The maze of graphics drivers, regardless of the operating system, can often to be tricky to navigate. Different OSes offer different features, and different cards can do different things. AMD today released new beta drivers geared at updating the support for OpenGL across its cards and across most operating systems.
OpenGL 4.0 is supported in both Linux and Windows (XP, Vista, 7) in Radeon HD 5400 cards and above. All of those support geometry tessellation, which improves the look of models when the camera pans close by, relaxing structure when it pulls back. It also improves support for the interaction of OpenGL and OpenCL standards – which is good, since CPU-oriented GPU-acceleration is going to become more and more important.
The drivers also update ATI’s cards to support OpenGL 3.3 – all cards that are from 2007 and later are supported, including Radeon, FirePro and FireGL brands. Unfortunately, these older cards simply will never support the newer standard since it requires features baked into the hardware.
Users can download the new drivers here.