I want to spend some time to give you an update and share my experience with the three current options. Catalyst 11.6, 11.6b and 11.7. I do skip the 11.8 as I feel this is too early stage to be worth a look.
I am not comparing technical details but will have a look at the mining experience, hashrate, temperature and stability.
I have 3 machines running, all of them with Win7 64bit. I am using one 2x HD5830, one 4x HD5830 and one mixed (HD6970, HD5850 and HD5830) setup.
Let's have a look
at the different drivers and my experience with it. Catalyst 11.6:
- Lowest GPU temperature
- Lowest CPU usage
- Normal overclocking behaviour.
- Dummy plug required
- Flash/Youtube freeze bug (Machine freezes often when using flash hardware acceleration. For potential fix disable hardware acceleration in flash player menu.)
- Dummy plug not required*
- Normal overclocking behaviour.*
- Contains various bugfixes since 11.6
- higher GPU temperature than 11.6
- slightly higher CPU usage compared to 11.6
- partly fixed Flash/Youtube freeze bug (Machine freezes sometimes when using flash hardware acceleration. For potential fix disable hardware acceleration in flash player menu.)
- APP SDK 2.5
- Flash/Youtube freeze bug fixed
- Latest (non beta) driver available.
- contains various bugfixes compared to 11.6
- Dummy plug required not required*
- CPU usage 100% at Single and Dual Core systems (possibly a APP SDK 2.5 bug)
- High GPU temperature
If you want to under/overclock your card you still need dummy plugs or a monitor to be connected to the card. Otherwise software based overclocking tools don't work, especially in Multi-GPU configurations.Hashrates:
307 MHash/sec - HD5830@950/300
390 MHash/sec - HD5850@950/300
425 MHash/sec - HD6970@940/840Temperatures:
(4x HD5830 Rig - hottest card as reference)
Temperatures are snapshots of the status at this moment. They do vary with room temperature and workload..
11.6 ~79 degree Celsius (automatic fan was at 76%)
11.6b ~81 degree Celsius (~84%)
11.7 ~84 degree Celsius (~92%)Conclusion:
If you use a dedicated miner machine you probably don't need the latest bugfixes and you pay more attention on stability, temperature and CPU usage. From this perspective I would recommend to use Catalyst 11.6.
If you mine with your standard PC which you also use for gaming then probably Catalyst 11.7 is the better choice.
The hash-rate did not noticeable change between all the drivers.
Feel free to comment..