Driver Update – AMD Drivers Fixed

An update on the state of drivers:

  • AMD's latest Catalyst Beta (Catalyst 14.2 V1.3) fixes the translucency artifacts in HDR mode.  This driver also supports the newest cards and has correct brightness levels in HDR mode, so if you're an AMD user on Windows, this is the driver to use.  This change hasn't made it to the Linux AMD proprietary driver, but it probably will soon.
  • I have received reports of faint red lines on the latest NVidia Windows WHQL drivers (334.89) under cloudy conditions, but neither Chris nor I have been able to reproduce them.  If you can reproduce this, please file an X-Plane bug.  (I have not reported this to NVidia because I can't reproduce it.)
  • Some users have reported crashes with Intel HD 4000 GPUs on Windows; getting the latest drivers from Intel seems to fix the issue. I don't have good info on what versions work/don't work but it appears that plenty of machines have shipped with old drivers for their motherboard graphics.  I believe X-Plane does run correctly with the Intel HD4000 series GPUs on Windows as long as the right driver is installed.
  • OS X 10.9.2 is out, and I think it may have new drivers (the NVidia .kext files changed versions), but I don't see any change in framerate for either NV or AMD cards.

Update: NVidia has been able to reproduce the red lines bug - we're still working out the details of what's going on, but it's a known issue now.  Thanks to everyone who reported it.

If you find a driver bug on Windows or Linux, please repot this to us (via our bug reporter) and to NVidia, Intel or AMD.  I try to bring known bugs directly to the driver teams, but having the bug in their public bug reports is good too - it makes it clear that real users are seeing real problems with a shipping product.


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About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.
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9 Responses to Driver Update – AMD Drivers Fixed

  1. Chris says:

    I just filed a bug for this issue. For users reading this, you can work around it by un-checking Atmospheric Scattering in your render settings.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Yeah another user told me that it's the combination of shadows + per pixel + HDR + scattering. NV also says they have seen the bug reports.

      • Jakob Grzywacz says:

        Its visible with atho scattering on and a descent visibility. Set it to 10SM with some low clouds. If there are rivers behind the limit of visibility, there are rendered in red shine within the mist or haze.

        I failed back to an earlier driver, until thats resolved, so I can't reproduce it at the moment.

  2. Filippo says:

    Speaking about drivers, the recent introduction of the Mantle API by AMD has raised some fuss, and it looks like more and more developers actually back the possibility to interact with graphics hardware at a lower level, so to reduce, if not eliminate, the API / Driver overhead. And, as a consequence of this new trend, it looks like future revisions of the mayor graphics APIs will allow more low-level access to the GPU features.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/directx-direct3d-opengl-mantle,26167.html

    Does LR have some opinion on this? Could a future version of X-Plane benefit from such enhancements?

    Best regards,
    Filippo

    • Ben Supnik says:

      I've watched some of the Mantle presentations; it's theoretically possible that we may someday use it. Mantle provides two advantages:

      1. Because it's modern and coded with multi-core and modern hardware in mind from day one, the abstractions fit the top-end cards perfectly, where-as OpenGL has a fair amount of "weird stuff" due to the gradual evolution. (Lord knows how many times they've refactored the texturing API, for example.)

      2. Because it is lower level, it moves scheduling and resource management into the host app (that would be X-Plane in our case) - the theory is that the driver is making guesses when it schedules and manages resources, where-as the app really knows what it wants.

      But those aren't totally wins. In case 1, we support plenty of hw too old to run Mantle, and someday there will be newer hardware with different characteristics...whether Mantle handles that new hardware gracefully or not is too be determined. In case 2, writing scheduling and resource management is a big complicated task, so having the driver not do it might make the driver cheaper to develop but it makes the app more expensive (in developer time) to develop. For AAA games like Battlefield they can easily afford that - but the top-tier games are unusual (in the universe of all OpenGL apps) in terms of having man-power.

      At this point we are not held back by OpenGL; rather there is work I am in the middle of doing to more effectively use OpenGL. Once we use OpenGL most efficiently then we can re-measure performance, see how much overhead (if any) OpenGL is costing us, and decide what to do next.

  3. Benoit Richard says:

    Hi Ben, I tried to update to the Catalyst Beta drivers you mentioned and a strange situation has occurred. When I load X-Plane 10.25 on my Windows 7-64bit system, everything looks normal until I go inside the cockpit (Ramzzess 777 Worldliner Professional). My 3 screens (Eyefinity) slowly fade to Blue!
    If I go outside the plane, everything looks fine...

    I will try to uninstall and reinstall the beta drivers and if the problem persists, I will revert back to Catalyst 13.9

    Thanks,
    Benoit

    • Philipp says:

      Hi Benoit,
      I'm 99% sure the "blue fade out" you experience with the 777 has nothing to do with driver but is rather the cold "blue-out" of the simulated 777 pilot. Make sure to close the doors and set the air-conditioning properly to ensure a nice cabin temperature.

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