It's only been a couple of weeks since Intel last updated its graphics drivers for Windows 10, but the blue team is back at it again with the release of version 126.96.36.19900. As per usual, the drivers include some performance improvements for gamers.
For starters, the driver adds support for a couple of new games, specifically Metal Wolf Chaos XD on Intel UHG Graphics 620 or higher. If you have Intel Iris Pro graphics or better, you can also expect support for the Shadowbringers expansion for Final Fantasy XIV as well as Beyond: Two Souls and Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
The driver also includes some welcome performance improvements for DirectX 11 titles such as Overwatch and Paladins, as well as games built on Unreal Engine 4, as is the case of Fortnite. Here's the full list of performance improvements:
- Enabled Pixel Shader SIMD Profile-Guided Optimizations, selecting the best pixel shader compilation mode automatically, to boost performance in DX11 titles including Overwatch*, Paladins* and Hearthstone*.
- Performance optimizations for Fortnite* and other Unreal Engine 4-based titles.
- DirectML D3D12 MetaCommand performance optimizations for fp16 topologies.
There's also some news for developers, who can now take advantage of new capabilities:
- Support for SPV_EXT_physical_storage_buffer extension.
- New Vulkan Extension VK_EXT_buffer_device address allows the application to query a 64-bit buffer device address for a buffer.
- Added OpenCL SPIR-V support to the public IntelGPUCompiler API on top of existing DX11 and DX12 support. IntelGPUCompiler API allows developers to compile their shaders into Intel GPU assembly instructions.
- Implemented the latest iteration of VK_KHR_swapchain (version 70) to allow binding memory from swap chain to raw images created by applications.
In addition to new capabilities, version 188.8.131.5200 includes a fairly long list of fixes and improvements, including a fix for intermittent crashes in games such as Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, World War Z, and more. It also improves HDR support. Here's the full list of fixes:
- Intermittent crashes or hangs may be observed in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered*, World War Z* (Vulkan) (1080p Medium and High Settings), Rage 2* (Vulkan) and They Are Billions*.
- Game crashes in Apex Legends* and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds* on 7th Gen Intel® Core platforms and newer when Alt+Tab keys are pressed during gameplay.
- SpecViewPerf13 crashes after launch on 8th Gen and 9th Gen Intel® Core platforms.
- Minor graphics anomalies may be observed in 3ds Max 2019, Creo 4/Creo 5 (OpenGL), NX 11/NX 12(OpenGL)
- Corruption on Direct3D 12 workloads that use placed resources.
- Color corruption observed when running 3DConnexion demo application.
- Fixed corruption issues in the Windows camera app on the following Gemini Lake processors: Intel® Pentium® Silver J5005 and N5000, and Intel® Celeron® J4005, J4105, N4100 and N4000.
- Fixed issue with resolution change when playing back Netflix content.
- Improved HDR support.
- Improved HDR support for OLED panels.
- Improved stability for Edge and Firefox browsers.
Unfortunately, despite the many fixes in this release, there are still a couple of known issues to be aware of:
- Intermittent crashes or hangs may be observed in Madden NFL19*, Stormworks: Build and Rescue* and Burnout Paradise Remastered.
- Minor graphical anomalies may be observed in Arma 3 and Madden NFL20*
Hardware requirements are, per usual, unchanged from the previous versions. Sixth-generation Intel Core processors and higher are supported, in addition to related Xeon and Pentium processors with the same GPU. The Intel Xeon E3-1500M v5 family with Intel HD Graphics P530 is also supported, as are Pentium processors with Intel HD Graphics 500 and 505 as well as UHD Graphics 600 and 605. In terms of software, you'll need to be running Windows 10 version 1709 or newer to use the latest driver.