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ATI Catalyst Control Center is an advanced software application that allows you to manipulate many of the graphics cards hardware functions, such as display and 3D settings. This program is usually bundled with the ATI graphics drivers, but does not need to be installed for the graphics card to function properly. If installed though, Catalyst Control Center is a very useful tool that allows for basic changes, such as adjusting the image quality of your display to more advanced options such as overclocking the GPU core and memory frequencies. Below we will be taking a more in depth look at this ATI software and some of its functions.
The Welcome screen allows you can check for updates, Contact Customer care, link to AMD.com or join ATI's folding@home team. These links are all found at the middle of the page, with the option to switch to the basic Control Center below and two menus that give access to more options at the top. The two top options each have a drop down menu that appears when you select them. The first menu is Graphics and this is where the options to adjust the image quality and other video settings is done. The second option is Hydravision, which is a Multi-monitor Management system that lets you alter your desktop for improved productivity. Below we will be taking a more in-depth look at Catalyst Control Centers functions and features.
Information Center & Desktop Displays:
The information center allows you to view both hardware and software details for installed ATI Radeon graphics card. Some information that can be found here is the core and memory speeds of your graphics card as well as what driver version is being used. The desktop Displays screen shows all displays connected to your system and allows you to make changes to one or multiple monitors. Here you can rotate the display image, set a primary display or use the force button, which comes with a host of features that can force you monitor to support resolutions and image qualities that may not be supported.
Desktop Properties gives you a host of options to choose from that make changes to the desktop image. Here, you can adjust your display resolution, color quality, refresh rate, and choose the rotation of the image being displayed. There are also options here to adjust the colors of the monitor by either changing the Gamma, Brightness, or Contrast.
Display Options & 3D:
Display Option simply selects how Catalyst Control Center detects your display devices, whether that be manually or done automatically when the Control center is opened. The 3D menu has several tabs at the top that allow to adjust the 3D features such as Anti-Aliasing or Anisotropic Filtering - these options can be set to either Performance, Balanced or Quality depending on your 3D needs and hardware used. The changes made here will affect games as well as 3D applications. Once nice feature here is that you can view your changes in real-time with the use of the 3D preview image.
Here you have five tabs to choose from, with all letting you adjust the quality for your video. There is a preview is with an image of a woman next to flowers and fruit, that when changes are made to the video color will be seen by this image changing to reflect the choice you made. If you find that you don't like your choice, there is a handy default tab at the bottom right that will reset all of the setting here back to stock. From here, you can also change the display quality of the video that plays though your PC.
ATI Overdrive panel gives the ability to overclock the GPU core and memory as well as adjust the fan speed. Before any of this is done though, you will need to click on the key icon which will unlock the overclocking options. Once unlocked you can manually set the frequencies for the graphics card to a value between stock and a predetermined number by ATI. The preset value that ATI sets are usually low, but this ensures no damage will be done to the graphics card from excessive overclocking. ATI has also included a Auto-Tune option for those that are new to GPU overclocking, this tool auto clocks the graphics card by adjust the core and memory in small increments and doing a self check each time it raises the frequencies. The overdrive menu also lets adjust your fan speed, check your graphics cards stability and get temperature information.
This menu has three options that let you adjust options to your screen, such as set a grid to lock applications to a certain part of your desktop or setup multiple desktops for improved multitasking. This is quite a cool feature that could come handy if you use multiple applications at once.