AMD Releases Major Driver Update – Catalyst 15.7 WHQL Brings DX12, VSR, FRTC And FreeSync Crossfire Support

Khalid Moammer
Posted Jul 9, 2015
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AMD’s Catalyst 15.7 WHQL driver release brings DX12 and FreeSync CrossfireX support, extends VSR and FRTC compatibility to older GPUs. The extensive list of features as well as performance improvements that AMD’s Catalyst 15.6 WHQL driver introduces makes it the company’s biggest driver update since the Omega driver released which came out late last year.

AMD Catalyst 15.7 Driver
This new driver release brings support for AMD’s latest Radeon 300 series and previous Radeon GPUs under one roof. Which were previously bifurcated to two non-crosscompatible driver releases, 15.15 for the 300 series and 15.5 for previous graphics cards.
Interestingly, because the new 15.7 drivers are compatible with all of AMD’s graphics cards – except legacy products – it also enables CrossfireX compatibility between 300 and 200 series graphics cards based on GCN GPUs that feature identical configurations ( identical GCN core counts, texture units, ROPs etc ). For example the R9 380 should now be compatible with the R9 285, the R7 370 with the R7 265 and the R9 390 series with the R9 290 series. The differences in GPU core and VRAM clock speeds may produce varying results however.

AMD Releases Major Driver Update – Catalyst 15.7 WHQL Brings DX12, VSR, FRTC And FreeSync Crossfire Support

Back to the feature list of the new drivers. Let’s first discuss FRTC which is short for Frame Rate Target Control. This new features allows the user to predefined a maximum frame rate target that the GPU will not exceed once applied. The benefits are realized by reducing the unnecessary load which is put on the GPU while running non intensive games. This in turn means that the GPU will no longer render an extra frames beyond the limit set by the user. As a result the GPU will consume less power and run at lower temperatures.

AMD Catalyst 15.7 FRTC
FRTC was a 300 series exclusive feature in AMD’s Catalyst 15.15 driver, because that particular driver release was only compatible with AMD Radeon 300 series products. Fortunately AMD has now brought this feature to the AMD Radeon 200 series graphics cards as well in this latest 15.7 driver update.

The second major feature update this driver brings to the table is the extension of VSR – Virtual Super Resolution – support to older GCN based graphics cards.

AMD Catalyst 15.7 VSR
This feature was previously limited to AMD’s GCN 1.1 and GCN 1.2 based graphics chips. So the R9 390 series, R9 380 series, R9 290 series, R9 285 and R7 260 series. The 15.7 update extends FRTC compatibility to almost all 300 series, 200 series and HD 7000 series Radeon graphics cards.

AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series AMD Radeon™ R9 280 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 390 Series AMD Radeon™ R9 270 Series
AMD Radeon™ R9 380 Series ​AMD Radeon™ R7 260 Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 370 Series ​AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 360 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 7800 Series
AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2 ​AMD Radeon™ HD 7790 Series
​​​AMD Radeon™ R9 290 Series Desktop A-Series 7400K APUs and above

 This brings us to the third major feature update. Catalyst 15.7 finally brings FreeSync compatibility to multi GPU Crossfire configurations.

AMD Catalyst 15.7 FreeSync Crossfire Support
This brings us to the final major goodie in the Catalyst 15.7 WHQL driver package. And that’s DX12 Windows 10 driver support. This is the first WHQL signed driver from AMD to introduce DX12 support and it arrived just in time before Mcirosoft’s upcoming official WIndows 10 release this month.

No Deus Ex: Mankind Divided DX12 Support At Launch

AMD Catalyst 15.7 DX12 Support
Below you will find the release notes for the driver with details about all the previously discussed features as well as newly introduced game specific performance improvements and Crossfire profile updates.

AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 Driver for Windows® Release Notes

Article Number: RN-WIN-CAT15-7

This article provides information on the latest posting of the AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, AMD Catalyst™ 15.7.

This particular software suite updates the AMD Catalyst™ Display Driver and the AMD Catalyst™ Control Center. This unified driver has been updated, and is designed to provide enhanced performance and reliability.

Package Contents

The AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 contains the following:

  • ​​AMD Catalyst™ Display Driver version 15.20.1046

​​Installing the AMD Catalyst™ Software Driver
For detailed instructions on how to correctly uninstall or install the AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, please refer to the following support resources:

NOTES

  • This driver is not intended for use on AMD products running in Apple Boot Camp platforms. Users of these platforms should contact their manufacturer for driver support.
  • When installing the AMD Catalyst™ Driver for Windows® operating system, the user must be logged on as Administrator, or have Administrator rights to complete the installation of the AMD Catalyst™ Driver.
  • The AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 Software Suite requires Windows® 7 Service Pack 1 to be installed.
  • The AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 Software Suite requires Microsoft® .NET Framework 4.5 to be installed. Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 is included in all AMD Catalyst™ packages.

AMD Product Compatibility

The AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 driver ​is compatible with the following AMD products.

AMD Desktop Product Family Compatibility
​​​AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series ​​​AMD Radeon™ R5 230 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 300 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 8000 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 200 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 Series
​​AMD Radeon™ R7 300 Series ​AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R7 200 Series ​ATI Radeon™ HD 5000 Series
​​ ​​
AMD All-In-One Desktop Product Family Compatibility
AMD Radeon™ HD 7600A Series AMD Radeon™ HD 6600A Series
AMD Radeon™ HD 7450A Series AMD Radeon™ HD 6350A Series

 

AMD APU Product Family Compatibility

“Kaveri”, “Godavari”, and “Carrizo” series APUs are only supported by AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 on Windows® 7 (32 & 64-bit) and Windows® 8.1 64-bit.

AMD APU Product Family Compatibility
Desktop Mobile
A-Series with AMD Radeon™ R7 Graphics AMD Radeon™ HD 8000D Series
A-Series with AMD Radeon™ R6 Graphics AMD Radeon™ HD 7000D Series
A-Series with AMD Radeon™ R5 Graphics AMD Radeon™ HD 6000D Series
​A-Series with AMD Radeon™ R4 Graphics ​AMD Radeon™ HD 8000G Series
A-Series with AMD Radeon™ R3 Graphics AMD Radeon™ HD 7000G Series
​FX-8800P with AMD Radeon™​ R7 Graphics ​AMD Radeon™ HD 6000G Series
E-Series AMD with  Radeon™ R2 Graphics

 

AMD Mobility Radeon™ Family Compatibility

AMD Catalyst™ Mobility is a notebook reference graphics driver with limited support for system vendor specific features.

AMD Mobility Product Family Compatibility
AMD Radeon™ R9 M200 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 7000M Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 M200 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 6000M Series
AMD Radeon™ R5 M200 Series ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5000 Series
AMD Radeon™ HD 8000M Series

 

Compatible Operating Systems

The latest version of the AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 is designed to support the following Microsoft Windows platforms:

  • Windows® 10 (32 & 64-bit)
  • Windows® 8.1 (32 & 64-bit)
  • Windows® 7 SP1 or higher (32 & 64-bit)​

Highlights of the AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 Windows Driver

Windows® 10 Support

This is a Technical Preview driver with full WDDM 2.0 support for Windows® 10 and DirectX® 12 on all Graphics Core Next (GCN) supported products,  -AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 and newer graphics products. Official driver support for AMD products will be available when Microsoft launches Windows® 10 on July 29th, 2015.

​NOTE: To ensure stability, users should upgrade to the latest available Windows® 10 Technical Preview build provided by Microsoft before installing AMD Catalyst™ 15.7.

​Virtual Super Resolution (VSR)

VSR provides image quality enhancements to games and Windows® desktop users by rendering images at a higher resolution and then down-scaling the same. VSR support has now been extended to the following products:

AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series AMD Radeon™ R9 280 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 390 Series AMD Radeon™ R9 270 Series
AMD Radeon™ R9 380 Series ​AMD Radeon™ R7 260 Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 370 Series ​AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 360 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 7800 Series
AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2 ​AMD Radeon™ HD 7790 Series
​​​AMD Radeon™ R9 290 Series Desktop A-Series 7400K APUs and above

Below is a list of supported resolutions:

​Target Display Timing Supported VSR Modes​
1366 X 768 @ 60Hz 1600 X 900
1920 X 1080
1600 X 900 @ 60Hz 1920 X 1080
1920 X 1080 @ 60Hz 2560 X 1440
3200 X 1800
3840 X 2160 (AMD Radeon™ R9 285, AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series)
1920 X 1200 @ 60Hz 2048 X 1536
2560 X 1600
3840 X 2400 (AMD Radeon™ R9 285, AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series)​
2560 X 1440 @ 60Hz 3200 X 1800
1920 X 1080 @ 120Hz 1920 X 1200 @ 120Hz
2048 X 1536 @ 120Hz


Frame Rate Target Control™ (FRTC)

FRTC allows the user to set a maximum frame rate when playing an application in full screen exclusive mode. This feature provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced GPU power consumption
  • Reduced system heat
  • Lower fan speeds and less noise

This feature is supported on applications using  DirectX® 10 or higher and on the following AMD graphics products:

​AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series ​AMD Radeon™ R9 280 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 390 Series AMD Radeon™ R9 270 Series
AMD Radeon™ R9 380 Series AMD Radeon™ R7 260 Series
AMD Radeon™ R7 370 Series ​AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R7 360 Series AMD Radeon™ HD 7800 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 295X2 ​​AMD Radeon™ HD 7700 Series
​AMD Radeon™ R9 290 Series

AMD FreeSync™ and AMD CrossFire™ Support
  • ​​AMD FreeSync™ and AMD CrossFire™ can now be used together in applications using DirectX® 10 or higher. Please note, this feature is currently not supported on systems configured in AMD Dual Graphics mode.

AMD CrossFire™ Profile Enhancements

AMD Catalyst™ 15.7 includes enhancement for the following games since AMD Catalyst™ Omega:

  • Battlefield: Hardline
  • Evolve
  • Far Cry® 4
  • Lords of the Fallen
  • Project CARS
  • Total War: Attila
  • Alien: Isolation™
  • Assassin’s Creed® Unity
  • Civilization®: Beyond Earth™
  • FIFA 2015
  • GRID Autosport
  • Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Talos Principle
  • The Crew
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Dying Light
  • The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

Performance Optimizations versus AMD Catalyst™ Omega Driver

Single GPU performance on Windows® 8.1 based system:

  • Up to 7% in Far Cry® 4 on AMD Radeon™ R7 and AMD Radeon™ R9 200 series and up *
  • Up to 10% in Tomb Raider on AMD Radeon™ R7 and AMD Radeon™ R9 200 series and up *

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