Intel has released a new version of its Arc Graphics Windows DCH Driver. Version 126.96.36.1993 Beta is notable for introducing support for some higher-end mobile Arc GPUs, the A770M and A550M Graphics. Also debuting in this release is a long-promised settings toggle (Advanced Performance Optimizations) enabling users to switch 3DMark benchmark optimizations on and off . Previously this has been on by default, and delivered 15% better benchmark scores than otherwise possible. There are some new games with 'Intel Game On Driver support' for Arc GPU owners too, namely; Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, F1 2022, and Arcadegeddon. The driver also has fixes for Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition (DX12), Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12) among others.
So far Intel has only rolled out its lower-end A300 family GPUs for laptops and desktops. Hopefully this new driver adding support for the A770M and A550M Graphics indicates we should be ready for another mobile spurt. Sadly, it looks like Intel is releasing its GPUs in China first for the time being.
These two mobile GPUs were mentioned in a resource file that was bundled with an earlier Intel driver, published in mid-May, so it is good to see some GPUs from that list go official and it gives weight to that list.
In late March, Intel VP and GM of the Visual Compute Group, Lisa Pearce, promised a UI option to turn off benchmarking optimizations in the Arc GPU Driver by the end of April. It never came, but today Intel Arc GPU users can toggle off optimizations and run both 3DMark Timespy and 3DMark Port Royale for verified / certified / approved scores. Intel reasons that it can optimize for apps like 3DMark Timespy in the same way that it does for games, but this activity is against the UL Benchmarks rules.
As its rivals do, Intel has taken the opportunity to deliver games optimizations with the new driver release. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, F1 2022, and Arcadegeddon, are all boosted by Intel Game On Driver support – but remember that these optimizations are for Arc GPU users only.
While on the topic of gaming, the driver 188.8.131.523 Beta release notes mention a host of fixes for issues in titles such as; Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition (DX12), Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12), F1 2020 (DX12), Crossfire (DX9), Euro Truck Simulator 2 (DX11), The Sims 4 (DX9), and Ghostwire Tokyo (DX12). A plethora of known issues remain, but we can take comfort in them being known.
The new beta driver supports laptop systems packing Alder Lake-H and -P processors with Xe and UHD iGPUs, plus laptops with Arc mobile graphics, on systems running Windows 10 20H2 and newer.