ATI's Windows Radeon driver package is called CATALYST. The CATALYST software was instituted after the release of the Radeon 8500, as a marketing effort to match nVidia's universal Detonator driver packages. This new driver development paradigm at ATI promised monthly driver updates which included performance enhancements, bug fixes, and new features. As of 2006, the CATALYST driver package typically included ATI's CATALYST Control Center; an interface for manipulating many of the hardware's functions within Windows XP, such as 3D settings, monitor controls, video options, among other things. It also offered a small 3D preview, allowing the user to see how changes to the graphics settings affected the quality of the rendered image. The old control panel interface (within Windows' Display Properties) was previously a fall-back option, but that has been discontinued as of CATALYST 5.13. The CATALYST package can be downloaded in pieces as well, for non-broadband users. For example, the display driver can be downloaded alone, separated from the CATALYST Control Center and WDM VIVO drivers.
ATI Catalyst Features
- Monitor properties: Multiple monitor - Additional monitor running in either extended desktop mode or desktop replication
- HDTV support - Setting display resolutions (720p/1080i/1080p) and refresh rates (60 Hz to 85 Hz) to fit HDTV connected via component or HDMI
- 3D settings - such as Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic filtering
- ATI Avivo - hardware acceleration of video decoding includes a set of video settings like gamma correction, only applies to the Radeon X1000 series, HD 2000/3000 series, and HD 4000 series
- SmartGart (available to AGP products only)
- VPU Recovery - Resets graphics processor in case it no longer responds to display driver
- ATI Overdrive - Overclocking of video cards to enhance performance
- ATI PowerPlay - Adjust power saving plans to the GPU, only applies to Mobility Radeon, Radeon HD 3800 series and Radeon HD4800 Series
- ATI CrossFireX - Manages the use of multiple graphics cards bridged with ATI's proprietary CrossFireX standard.