and what does a catalyst do ?
AMD Catalyst software is an installation package bundle of the display adapter, the hdmi audio driver, the Catalyst Control Center, among others.
It is a complete gpu driver suite designed to provide you with all the necessary and optional software to maximise the performance of your display adapter in games and applications in general.
When running the installer of this software suite, you can choose to express install all or make a custom install of specific drivers/ software.
For more info visit the official AMD site:
Link to download latest supported drivers from AMD:
If the system restore that stumped suggested does not help, a clean reinstall of windows may be needed.
That would give you a clear idea if something is wrong with your hardware or software.
gigabyte X58A-UD3R rev.2, core i7 975 3.9ghz (stock voltage), windows 8.1 64-bit, corsair 12gb DDR3 1600mhz 7-7-7-20 RAM, xfx HD 5970 + gigabyte HD 5970 (stock clocks), coolermaster ultimate 900w PSU.
amd catalyst 14.7 RC3 aug12