Basically you see some profiles in /etc/ati dir, maybe used for crossfire. crossfire with heaven did not work - it does not work on win as well using opengl. That was the main benchmark i wanted to try with it - really disappointing. Maybe it works with idtech4 games - but those run fast enough with one hd 5670 - heaven does not.
I've been meaning to run a new set of CrossFire benchmarks to see what Catalyst does these days.... Maybe next week.
Years ago, AMD also requested how process names are made within the Phoronix Test Suite (i.e. doom3-benchmark vs. d3-benchmark), so maybe I'll run some benchmarks that generate obscure process names to see if the blob is still doing funny checks.
Anyone that did write a Composite Manager will say the same. Even NVidia driver have bug when run for days in a composite manager (but they are by far the best we have at the moment). Intel it's power management and compositing that don't live well together. But AMD/ATI, it's just another of crappyness. You will get so many bug report from their users, that it's just a good idea to stop bothering and blacklist their driver. Driver are maybe going better for games, but compositor is another story. If you want something stable and fast, you will be better with your own software scenegraph backend.
And I know exactly who did send this mail. He will surely release some Window/Composite Manager by the end of the year and people have been speaking about this for sometimes now :-)
-OpenGL vendor string: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
+OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
also run glxinfo to display limits and diff the 2 outputs ... you'll see why wine on current catalyst does not work with heavy shaders.
anyway I am using catalyst since forewer and never had many problems. my main gripe is window resizing artifacts in xfce (NO COMPOSITING ENABLED) and the driver installation routine (rm -rf /etc/ati, then reinstall with X stopped and kernel module manualy unloaded).
I tried some simple OpenGL programming, no issues so far (it was very simple). Some wine problems with some games, but wine is a chapter in itself.
I am tempted to go Nvidia, but I hate the company with a passion for some of their market politics (mainly CUDA).
No. The radeon *hardware* uses proprietary *microcode*, just like most modern CPUs. That microcode happens to be driver-loaded on radeon hardware (and Intel/AMD CPUs) rather than being permanently burned into the chip on other hardware.
permanently burned is a misconception, most Intel and Phenom CPU's can upgrade the microcode, tho it needs to be done on every boot else it falls back to the bios version.