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This month we are seeing a massive performance increase with a whole host of games as compared to the ATI Catalyst 9.7 driver. Detailed release notes are available for most of the game optimizations; here are the highlights:

UnigineTropics OpenGL performance improvements of up to 20%.

This release of the ATI Catalyst driver provides OpenGL 3.1 extension support. The following is a list of OpenGL 3.1 features and extensions added in ATI Catalyst 9.8:

- Support for OpenGL Shading Language 1.30 and 1.40.
- Instanced rendering with a per-instance counter accessible to vertex shaders (GL ARB draw instanced).
- Data copying between buffer objects (GL EXT copy buffer).
- Primitive restart (NV primitive restart). Because client enable/disable no longer exists in OpenGL 3.1, the PRIMITIVE RESTART state has become server state, unlike the Nvidia extension where it is client state. As a result, the numeric values assigned to PRIMITIVE RESTART and PRIMITIVE RESTART INDEX differ from the NV versions of those tokens. o At least 16 texture image units must be accessible to vertex shaders, in addition to the 16 already guaranteed to be accessible to fragment shaders.
- Texture buffer objects (GL ARB texture buffer object).
- Rectangular textures (GL ARB texture rectangle). o Uniform buffer objects (GL ARB uniform buffer object).
- SNORM texture component formats.

Support for new Linux operating systems
This release of ATI Catalyst driver for Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems:

- RHEL 4.8 production support
- Ubuntu 9.04 production support

ATI Catalyst™ Control Center - Linux Edition support for RandR 1.2 This release of the ATI Catalyst driver for Linux introduces ATI Catalyst Control Center - Linux Edition support for the RandR 1.2 extension API. The following new features are now available in the ATI Catalyst Control Center - Linux Edition Display Manager:

- Display rotation
- Multiple display arrangement and desktop sizing
Also, not to forget, Linux 2.6.29/2.6.30 support as announced in last month's news post by Michael.

The driver should be released tomorrow.