Intel boosts Haswell graphics performance

September 9, 2014 // 11:19 a.m.

Tags: #arc #broadwell #cmaa #core-m #gaming #gpgpu #gpu #haswell #igp #intel #intel-core-m #intel-hd-graphics #intel-hd-graphics-5300 #iris #iris-pro #opencl

Intel has released a new graphics driver for its integrated GPU hardware, promising a performance boost of up to 30 per cent on selected devices - including Microsoft's Surface Pro 3.

Designed specifically for the fourth-generation Haswell Intel Core family and applicable to the Intel HD Graphics, Iris and top-end Iris Pro graphics processor hardware, the new drivers' main focus is on improving general-purpose GPU (GPGPU) offload performance. The result, Intel claims, is a 30 per cent increase for selected OpenCL applications, something that should come as a welcome bonus for media-heavy use. For gamers, the drivers promise mild improvements of 3-7 per cent in games like Battlefield 4 and Civilization 5, rising as high as 84 per cent and 106 per cent in the less demanding Doom 3: BFG Edition and League of Legends.

Using Intel's Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing in place of traditional Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA,) the driver package is claimed to allow for higher-quality images with no performance impact. More importantly for Surface Pro 3 owners, and those of other Haswell-based portables, the drivers are claimed to boost battery life while playing casual titles like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja using a technique dubbed Adaptive Rendering Control (ARC) which disables rendering when it detects no changes between frames.

The driver bundle also adds support for Intel's latest Broadwell-based Core M processor family and its Intel HD Graphics 5300 hardware. With no chips yet in customers hands, however, this is more of a footnote than a must-have reason for upgrading.

The new drivers can be downloaded from Intel's website, while the release notes are available in full here (PDF warning.)
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