Too Many Driver Updates

7/16/2012 9:16:46 AM

AMD has decided to stop issuing monthly updates to its Catalyst driver updates. Good

Ih, go away! Not again, click, click. Don’t care! At least, that’s the usual monthly exchange I’ve had with my PC for the past few years until I upgraded to a GeForce GTX 689. That’s because I’ve been using AMD graphics cards, from the Radeon HD 4850 through the 5850 to a 6870. They were good cards, but the monthly nag to update my drivers niggled like a big, stupid fly buzzing in and out of my ear. I probably even shouted out loud to my PC. Sometimes.

Description: Driver GeForce GTX 680

Driver GeForce GTX 680

Of course, like any self-respecting enthusiast, I like to make sure that my PC is performing as well as possible, but that doesn’t mean I want to go through the hassle of uninstalling my graphics drivers, reinstalling new ones and restarting my PC every month. It grates even more when you look through the release notes and see that the only fixes are for a game you don’t even own, at a particular resolution your monitor doesn’t even support, and the graphical glitches you were hoping to resolve in another game aren’t even mentioned.

Perhaps the most annoying monthly reminder came from my media centre PC, which has a Radeon HD 3450. I haven’t updated the driver for 18 months, because I haven’t needed to – if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, especially when you risk breaking your PC in the process. Every now and then, I found that the previous version of Catalyst didn’t uninstall properly, and installing the new version meant I could no longer open the Control Center, requiring a long and tedious voyage through the check box badlands of Regedit to get it working again.

I can see why AMD adopted this strategy. ATI drivers had a terrible reputation for stability when Catalyst was released, and it took a few months of .NET tweaking to make the Catalyst Control Center run smoothly and quickly. AMD needed to improve its reputation, and the idea of monthly updates must have seemed appealing, while also giving AMD bragging rights over Nvidia’s comparatively irregular ForceWare updates.

Description: ForceWare updates

ForceWare updates

It didn’t work though. In a rush to get a new update out of the door every month, AMD’s driver team must have undoubtedly had to place some issues on the To Do pile, and Nvidia certainly doesn’t seem to have suffered from not knocking out new driver updates every month. Thankfully, all this is now in the past – this month AMD announced that it was no longer going to release monthly driver updates, but instead release a new driver every now and then with plenty of fixes, much like Nvidia’ strategy.

I won’t be sad to see the back of it. I like to keep my PC’s hardware and software maintained, but there comes a point where it stops being useful and actually just becomes annoying. Good call, AMD. I don’t care if it was a money-saving decision – it was the right one.

In other news, this month also sees the introduction of a new regular section called the Engine Room, in which we’re going to look at a game engine every month, and see how it’s changed PC gaming, particularly when it comes to graphics and hardware features. The first one is all about Unreal Engine 3.

Description: Unreal Engine 3.

Unreal Engine 3.

Finally, we’re teaming up with our friends at bit-tech to create a tech and gaming pub quiz. As a fan of both ale and quizzes, I fully support this endeavor, and will be penning some of the questions too. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be on a winning team, then check out the details on p10 and submit your entry.

  •  PNY – Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB
  •  Coolermater Hyper 412 Slim CPU Cooler
  •  Asus Rog Tytan CG8565 - Clash Of The Tytan
  •  Asus EEEPC X101CH - A Place For Netbooks?
  •  MacBook Pro with Retina display screen release
  •  MacBook Air and Pro are upgraded with Core i Ivy Bridge and USB 3.0
  •  Water Cools The PC Better
  •  Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG : Ultra-Size, Ultra-Power
  •  MSI GT70 : Turbo-Charged Gaming
  •  Kingston HyperX BLU 8GB RAM : The Blu of affordability and performance
  •  Kingston HyperX 3K SSD : SSD For The Budget Conscious
  •  AMD Radeon HD7750 : Single slot awesomeness
  •  HP Omni 27
  •  WD's My Passport (2TB) - Never leave home without it
  •  HP X2301 : Micro Thin, Macro Sights
  •  Asus Zenbook UX31A : In The Prime Of Zen
  •  HP Global Influencer Summit 2012 (Part 2) - HP Photosmart 5520 e All-in-One, HP t410 AIO
  •  HP Global Influencer Summit 2012 (Part 1) - The HP Envy Spectre XT, The HP Envy Sleekbook
  •  MSI Radeon R7970 Lightning : Fast as lightning
  •  Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H : Everything, With Everything Else
    Top 10
    Switching to Microsoft Windows 7 : Migrating Applications and Data to a New Windows 7 Computer (part 2)
    Switching to Microsoft Windows 7 : Migrating Applications and Data to a New Windows 7 Computer (part 1)
    Switching to Microsoft Windows 7 : Migrating Data on a Single Computer
    Using the Android Development Environment for Real Applications (part 2)
    Using the Android Development Environment for Real Applications (part 1)
    BenQ GW2750HM - Great Performance For Its Price
    LG LM9600 47” Smart TV - A New Direction
    The Download Directory - November 2012 (Part 3) - Multiplicity 2.0, LastPass Password Manager 2.0.0
    The Download Directory - November 2012 (Part 2) - UltraVNC Beta, Firefox 16 Beta 3, BlueScreenView 1.45 Description: BlueScreenView
    The 3DS XL : Super-Sized!
    Most View
    Use Preview to Edit On Your Mac (Part 2)
    Examining Integration Points Between SharePoint and Public Key Infrastructure
    Exchange Server 2010 and Active Directory
    Get more from your music : Step-by-step take control of your music
    Every Cloud...(Part 3) - Sharing/Team Features
    ASP.NET 4 in VB 2010 : Membership - Role-Based Security
    Panasonic HC-V700
    Tough Phones : Work or play in harsh environments
    Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Working with Automate Commands - Merging Images to HDR
    Philips W632 ICS Smartphone
    SSD Redefined
    Yamaha BDX-610 - Home Cinema
    iOS 6 Beta Review (Part 1)
    Microsoft ASP.NET 4 : Configuring ASP.NET from IIS
    Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 : Displaying Images - Using Resources in a Game (part 2) - Positioning Your Game Sprite on the Screen
    Algorithms for Compiler Design: ELIMINATING INDUCTION VARIABLES
    Sennheiser New Wireless Headphones : PXC 360 BT, MM550 –
    Programming the Mobile Web : Content Delivery (part 2) - File Delivery
    Mobile Application Security : SymbianOS Security - Application Packaging
    In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 1) - Antec Eleven Hundred, Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E