AMD’s mainline Catalyst release will no longer support graphics cards made before the Radeon HD 5000 series. The HD 4000, 3000 and 2000 cards will instead be supported in a separate driver release. Support for the older cards will be dropped from the July Catalyst release (12.7). The older cards will be supported with the 8.97-based drivers that will be released in May 2012.
AMD will be releasing drivers for the older cards every quarter and will be aimed at resolving application specific issues and delivering critical updates. “The reason for the shift in support policy is largely due to the fact that the AMD Radeon HD 2000, AMD Radeon HD 3000, and AMD Radeon HD 4000 Series have been optimized to their maximum potential from a performance and feature perspective” said AMD in a statement.
Windows 8 support for the older cards will built into the AMD graphics driver that will ship with the OS. Those drivers will also provide support for WDDM 1.1 driver level features while the Catalyst release drivers will support AMD Radeon HD 5000 cards and later and have support for WDDM 1.2.