Originally Posted by ElMikeTheMike
The Winner: Catalyst 6.12
Yep, I did a similar analysis using just synthetic benchmarks several months ago comparing a version of the Omega drivers with a contemporary version of the Cat drivers. I also found there was very little difference between the two different drivers and most of the time the Cat drivers won out...
I personally believe that the alternative drivers out there for ATi GPU based cards are, in most circumstances, no better than the standard ATi ones. I've come to the conclusion that these alternatives are more hype, than extra performance. In your comparisons there is less than a 1% difference between the 3DMark performance and less than 2% in the game benchmark performance and those percentages favour the Cat drivers. I found very similar results when comparing the Omega and Cat drivers too...
I've read people claiming the alternative drivers superiority over the ATi Cat drivers many times, but I've never seen any hard proof that there is a significant difference in gaming or benchmark performance between the Catalysts and any other alternative.
Maybe the performance difference varies between graphics cards and maybe between systems, but overall, I'd have to say that the alternatives to the ATi Catalyst drivers are not really worth the time they take to download and install...