On Wednesday, Intel introduced a new graphics driver for its Iris and Iris Pro GPUs on Intel Core "Haswell" processors. The driver is offered in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, promising "significant" performance improvements with the company's Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing (CMAA), which smooths the visually annoying jaggies in games for the PC.
Intel's release notes state that CMAA offers a higher-quality anti-aliasing effect without a performance impact when compared to MLAA and FXAA. To turn it on, customers merely head into the Intel Graphics control panel. The trick is that the feature must be turned on before playing a game and then turned off after the gamer is done so that "unintended" blurring doesn't take place in other applications.
"To reduce the probability of unintended blurring, certain applications are automatically excluded from the support list: Windows Explorer, login screen, Windows home screen, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox browsers, and the Windows 8.1 Photo application," the release notes said.
In addition to the CMAA performance, Intel announced that this driver enhances the performance of Batman Arkham City (10 percent), Brink (12 percent), Doom 3: BFG Edition (84 percent), F1 2012 (8 percent), Hitman: Absolution (10 percent), and Sleeping Dogs (11 percent). Even more, games that receive an FPS gain between 3 percent and 7 percent include Battlefield 4, Civilization V, Deus Ex, Metro 2033, Rage, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Sniper Elite 2.
According to a list of new features, the driver provides up to 30 percent performance improvement in OpenCL applications, improvements to the control panel, and battery life improvement in casual games, aka "Adaptive Rendering".
Intel points out that many casual games, such as Angry Birds, have very little change on the screen; the same scene is rendered in each frame. That's a waste of power, the company indicates, and impacts the life of the battery. With the new Adaptive Rendering feature, the driver compares each frame and manages the frame rate to save power. If the scenery in the frames keeps changing, then Intel's tech doesn't interfere.
Adaptive Rendering is not turned on when the computer is set to maximum performance or when the computer is plugged into an electrical outlet.
The full release notes are located here in a PDF format.