Monday, January 28, 2013

The importance of Keeping drivers up to Date - and Recent Radeon GCN Architecture

We recently had a period of time, where a particular graphics architecture was exhibiting specific problems within Altium Designer. The only solution to this particular issue was to wait for the card manufacturer to release a set of drivers which properly interacted with DirectX.

The updated drivers are available, so anyone who was having any trouble with items disappearing at different zoom levels, or other graphic artifacts, while using an AMD Radeon HD 7000 series card, should go ahead and download and install the updated drivers now.

I also want to take this opportunity to mention the importance of keeping your drivers up to date, or checking for updated drivers when you are having a technical issue, including software stability. I solve issues with Altium Designer and general system instability for Altium Users fairly regularly and the most common solution to many of these issues is simply a driver update.

In general, the first driver you will need to update, and a driver you may update frequently, is your Graphics driver.

Most commonly for an NVidia(GeForce and Quaddro) or an AMD(Radeon or FireGL)

for AMD Drivers, start here:

For NVidia drivers, start here:


The driver that is frequently overlooked is the Motherboard Chipset driver, and in the event you have a chipset driver which is not functioning well, or as good as it should, you can have general system instability, which can present itself in a variety of ways. If you aren't having issues, chances are your driver is working OK. However, if you are having stability issues, PLEASE check for an updated chipset driver for your motherboard, for the appropriate Operating System and install it.

If you have the option between using the default Chipset driver provided by Windows for your motherboard, or a more updated driver which was created by the chipset manufacturer, use the manufacturer driver. Updated drivers are typically provided to correct problems found in use.

Each motherboard has a different chipset, so first identify your chipset, then determine if there is an updated driver available for you.

Again, I just want to re-iterate the importance of drivers and to encourage you to check and update from time to time.

In some cases, you cannot get a driver direct from the card or motherboard manufacturer, sometimes you have to get it from the Computer Vendor, this is sometimes the case with certain brands and configurations of laptops which have to have special drivers created for them. In this case, you will want to check the Vendor website for your particular model(i.e. Dell, HP, IBM, etc)

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