What the ATI Catalyst Custom Installation options mean

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 27, 2012
Updated • Dec 27, 2012
Hardware, Windows tips

I published a guide about the NVIDIA driver installation process yesterday which looked at all the optional modules that get installed with the express installation option. Most of these features may not be needed but are installed by the majority of users anyway which may mean additional startup items and processes running in the background. I promised to do the same for the ATI Catalyst installation.

I do not own an ATI card right now which makes it a bit difficult as I can't test the effect of not installing components on the system. What I can do however is explain what each component is for so that you can customize the installation and avoid installing components that may add startup items and processes to the system despite the fact that you may not make use of their features at all.

ati catalyst custom installation

  • AMD APP SDK Runtime - This is the Runtime of the SDK, which you need if you use programs that use OpenCL.  If you are not sure, I'd suggest you do not install it and see what happens. You can run the installer at any time later on to install the component if you happen to need it.
  • ATI Display Driver - You should install the driver obviously to get the most out of your video card.
  • HDMI/DP Audio Driver - This is similar to NVIDIA's HD Audio Driver. You only need it if you use audio via HDMI, for instance when you connect the card to a HD TV.
  • AVIVO - A software package to use the graphics processor for video related tasks including video decoding, encoding and processing. You only need to install that if you use software that makes use of that, and then only if you want it to be used.
  • HydraVision - This is AMD's multi-monitor management software which provides you among other things with virtual desktops and options to manage those virtual or physical desktops efficiently. You do not need to install the software even if you have multiple monitors connected to your PC as they will just work fine without HydraVision.
  • AMD Drag and Drop Transcoding - Seems only useful if you are running Windows 7 or newer versions of Windows and connect portable media players to the system that make use of Windows 7 Device Stage. Chance is high that you do not, and even if you do, you have other options to transcode files to put them on your media player.
  • Wmv9 vc-1 video playback - I could not really find out much about this component, it seems to accelerate video playback of WMV9 contents. I'd go with my guts on this one and say it is not really needed unless you play lots of wmv9 video files. Also seems to only be compatible with Windows 7 or newer.
  • Catalyst Control Center - This is an optional component. Install if you want to fiddle around with settings and do not use a third party alternative such as ATI Tray Tools or Riva Tuner.

Hope that helps AMD / ATI  users who have troubles making decisions what to install during driver installation. If you have any questions or corrections fire away.


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  1. jon said on March 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Great job! thx!

  2. Tanmoy Das said on December 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I hava sony vaio laptop, Sony does not provide latest ati driver and amd says contact your manufacturer !! Is there any method to update driver??

  3. Pablo said on December 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you, Martin!

  4. Q said on December 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    There may also be an option to install a Microsoft Visual C++ redistributable. The redistributable is not necessary to use the Display driver.

    I have not tried instaling an AMD/ATI driver package since the their early 12.x series. After the 11.x series AMD only made available combined component packages. Theses packages included many components some of which, their installation was not optional during instalation. To prevent such components from installing the individual components (which were segregated) could be removed from an extracted installation package.

    After the Microsoft .NET Framework should also be removed from installation. The .NET Framework is not necessary for the display driver to function. Catalyst Control Center seems to be the only option to configure more advanced display driver options for newer AMD/ATI video cards. Because there appears to be no easy was to configure the newer AMD/ATI cards without the .NET Framework, I recommend avoiding the newer AMD/ATI video cards (I believe they are the Radeon HD 4xxx and newer series) where possible.

  5. Maou said on December 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks for the review.
    No driver updates since 10/22…

  6. JohnMWhite said on December 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I always wondered what the point of Hydravision was, it never seemed to have any options I would actually use. Windows’ own multi-monitor support did the same things.

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