VR World

AMD Set To Take Software Experience To The Next Level With Catalyst Omega

AMD (NYSE: AMD) is set to roll out a comprehensive update to its Catalyst software suite with an upcoming version called Catalyst Omega (version 14.50). The update is said to bring significant improvements for both the vendor’s desktop and mobile GPUs as well as APUs.

Virtual Super Resolution

One of the highlighted features is Virtual Super Resolution, which renders visuals at a higher resolution and then scales the content down to match the resolution of your monitor. The goal with this technology is to bring 4K-like visuals to users on full-HD displays. If this sounds familiar, it is because Nvidia rolled out a similar feature dubbed Dynamic Super Resolution with the GeForce 900 series.

VSR uses supersampling anti-aliasing, which while improving the final image quality, takes a toll on the GPU as it has to render content at far higher resolutions than the native resolution of your display. For instance, if you were using VSR to render content at four times the native resolution on a full-HD monitor, the performance draw on the video card would be the same as rendering the game in 4K. As such, the feature is limited to high-end models, including the R9 295X2, R9 290X, R9 290 and R9 285.

The supported VSR modes include:

Target Display Timing Supported VSR Modes
1920 X 1080 @ 60Hz 2560 x 14403200 x 1800

3840 x 2160 (R9 285 only)

1920 X 1200 @ 60Hz 2048 x 15352560 x 1600

3840 x 2400 (R9 285 only)

2560 x 1440 @ 60Hz 3200 x 1800
1920 x 1080 @ 120Hz 1920 x 1200 @ 120Hz2048 x 1536 @ 120Hz


Multimedia features

Another new feature AMD is touting with Catalyst Omega is Fluid Motion Video, which utilizes the GPU in smoothing out the playback when reading content off Blu-Ray discs. The feature is targeted at low-power APUs, and will be available on all 7×00 A-series APUs with a TDP of 35W and higher. Standalone video cards that have this feature enabled include the R9 295X2, R9 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260. There is a software component to the feature as well, with users required to use Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 14.

Also included in the Catalyst Omega update is Contour Removal, a feature that aims to remove  compression artifacts from compressed videos without affecting the overall quality of the video. The feature will be available on all Athlon APUs and 7×00 A-series APUs with a TDP of 25W and higher, and the following video cards: R9 295X2, R9 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260.

AMD is bringing 1080P Detail Enhancement — which improves clarity of compressed and low resolution content when played back on a full-HD display — to all of its 7×00 A-Series APUs. There’s also FullHD to UltraHD Video, which enhances full-HD content when displayed on a 4K monitor. The feature is making its way to all AMD 7×00 A-Series APUs and Radeon R7 260 and higher.

The new software driver includes support for Dell’s 5K monitor, the Dell UP2715K, which has a resolution of 5120×2880 at 60Hz. Any AMD GPU with two DisplayPort 1.2 ports will now work with the 5K monitor.

AMD is also touring performance improvements on APUs by as much as 29% and discrete GPUs by 19%. Other highlights with the update dev-focused features like enabling game capture and Twitch streaming for Mantle-enabled titles, OpenCL 2.0 support, addition of power profiling to AMD CodeXL 1.6, improvements to the AMD GPU Perfstudio, HSA Runtime and more.

The update will be rolling out later this week.