AMD: Catalyst Is Dead, Long Live Radeon Software

Six weeks ago, AMD formed the Radeon Technologies Group, a subset of the company focused on cutting-edge graphics and exploring the potential of virtual reality and DirectX 12. As part of that shift, AMD is ridding itself of Catalyst, the driver brand that has been around since 2002 — and the future is all about Radeon Software.

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As of today, the Catalyst name is no more — rather portentiously, Catalyst Omega was the final iteration of a driver series that had been running for the last 13 years, since June 2002 and the original Catalyst 2.1 release on Windows XP, 2000 and Millenium Edition.

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Says AMD in a statement:

We are putting great focus on software. We have been delivering graphics drivers for the past 20+ years, and during this time the graphics driver evolved way beyond the graphics device driver. It’s more than just a driver. It’s a whole range of software, and we know how important the software experience is to gamers, game developers, professionals, and others who use our products every day. 
Now we have user interfaces, libraries, tools, applications, packaged as what we call drivers. These called drivers have evolved into mini graphics Operating System. With the formation of Radeon Technology group, we have decided to call this mini graphics Operating System simply “Radeon Software”. 
This means we will be retiring AMD Catalyst. This marks the end of an era, and the beginning of a new age of immersive computing where we will be surrounded by billions of brilliant pixels that enhance our daily lives in ways we have yet to fully comprehend. The new era starts on November 2nd when we will introduce Radeon Software: Crimson edition.

But AMD says that Catalyst is now more than a driver — it's an entire suite of software including the Raptr Gaming Evolved client, Eyefinity multi-monitor tools, Freesync variable refresh rate, and the actual Catalyst Control Centre.

And because of that 13 years of growth, the whole thing is in serious need of an update — not just for technology, but for ease of use and of navigation and to support new social media like Twitch and Facebook and Twitter.

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Says AMD again:

The change is all-encompassing. We’ve re-designed and re-architected what was previously known as AMD Catalyst Control Center (CCC), and named it Radeon/FirePro Settings. With the new design, we focused on experience, form and function.
You’ll see how the new Radeon/FirePro Settings has a modern user interface that is simple and clean, is intuitive to use, and has a significantly faster start up than its predecessor. It also has new features:   

  • Game Manager
  • Video Quality presets
  • Social Media integration
  • Simplified Eyefinity setup
  • System notifications tab

So in the future, when you go to AMD's driver download page, you'll be greeted with the words Radeon Software: Crimson Edition. That's the name for the first release of AMD's newly reinvigorated gaming and graphics driver software, and it'll be out "before the end of the year" for all Radeon graphics cards and Windows platforms — more info is on the way in the next couple of weeks.

Crimson is the major version name of the first Radeon Software release, and you'll also see year-and-month minor version notes — 15.12, for example, would mean the software was released in December of this year.

Here's an early glimpse at what Radeon Software: Crimson Edition will look like:


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