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  • Breaking News

    ATI Catalyst 10.3 Drivers For Windows Vista & 7-Support Laptops

    AMD and ATI today released the Catalyst 10.3 driver package for download. By itself, this is unremarkable – ATI drops new graphics card drivers once a month, and while they normally bring a host of small fixes, performance improvements and tweaks, they’re rarely more noteworthy than that. This month’s release, however, finally brings official driver support for laptop graphics cards under Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

    Gamers with laptops have often been frustrated with driver updates from OEMs like Dell and HP – when they update their graphics drivers at all, they do it inconsistently and months behind the desktop drivers. This means that laptop gamers miss out not only on performance updates for games, but also on support for things like nVidia’s PhysX or graphics acceleration for the upcoming Flash 10.1. As a result, a healthy modding community has sprung up, and many sites and tools exist solely to help laptop gamers install desktop drivers.

    ATI is actually a little late to the party here – nVidia’s Verde driver program has been providing quarterly mobile graphics updates for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 for about a year now, and Intel’s Windows 7 driver packages support both desktop and laptop chipsets (though one could argue that no driver update could make an Intel chip suitable for gaming). Still, it’s nice to see them throwing their hat in the ring, especially given the company’s competitive resurgence with the excellent 4000 and 5000 series cards.

    Unlike nVidia, ATI is not offering notebook drivers for Windows XP, but otherwise the two companies’ mobile drivers are more or less on par with one another. OEMs have the option of opting out of the ATI driver updates – so far, Toshiba, Sony and Panasonic have all elected not to have their laptops updated by ATI’s new driver program.

    The drivers support almost any of ATI’s DirectX 10 and DirectX 11-compatible graphics cards, including products from the 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 series. The drivers can be obtained from AMD’s Web site.

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