Why haven't AMD updated their driver files in over six months (since Omega 14.12)? Don't try to tell me they're updating the driver without the file versions changing because that's not how software development works. I don't care about unofficial leaks, by the way. If it's not on AMD.com, it's meaningless. All they seem to be doing is adding insignificant CAP/Catalyst Application Profiles (which used to be separate downloads) for every driver "update" after Omega.
Note: I'm not referring to WHQL. All drivers from AMD since Omega have the same file versions (Direct3D, Mantle, etc. which are listed in Information > Software section of Catalyst Control Center), including the latest 15.5 beta.
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That is anyone's choice and personal preference, whether to install beta, whql or both on their system.
I have to completely disagree though.
I have always kept myself up to date on most games and software by using the latest BETA driver, and in many cases there was little or no difference from the so called "final" Microsoft-signed driver, performance-wise and stability-wise.
Specifically, since the Omega drivers, all beta drivers were as stable and reliable as the 14.12 one, on a host of old and modern games, at least for my system environment (i7 975, 2x HD5970, 12 GB 1600 Mhz RAM). And including single gpu usage and crossfirex/ quadfire as well.
The general rule is this: if you need the additional game profiles, improvements and optimizations, then you have no choice than to always use the latest driver available, whether that is beta or whql. Just to stay up to date. Same as nvidia users. If you actually find out that a specific older driver gives you better performance and reliability on specific games and software, then, by all means, stick with that, until there is actual need to install a newer driver version.
If the driver supports your OS and GPU, then i do not see how it would "completely screw up your system". I have never seen that happening (as a general meaning of the phrase term) in any user that i know of, including myself, so unless you want to be more specific about that, please refrain from exaggerated claims, cause there may well be other issues at hand. And to avoid spreading false impressions, of course...
What is it that you hope for a new driver release to do?
Are you seeing problems with the current version? Slow operation with a particular program? Are you missing some new feature the competition has?
I don't know about you but for me the Omega drivers seem to be as close to perfect as humanly possible. My system runs all the time between reboots mandated by Windows Updates without fault. Usually that's 2 weeks or more of 100% uptime. It's hard to want more.
Everyone would of course like more performance from any given hardware platform, but realistically, don't expect big performance gains from driver updates.
...I hope a new driver would improve performance in new games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Grand Theft Auto V, Project CARS, etc. and close the gap between the R9 290 and NVIDIA's GTX 970... but that's probably too much to ask from the as of late (i.e. past six months or so) disorganized and incompetent AMD.
Did nVidia update their driver files? Most of their drivers released in the last six months are 'game ready' drivers, with no significant updates aside from performance tweaks and 'CAPs' for a variety of games.
I don't own an NVIDIA GPU. Based on a cursory search, they do update their driver files with each driver release (as one should expect...). Also, I don't believe NVIDIA incorporate any form of 'CAP'.
My point is that AMD seemingly abandoned driver development for Windows 8/7 more than six months ago, and they've been rehashing the same driver since. Their focus now appears to be on Windows 10 drivers, which is fine, if it hadn't come at the cost of sub-par drivers/performance for Windows 8/7 users for so long...
AMD have released 3 new drivers since the 14.12 Omega Driver, Driver Packages 15.3, 15.4 and 15.5 have all been released since then.
If you are looking for version changes in the Direct3D, DirectGL, 2D Driver and Mantle parts of the drivers then you should be aware that those "API's" have not changed recently and are running stable with their current versions. Why would AMD update/fix something which is working fine? Unless there are updates of those API's there is no need to update/fix them. Just to say, the main part of the Driver which AMD works on is the "Driver Packaging Version". That is the part of the driver which controls how the Card handles things. The other parts are how the API's handle things, and seeing as they work, there is no need to update them.
The "Driver Packaging Version" of the AMD drivers has been updated 3 further times since the 14.12 Omega drivers in the Beta driver packages mentioned above.
Also, only the last 2 packages (15.4 & 15.5) were CAP/CrossFire Profile additions, which were released due to some major game releases. If you dont like those being released, you can talk with all the other people demanding them and explain why they are "insignificant" (as you called them). Ha.
Ithink it's pretty funny when people suggest the 290 needs to "catch up" to the 970. I have both and my 290 plays quite a few games much smoother than my overclocked 970. FC4 and Witcher 3 to be specific. GTA V is the same on both. Not sure what OP is wanting honestly. Remember the grass is always greener on the other side... until you get there.
Pretty sure everything you just said is untrue.
Driver Packaging Version is the main part of the driver? That's absurd. Direct3D, Mantle, etc. are the driving factors in performance in their respective games. If you're saying those API versions (as listed in Information > Software section of Catalyst Control Center) belong to Windows, again, you're clueless. They correspond with files from AMD's driver and determine how your GPU will perform.
Why update something which is functioning? Are you serious? If AMD is towing this line, they really have given up.
You really don't know what you're talking about, and the factual way you state everything is a great way to spread misinformation.
OK, I will lay out my side so you can put forth your counter for it:
1. AMD has released 3 drivers since the 14.12 Omega Driver (15.3, 15.4 & 15.5)
- This is a fact and therefore cannot be "untrue".
2. Direct3D, DirectGL, 2D Driver and Mantle parts of the driver are stable
- If you know anything about these API's being unstable please explain as from what I know they have been working very well for a while.
3. The Driver Packaging Version (as written in the CCC > Information > Software) is the main part that AMD change over time -
- I have to admit that I am not one of the driver programmers. As such I cannot give you a 100% guarantee that this is the case, but based on my personal experience and a logical examination of driver releases I am pretty sure that this is the case.
- Also unless you are one of the AMD driver programmers how would you confirm this as untrue or not?
4. That 15.3 had more then just CAP/CrossFire Profile additions
- Again another "Fact" which you can find out about if you read the release notes.
- Also FreeSync users can also verify that this driver package was the one which enabled support for these devices. (Therefore, not just CAP/CrossFire Profile additions were added)
5. That the 2 drivers since then, namely 15.4 and 15.5, were released with CAP/CrossFire Profile additions due to game releases
- You can also find this information in the release notes for both of these drivers
I believe that those are all the things which I said in my post. So if you think "everything I said is untrue" I would be happy to hear why it is that you think so.
How do you know that the "Driver Packaging Version" is not the main part of the driver? Unless you are directly involved in the driver build how can you make the statement like "That's absurd"? What information/facts do you have which make you believe that it is not?
I stated that the API version information in the CCC is the version of the interaction control between AMD and those API's. And again, if you have information showing that this in broken/faulty in any way please explain it and I am sure AMD will work on fixing it right away.
(Also, I never said anything about "Windows" in anyway and know that Windows has nothing to do with these API's. Saying that I did, is in reality, what is the true term of "miss-information")
I said that if those API's (and their interaction) is working you don't need to change it. I don't know about you but if I have something working (TV, fridge, couch, etc) I don't start pulling it apart and adding new parts to it.
Also, saying to me, "the factual way you state everything is a great way to spread misinformation"..... Really? So if I was not using facts I would be informing people better? 404 Error.