In keeping with Intel's new focus on providing more frequent and better graphics updates, the company has unlocked its GPU drivers so that you can install the latest version on your system without your OEM supplier needing to test, approve, and list the driver on its own support page -- because most of the time OEMs simply don't do that on a regular cadence.
If there's one thing that never gets old about OEM systems it's that they often lock you into approved drivers. This is an issue that's particularly the case on Intel's graphics platforms, which is a nuisance if you're actually gaming on the system and want to stay updated with the latest drivers.
As spotted by GHacks.net, Intel's latest driver comes as an "Unlocked Driver", allowing installation on any system with a 6th-generation CPU or higher.
"Unlocked Driver: We heard how much our users want the freedom to upgrade their systems to our regularly released generic graphics drivers and enable our latest game optimizations, feature updates and fixes. Well, as of this release, Intel Graphics DCH drivers are now unlocked to upgrade freely between Computer Manufacturer (OEM) drivers and the Intel Generic graphics drivers on Download Center" reads the driver's release notes.
Of course, the group of people that are gaming on Intel's integrated GPUs today isn't huge, but with the work on discrete Xe GPUs and the integrated Xe graphics on Tiger Lake processors, there's a very good chance that the audience for these unlocked drivers will grow significantly in due time. Given that this driver also comes with stability fixes for DOOM: Eternal, The Surge 2, Black Desert Online, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, it's quite clear why a gamer would want to stay updated with the latest drivers.
Intel's new implementation still preserves original OEM settings, like custom power plans and settings, giving customers the best of both worlds.
In response to overwhelming customer feedback, AMD made a similar move last year as it allowed customers with OEM systems to finally use its mainline Radeon graphics drivers. Intel's move follows its increased focus on bulking up its drivers for regular day-zero game support.
Nvidia did this years ago for laptops, AMD did it last year, and Intel is finally joining the ship of realizing that OEMs often don't do jack squat with updating drivers.
Sometimes finding drivers for old devices (SCSI/RAID) to work on Windows Vista+ can be hard, which is why my test PC is a first gen Core i3 so I have XP, 7, And 10 installed on it and it has built in Parallel, Serial, and PCI slots for testing. Only thing is the PCI slot has the battery behind it so i have to use a PCIe to PCI riser to use those 64 Bit PCI cards for testing.