Intel's self-imposed deadline to deliver an Arc GPU driver update has come and gone. VideoCardz noticed the timing error by Intel, but its headline suggesting that Intel "forgot" about the update seems somewhat fanciful. Instead, it might be more realistic to assume Intel's GPU software update isn't ready for some technical reason.
VP and GM at Intel Visual Compute Group, Lisa Pearce, previously wrote in a community blog post that "By the end of April, we will add a UI option that allows users to toggle these benchmark specific optimizations on and off." This would be a change of importance to some, as the newest currently available Arc driver version 18.104.22.1680 (dated April 8, 2022) features optimizations for benchmarking enabled, which can provide up to 15% better scores in tests like 3DMark.
Intel subsequently apologized for the limited rollout and said that Samsung laptops with Intel Arc would start to roll out in due course. Moreover, it added, "Additional OEMs in other regions will have systems in the coming weeks." Hopefully, Intel and its partners won't wait until the end of this quarter (June 30) for us to see products readily available online and on shelves.
Intel currently maintains several driver releases, which makes things unnecessarily complicated for users manually searching for the latest driver. We noted above that the newest driver for Intel Arc A370M Graphics and Intel Arc A350M Graphics is at version 22.214.171.1240. Intel also maintains a main branch driver, which is at v.1660, and a beta at version 934. Some might hope for a unified driver to become the norm that is updated as regularly as GPU drivers from AMD and Nvidia.
Intel launched its first Arc Alchemist GPUs (for Mobile) on March 30th, which was nearly the last possible date within its previously stated Q1 2022 timeframe (the rhyme says March has 31 days). However, as we reported a few days after the deadline seemingly passed without any launch, only one Samsung laptop configuration with the entry-level Arc A350M GPU was released in South Korea at the time.
It is worth reminding readers of Intel's latest stated Arc GPU release schedule from mid-February. Above, you can see we will finally see desktop Arc GPUs released before June 30. It is natural to wish that a decent range of add-in-cards will emerge shortly, not just in a geographically limited way.
Yesterday we heard that Intel would use Computex as the springboard for its Arc GPU desktop release event, which would be both sensible and timely.