AMD Catalyst 12.3 RC 8.95 31 January Benchmark

AMD Catalyst

Last week was exhausting and I didn’t have the time necessary to do any benchmarks/tests, sorry for that.

You might notice some changes in the methodology, I removed two tests: Unigine Heaven and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. but I added three more: 3DMark11, Unigine Sanctuary and Unigine Tropics. The reasons behind the changes are simple. Apparently Unigine Heaven has some incompatibilities with my motherboard and has a bad habit of crashing. I tested all hardware parts individually, they are fine. Furthermore Unigine Heaven minimum FPS is recorded at the very start of the test and that is not OK; minimum FPS was always very unstable.

On the other hand, S.T.A.L.K.E.R tests took very very long to complete (~2h) and I hate waiting that long for just one test to finish.

Based on your comments, I made a financial effort and got 3DMark11 Pro (didn’t pay the full price but it didn’t come cheap either). Unigine Sanctuary and Tropics might be a bit old but I haven’t encountered any issues with them; plus both feature all major APIs (DirectX 9-10-11 and OpenGL).

Hope you like the changes. Anyways, to test AMD Catalyst 12.3 RC 8.95 31 January I will compare it to 12.1 WHQL and 8.95 17 January.

Tested Drivers and Information

Prior to installing a driver, a sweep was done in safe-mode using Phyxion Driver Sweeper.

Catalyst Version 2D Driver 3D Driver OpenGL Driver Driver Packaging Version CCC Version CCC
12.1 WHQL 8.93-111205a-132104C-ATI 2011.1205.2215.39827 12.1
8.95 17 January 8.95-120117a-131901E-ATI 2012.0117.2009.36062 N/A
8.95 31 January 8.95-120131a-132694E-ATI 2012.0131.2220.39925 12.3
Tests and Settings

All 3 drivers are tested in 5 synthetic benchmarks and 5 games.

  • 1. 3DMark06 1.02 Professional Edition - 1680×1050 – 2xAA – Anti Aliasing Quality = 0 – 4xAF – Shader Model 2.0 = Return to Proxycon + Firefly Forest – HDR/Shader Model 3.0 = Canyon Flight + Deep Freeze – 2 Runs.
  • 2. 3DMark11 1.0.3 Professional Edition - 1680×1050 – 2xMSAA – 4xAF – Graphic Tests 1-4 – 2 Runs.
  • 3. Unigine – Sanctuary 2.3 – 1680×1050 – 2xAA – 4xAF – High Shaders – Ambient Occlusion = OFF – 2 Runs.
  • 4. Unigine – Tropics 1.3 – 1680×1050 – 2xAA – 4xAF – High Shaders – Ambient Occlusion = ON – Reflections = ON – 2 Runs.
  • 5. Cinebench x64 11.5 – 3 Runs.
  • 6. Crysis 2 1.9 using Adrenaline Benchmark Tool – Extreme Preset – 1680×1050 – 4xAA – Hi-Res Textures – Central Park – 3 Runs.
  • 7. Metro 2033 using Update 1.2 Benchmark Tool – Very High Settings – 1680×1050 – 16xAF – No AA for DirectX 9 and 4xMSAA for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 – 3 Runs.
  • 8. DiRT 3 – Ultra Preset – 1680×1050 – 8xMSAA – 3 Runs
  • 9. Battlefield 3 – Ultra Preset – 1680×1050 – 4xMSAA – 16xAF – Multiplayer @ Strike at Karkand (32p map, Large Conquest), main street: US Deployment -> B Flag – 3 Runs x 60s.
  • 10. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim v1.4 – Ultra Preset – 1680×1050 – 8xAA – 16xAF – Tested in the area East of Rorikstead – 3 Runs x 60s.

All synthetic benchmarks were ran 2 times except Cinebench (3 runs), all games were ran 3 times.

Test System Specifications
Test Hardware | AMD Catalyst 8.95 31 January Benchmark

Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)

4.5 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings disabled, Turbo Boost disabled.

Motherboard MSI P67-C43-B3, Intel P67 Chipset
Memory 2 x 2 GB DDR3 1600MHZ
Hard Drives


Samsung 750 GB Sata II (Game)

Graphics Card Sapphire HD6950 1 GB
Power Supply Corsair TX 650 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System Windows 7 SP1 x64

Table of Contents:

Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – 3DMark06,3DMark11,Cinebench and Unigine
Page 3 – Crysis 2, Metro2033, Battlefield 3, DiRT 3 and Skyrim
Page 4 – Conclusion

Page 2 – 3DMark06,3DMark11,Cinebench and Unigine

  • Tagero

    Any benchmarks from latest games soon ?

    • Johnny 3D

      I’ll start looking at Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning today.

  • Tagero

    Sorry for the off topic and thanks.

  • un homme

    Man, you should not delete Hevean from your tests ;(( There is nothing I am interested but Heaven and Crysis 2. Testing games such as Skyrim and Reckoning is for no reason. It is clear that FPS is high there. Skyrim is 2006 game. You have 6950 released in 2010. That wasn’t for Bethesda’s epic fail. That was for DX11.

    I wonder what Unigine, just a benchmark, could do with your motherboard? Incompatibilities? As far as I know there just can’t exist any incompatibilities between a game and motherboard. Why would there be between benchmark and motherboard?

    ps: terrible English, I know.

    • Johnny 3D

      Sometimes when running Unigine Heaven Benchmark I get a no signal error, all hardware parts are intact. Tried a billion things to fix it and nothing did the trick, searching the Internet I found out that a few other people got the same issues and they said it had to do something with the MB (BIOS, chipsets etc.), I don’t know what exactly is the source of the problem but Unigine Heaven is the only test where this issues appears.

      Also, to get a valid min FPS in Unigine Heaven is a pain in the neck. I had to repeat the tests a couple of times to get a proper reading. The problem is that the tool starts recording prematurely and the Min FPS gets recorded in the first frame, multiple runs = different Min FPS, I always had to do the test a million times to get valid data.

      • un homme

        It is strange. Ok. Let there be no Heaven then. Thanks for the work you do.

      • kn00tcn

        speaking of minimums, the number is kinda useless since 1 little loading blip can make it look like a game is running poorly

        you should get some line charts over time to see a normal usage minimum, a few sites that do this are hardocp, computerbase, techreport

        • Johnny 3D

          If a test shows unrealistic results (very low min FPS) it’s clear that that test has been flawed and I will repeat it.

          As for the line charts, I used to add them a while back, I could add them back but only for BF3 and Skyrim, as a matter of fact I’ll add them right away.

          • kn00tcn

            i’m concerned about the crysis 2 numbers that are bouncing around like 4-15fps based on driver version, that would be nice to have a line graph instead of absolute minimum for the same reason you dropped unigine heaven

            bf3 same thing, have to be sure ram & vram arent thrashing

  • Edilsonj

    This benchmark is near to perfect. Amazing.

  • Luis

    Yep,older drivers are better :)

  • Preston

    I was wondering if you could possibly try benching the Diablo 3 beta. Thoughts?

    • Johnny 3D

      Diablo III is currently in Closed Beta and unfortunately I didn’t get invited…back when SC2 was in Closed Beta I was a bit luckier :D

  • white23

    good benchmark ~

  • WOW

    WOW 2.5 POINTS??!?!?!! OMFG
    definitely recommended

    • Johnny 3D

      You’ll have to wait to test that out, today’s update to BF3 messed things up with PunkBuster…