Help me! I don't understand this! (new question added)

I tried the thread on getting blender to run better, but it makes absolutely no sense. All I know is I have an ATI card. I hear terms like driver, OpenGL, and I’m afraid that I’m mising a lot. “Upgrade your driver.” What does that mean? What’s a driver? What’s OpenGL? Why does my computer suck with blender and only blender? This is on my new Windows XP equipped laptop. I went to ATI support. Catalyst? Drivers? I’m so lost! I keep hearing things like “Upgrade the driver with new OpenGL code into the blender . . .” Yarrgh!!!

Okay, I’m ranting. I just don’t understand why people won’t say this in plain English. Every answer to the questions in the other threads is gibberish to me. If I brought this in to Best Buy for the warranty, would they know what to do?

A driver is software that makes your hardware work. Catalyst drivers are the software that your ATI graphics card uses, new versions come out every month or so with improvements, to make some things run better etc. In the case of Blender, any driver older than the Cat 3.9 driver causes Blender to get major slowdown, this is because the part of the driver that controls opengl (basically a way of running graphics) has changed since Cat 3.9 and makes Blender run worse.

So, go to>downloads> etc. and download the catalyst driver there (not a beta version, meaning incomplete and currently being tested).
This isn’t for Blender, just to help other programs work better so good to do.

Then go into this forum under

And follow the guide (second post I think). You will have to download the catalyst 3.9 driver (or before) , do a google search and you should find it.
This thread in the link instructs you how to get the opengl part from the cat 3.9 driver and get Blender to use it.

I followed this guide and it worked fine for me, I use a Rad 9800 pro. To find out what graphics card you have, go to the desktop, right click>properties. Go to settings and look around and it should say the name of your graphics card.

Hope this helps.

a driver is a piece of software that makes the “bridge” between the operating system and a particular piece of hardware. for ATI cards, the drivers are called “catalyst” (because it sounds so stylish). usually frivers are upgraded as time passes by, so they have a version number. the changes might be minor, but also might involve things that make some software run better - or worse.

OpenGL is more or less a library of drawing routines which is used to make drwing 3D elements easier. that is, if you need to draw a triangle in 3D space, you don’t need to dig deep into assembler (machine code), but simply say “draw a triangle at the particular position with that color etc”. the OpenGL library takes care of how that is “really” done.

OpenGL can be hardware accelerated, which means the drawing commands don’t need to be executed by the CPU but by the video card. also here dirvers play an important role.

… thats all i can tell after 5 beers :wink:

Thanks for the help!!! :smiley:

You can also download older versions of catalyst from ati on their driver page. One warning: Do not mess around with the advanced driver settings unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. I’m not kidding. You can really screw up blender in there. :expressionless:


Well, I turned down the Hardware acceleration, and blender works much better. Did this have some risks that I’m not aware of? Like digitalme mentioned?

when you turn down hardware acceleration things run slower, and sometimes some features [of your graphics card] become unsupported

unless you play games, the features stopping working should not be noticable [blender currently does not use any of these features that are unsupported when hardware accerlation is disabled],


blender will be able to run faster on a reasonable card with hardware acceleration on

Can I turn the acceleration back up when I play games, then?

Does making adjustments on the hardware acceleration have any nonreversible effects?

No, you can always turn it back up.