Intel released new graphics drivers to prepare for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update’s debut and offer an early release of the new Intel Graphics Command Center (IGCC) software interface.
Microsoft announced on April 4 that it would release the next major update to Windows 10 in May. We’ll believe that when we actually have the update installed on our systems; the Windows 10 October 2018 Update’s stutter-stop release cycle doesn’t give us a whole lot of faith in the company’s schedule.
But early support from Intel could help the Windows 10 May 2019 Update see a smoother release than its predecessor. The previous update had numerous issues with various Intel firmware, first with audio drivers and then with display drivers, so hopefully similar issues won’t pop up next month.
Prepping for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update means this new driver is WDDM 2.6 compliant and that it adds support for the new DirectX 12 Shader Model 6.4 compiler on 7th generation or newer Intel Core processors featuring integrated Intel HD Graphics 610 or better. We suspect Intel will make more changes after the update drops.
The other highlight of this driver is the IGGC early release build. Intel described this utility as “a software interface that provides consumers a modern design to optimize their visual experience” that was “built on community feedback and designed for simplicity and ease of use” above all else.
Intel said IGGC will “provide one-click optimization of in-game settings based on the user’s hardware,” allow people to “create custom game profiles to directly tune individual game settings” and help “consumers understand graphics settings with simple explanations and before and after images to recognize how each setting will tax their hardware.”
Nvidia and AMD offer similar utilities for their graphics products. Intel’s decision to develop the IGGC likely stems from its work on the Intel Xe graphics card, Intel's first attempt at a discrete GPU that's expected to arrive in 2020. But that it doesn’t mean it can’t help those who choose (or are forced) to use integrated GPUs.
Intel said the driver also features “support for PSO cache for Compute Shaders,” performance improvements for D3D12 MetaCommands in DirectML, better performance in PC games Anno 1800, World War Z and Unheard on Intel UHD Graphics 620 or higher and fixes for various errors in older titles. These are all likely part of Intel’s efforts to improve its graphics driver program for Xe.
The driver is available from Intel’s website.