only supported on Black Edition processor models.

In the GPU driver front, Catalyst 11.8 brings a few major performance improvements, including a 10% performance improvement for Crysis 2 DirectX 11, for both non-Anti-Aliasing, and application enabled Anti-Aliasing modes; 8% performance boosts in FEAR 3 DirectX 11 with application enabled Anti-Aliasing; and a significant 20% boost in Call of Duty Black Ops for single and multi-GPU setups. AMD has redesigned Morphological Anti Aliasing (MLAA) code to boost performance of all applications with MLAA enabled, by up to 30%.

The ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers can be downloaded here.

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10 apps to tune-up you PC for the best gaming experience

There are two major steps to create your perfect gaming experience. First of all you have to buy a PC with a suitable hardware configuration to meet all the necessary requirements. In case of gaming, this rig can cost you thousands of dollars, but you won’t get the best results if you don’t install and use the right applications that will improve you system.

So the second step to take is to configure your PC by installing all the necessary software that will maintain and improve the performances of your computer. So here are ten apps to choose from:

Your video card is the most important tool while playing, so you should keep it up to date by installing the latest drivers. Many users have asked why is it so necessary to always track and install tha latest versions. In general every new version brings improvements and fixes bugs, but the major reason is that each new version comes with an updated games library that includes all the necessary tweaks for the latest major titles. The good part here is that there are only two major types of video cards, the ones with NVIDIA (download NVIDIA Forceware Driver) chip and the ones with ATI chip (download AMD ATI Catalyst Drivers).

Installing and uninstalling games can cause your system to become clumsy. Caches get full, drives get fragmented, registries get littered with orphaned entries. The only solution is to install and use any type of tune-up utility. I recommend Tune Up Utilities 2011 or Windows Winset. Both are all-in-one system utilities to optimize, clean up, maintain and speed up your computer.

 

Besides the tune-up utilities, you need also a harddisk manager that can perform all kinds of tasks to maintain, repair and even partition your local HDD. An ALL-IN-ONE partition solution and disk management for 32 bit and 64 bit systems would be EASEUS Partition Master 9. With the free edition of Partition Master 9 you can safely merge different partitions without data loss on the same physical disk. It comes also with the ability to wipe data on unallocated space. This option is very useful when you want to get rid of sensitive data.

Your gaming experience should also be secure. Playing all kinds of online games demands some trusty antiviruses and firewalls. I recommend AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, avast! Antivirus Free or Avira AntiVir Personal Edition, all three with good results and light hardware requirements. Some of them have even a game mode through which, the application reduces its processes when running a game.

 

Installing and running your games from their discs will cause your optical unity and even the disc to wear. So why not copy them on your local disk and run them from there. This can be easily done by using the Virtual Clone Drive that can emulate and run ISO’s of your games with ease. The application is small, simple in functionality and easy to use. Another alternative is the popular Daemon Tools Lite that can emulate also MDF’s and cue-bin files.

Every hard-core gamer uses the Fraps application. Fraps is a universal Windows application that can perform several tasks while playing. It can show how many Frames Per Second (FPS) you are getting from your game, can take a screenshot with the push of a key, and can capture audio and video up to 2560×1600 with custom frame rates from 1 to 120 frames per second!. Fraps can be used with games using DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology.

Let’s say that you have captured a video sequence with the help of Fraps. How can you edit it and upload it on your beloved social network? Install and use Camtasia Studio from Techsmith. It is more than a simple screen recorder. It is more of a virtual studio that can generate sophisticated, effective screencasts faster, easier, and with more consistency than other similar products.  Camtasia Studio 7 comes with the 32-bit and 64-bit TSCC codec which can export your recording files to a wider range of 3rd party applications, and keep the high-quality look you love.

You may believe me or not, but some games require additional video codecs to be installed. Otherwise the users won’t be able to watch the cinematic videos. The best solution that works in most cases is to install the DivX Plus Codec Pack. The Pack includes everything you need to play DivX or MKV files in third-party applications. In case you own a DXVA capable graphics card, with DivX you can smoothly play high definition videos on it, which means no more blocky videos or dropped frames.

Online games demand a voice communication tool in order give orders to your team or control a raid. With TeamSpeak 3 all these can become reality. TeamSpeak is a VOIP application suitable for voice communication via the Internet. TeamSpeak is created on a platform that offers a client-server architecture where client and server software is clearly separated. This means that the server product runs as a dedicated server, rather than peer-to-peer. In this way the TeamSpeak server software is literally capable of handling thousands of simultaneous clients or users.

If you consider that your rig is ready to enter into the gaming universe, maybe you want to become a member of a community that shares the same passion and plays the same games as you. Welcome to Garena, sign up and join millions of gamers around the world and play your favourite titles together with them. And it’s all free! Garena features also an online service and provides direct support for games like League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth.

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AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL Released

AMD just released this month’s major update to its Catalyst software suite, Catalyst 11.7 WHQL. The new driver introduces a few major bug fixes, and provides WHQL-signed support for the recently released AMD A-Series APUs, apart from Radeon GPUs and AMD 8-series and 7-series chipset-integrated graphics.

AMD claims to have fixed all outstanding issues related to cursor-lag; a variety of system hangs noted when using HDMI or DisplayPort outputs have been fixed; a number of video playback issues, some generic and some application-specific, were resolved; the “checkerboard” pattern display corruption issue related to Eyefinity on CrossFire setups in DirectX 10 games was fixed; and flickering issues related to Portal 2 were fixed.

The driver doesn’t introduce any new features or performance improvements, but with greater stability, improved performance should naturally follow.

Download AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL

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