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I have a Sony VAIO SVE1513BYNB Laptop. I have installed Windows 8 Enterprise x64. I recently read across the web that outdated drivers will cause PCs to lag. I had downloaded and installed all the drivers from the official SONY Product Support Center. But, when I checked the version I had installed for AMD Catalyst™ Drivers, it was 8.xx.xxx. I was shocked as I thought the product page will always have the lastest drivers.

Now, for the problem. I went to the AMD support page to download the latest drivers. To the right, there are a number of download options.

  1. Latest AMD Catalyst™ Drivers for Radeon™ R9 200, R7 200, HD 7000, HD 6000 and HD 5000 Series
  2. AMD Mobility Radeon™ Notebook Drivers

I would like to know the difference between these two. Also, is it advisable to install the beta version of drivers?

  • I don't think you get to choose. Either you have a mobile GPU or a desktop GPU. It just depends on what graphics card you have installed. Do you know the GPU model your PC has? – imtheman Apr 10 '14 at 4:23
  • Yes. I have the AMD Radeon HD7650M. I should install the Catalyst Drivers. My question is what is the difference between these drivers. What is the purpose of AMD Mobility Radeon Notebook Drivers? – Vignesh Palani Apr 10 '14 at 4:43
  • If you take a look on amd's website you'll see that you can only download the AMD Mobility Radeon Driver, because it's a notebook version. – imtheman Apr 10 '14 at 4:50
  • @imtheman Can you please say what the different drivers are for??? Edit 1 : When I tried to install the software that automatically downloads the driver, I get an error that my card isn't supported. – Vignesh Palani Apr 10 '14 at 6:15
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The Catalyst drivers that are listed AMD 's website are for desktops only. Not only does it say it's for R-series and 7000 series (desktop) cards, if you go into the link, it'll most likely ask you which graphics card you have. Chances are, drivers for your notebook's GPU won't be there.

In terms of actual differences, it could be any number of things. "Mobile" GPUs are designed differently than normal desktop GPUs, and therefore have different requirements. If AMD had a "one size fits all" drivers solution, it would probably break the graphics card in question, since mobile and desktop cards are fairly different in terms of size and performance.

As to whether or not you should use beta drivers, it depends. Beta drivers are generally stable for the most part, the there's still the risk of something going wrong. If you want to stay as safe as possible, stay with normal drivers. But, if you want to squeeze as much performance out of you cards as possible, feel free to go ahead and has beta drivers.

  • So, I should not use the Catalyst Drivers in the site. Right? What other drivers should I be using? I will go ahead and use the beta drivers. No problem with that. Just answer this and I have learnt something new today. – Vignesh Palani Apr 10 '14 at 8:54
  • Well, you can either install the manufacturer's drivers, which are well optimized but aren't updated as often, and as such ends up someone down the performance of your computer, or you can choose AMD's drivers, which will generally have better performance, though there is a small risk of incompatibility. – cmdd Apr 10 '14 at 14:05
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While I don't know the technical differences between the desktop and laptop versions, I in fact have almost the exact same card (a 7690M XT) and I have been using the MOBILITY beta drivers for a long time with good results.

The only "but" i find, is that sometimes (i.e. changing from X beta version to Y) the Catalyst Control Center (CCC)doesn't work properly, thus not allowing you to manually choose what graphic card to use for each applicaton (or game).

For those who don't know: Most laptops with dedicated GPUs (at least AMD cards), have an "hybrid" option, in which by default, the dedicated GPU only is used if the app really needs it (e.g. most of games, or other demanding apps). The Catalyst Control Center (CCC) lets you manually override such option for different apps, so you may choose to use the dedicated GPU for simpler games/apps that may need more performance, or the other way around.

In my particular case, despite CCC not "woring" per se, I've had no problem at all when using games. I do use my laptop for all kinds of games, from simple, to current, demanding games, like Tomb Raider, Batman AA/AC, etc just to mention some.

If I'd stayed with the official drivers of my laptops manufacturer (HP), I would DEFINITELY not have as good performance as I do with up to date beta drivers. I've only ocationally had problems wiht one or two versions, in which some games crash, but it gets fixed by just installing another newer beta verson of the drivers.

At the end of the day, at least in my case (with an HP dv6-6c85la laptop) It is perfectly safe to use official beta drivers. Just be sure for them to be the Mobility versions, because they are somehow optimised for the mobile versions of GPUs. One time I tried the "desktop" version of the drivers, and they simply refused to install...

And just one final note, be aware that your GPU description, on windows device manager info dialog, may change from your 7650M to something like "6700 series". That is because the 7650M is just a designation from laptop manufacturers, but "internally" it is just a modified 67xx card. See here http://www.notebookcheck.org/AMD-Radeon-HD-7690M-XT.74106.0.html for more info regarding that.

I hope that, despite not a direct answer, I helped you =)

  • You did... There are no options for switching in my laptop like you said. Should I look somewhere specifically??? TY @DiegoDD – Vignesh Palani Jun 27 '14 at 7:58
  • Well you could try using custom drivers, specifically made for laptops having intel CPUs and AMD GPUs, like this ones. But note that they are a bit tricky, and you should be willing to mess up a little bit with configurations. I have tried them and they worked fine, but had a bit of issues with "metro" style apps in windows 8. At the end I got back to official AMD drivers. And although the drivers work fine (games run GREAT), I haven't been able to make CCC work again. =( Good luck and let us know what happens. – DiegoDD Jun 27 '14 at 14:41
  • check this other link for more speciffic info about those drivers. leshcatlabs.net/unifl-unified-leshcat-drivers Dont be overwhelmed or scared of using custom drivers (if anything geos wrong ou can simplly go back to your previous drivers (have a backup!) , just look around the site , read comments, and dont be afraid to ask. – DiegoDD Jun 27 '14 at 14:44
  • Thank you very much.. I cant mess around now as I am on vacation. So, till college reopens, I am stuck with Official ones. – Vignesh Palani Jun 27 '14 at 21:13
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well for months i have the same question, and today im finally found the answer... here is the link to an old post (2005) but talks about these driver when the first release appear... I hope this help you to understand the difference between these drivers... sorry if my English is not so good at all...

http://www.legitreviews.com/ati-brings-catalyst-drivers-to-mobile-users_209

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