Intel Rolls Out First ‘Day 0, Launch Ready’ Graphics Driver – Software Side Shaping Up For Dedicated GPU Run


Intel recently rolled out its GPU driver alongside the Windows 10 April launch and while it contained significant quality and power efficiency improvements in itself, perhaps one of the more monumental changes happened behind the scenes: this is the company's first day 0, launch-ready graphics driver release - a milestone for the software side that will in the coming years have to deal with dedicated graphics products as well.

Intel rolls out first launch-ready, day 0, graphics driver (for Windows 10 April update) as software side shapes up for discrete GPU ramp

Now that Intel is getting serious about discrete graphics, the software side will be seen stepping up the ante (similar to what AMD did with its Crimson driver packages) as they pave the way to dedicated graphics products. Since Intel has mostly been part of only the integrated side of GPU tech, in most use cases the mission criticality (so to speak) wasn't really a big problem and even a delay of one or two months was justifiable if you could get a corresponding amount of quality assurance in the process.

Lisa Pearce and her team is heading the software side of things for graphics at Intel.

But considering the scope of the company's ambitions has increased, it's interesting to see the software side ramping up their efforts and probably foreshadows the day that we will see Intel take its first chunk of the discrete GPU market share. This recent release by Intel is the first time the company has rolled out a launch day, day 0 driver with complete RTM and Intel PV alignment. To those of us who are reading between the lines, it is clear that they are getting very serious about dedicated graphics and realize that the hardware can only ever be as good as the software.

So what's the hullabaloo about?

  • In the past, Intel posted new graphics (and any WinOS drivers really) one-two months after RTM aligned with Intel platform PV.
  • This time Graphics Software Engineering Director, Lisa Pearce and her team went for day 0 RTM alignment.
  • This is a key milestone if Intel wants to tackle launch day gaming drivers for its discrete products someday and one of the initial signs of the software side shaping up to meet the company's new ambitions.

It goes without saying that drivers can make or break a product and considering the fact that AMD is usually praised for its 'fine wine' philosophy, it's refreshing to see the new entrant taking the time to do everything right.

I suspect we will start to hear a lot more from her team once Arctic Sound and Jupiter Sound (Intel's rumored discrete platforms) start to enter prototyping stage. It's also worth mentioning that the driver package provided with Kaby Lake-G was absolutely fantastic and was almost certainly a step up from the traditional iGPU interface I am used to. If that is a hint of what Intel has planned for its main course, then I think we are in good hands.

The changelog is shown below:

New in this driver (via Reddit):

  • WDDM v2.4 support for the 1803/1804 RS4 April OS update
  • Support for Hearthstone: The Witchwood
  • Improved HDR/EDR support
  • Support for Direct X 12 shader model 6.2
  • Supports the new task manager which displays GPU frequency and power status
  • Vulkan® 1.1 Support
  • fixed: Graphics anomalies may be observed in Warhammer: Vermintide 2* Main Menu, NieR: Automata, Atomega, Final Fantasy XV, and Split/Second*
  • fixed: PowerDVD may issue “error code: 0107” which stops the media playback while resuming back from sleep
  • fixed: Intermittent alerts may be triggered on some systems by a file from the Intel® Graphics driver installation process
  • fixed: Corruption may be seen in some systems while desktop sharing or while using remote applications