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AMD Catalyst is dead, long live Crimson

AMD’s Catalyst Control Centre has been a mainstay of PC gaming for a long time, and a tool that a myriad of enthusiasts have used to keep track of various aspects of their card whilst also tweaking some of the more advanced options. However, after many years of use, AMD is retiring the Catalyst brand and in its stead has created a brand new interface for its “Radeon Software,” which will be faster, smoother and easier to navigate.

The Catalsyst software was first released way back in 2002, when the graphics card division of AMD was then called ATI. Since then it’s gone through many iterations to reach what it looks like today, but the next set of drivers will see it retired for an entirely new look along with the new name.

Crimson updates to the AMD GPU drivers will be for major releases only, with the more regular editions being numbered X.XX versions of Radeon Software coming every month or so in between. However the back-end of it all that gives options and tweakable settings on the card will be constant throughout, featuring a much faster start time – just 0.6 seconds according to AMD – as well as a cleaner, easier to navigate interface and a built- in game manager.

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The game manager allows you to customize the games you play within the software, saving profiles for each of them. These can relate to color profiles, clock speeds and graphical settings like anti-aliasing, anisotrophic filtering, and texture quality. All games are detected and listed automatically upon installation of the driver software.

The same sort of customization is available for video and movie watching, with several different profiles for how to view the content,  and again for individual displays, should you have varied hardware causing mismatches in what appears on the screen. You can even control which screens use FreeSync and AMD Super Resolution.

The software is also designed to keep itself up to date, with automated checks every two weeks to see if there’s anything that can be upgraded with new downloads. They can be activated manually too if the user prefers and if there are any features of the new Crimson software they don’t like, such as banner adverts or system tray status, they can be turned off in the settings menu.

AMD is planning to release six WHQL certified drivers per year.

Although it seems sad to see Catalyst ride off into the sunset, do you like the look of its replacement?

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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