For some very awkward reason, Intel has not posted a version of its Xe-LP graphics driver for its Rocket Lake processors on its website. The drivers are also not available from Intel's motherboard partners, which causes quite some confusion as this essentially renders the new Rocket Lake's Intel UHD Graphics featuring the Xe-LP architecture useless. However, there is a workaround for those who need it.
Intel's main angle with its Rocket Lake processors for desktops is gaming, which is why it praises its Core i9-11900K and Core i7-11700K CPUs with a 125W TDP. Such systems rarely use integrated graphics, so enthusiasts do not really care about the availability of Xe-LP drivers for their chips. But the Rocket Lake family also includes multiple 65W and 35W processors that are designed for mainstream or low-power machines that use integrated GPUs.
For some reason, there are no drivers for Rocket Lake's Intel UHD Graphics integrated GPU based on the Xe-LP architecture on Intel's website, as noticed by AdoredTV. Intel's motherboard partners do offer different versions of Intel's Graphics Driver (which adds to the confusion) released in 2021, but none of them officially supports Rocket Lake's integrated graphics, according to VideoCardz.
The absence of the Xe-LP drivers for Rocket Lake processors from official websites is hardly a big problem as there is an easy workaround for the problem. Instead of using an automatic driver installation wizard that comes in an .exe format, you can download a .zip file with the same driver (version 18.104.22.16816 at press time), then install it using Windows 10's Update Driver feature with a Have Disk option, then hand pick the Intel Iris Xe Graphics.
Since Rocket Lake's integrated GPU is based on the same architecture as Tiger Lake's GPU, the graphics core will work just as it should. This option will work with experienced DIYers, but it might be tricky for an average user.
Unlike do-it-yourselfers, OEMs and PC makers will not use a workaround as the latest official driver has never been validated for the Rocket Lake family. Fortunately, at least some OEMs have access to 'official' Rocket Lake graphics drivers.
"We have drivers flowing to OEMs for a while now," said Lisa Pierce, Intel vice president and director of graphics software engineering, in a Twitter post on April 2. "The delay was in a public posting with our unified graphics driver flow and we will work it post ASAP."
She did not elaborate on when exactly the driver will be posted to Intel.com and whether it needs to pass WHQL validation before that. Meanwhile, on April 1 Pierce said that Rocket Lake drivers were several weeks away.