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Intel Releases First Public Graphics Drivers, Optimized For Xe GPUs


Intel & Microsoft have joined hands to optimize Coalition’s latest title, Gears Tactics, for the PC platform, offering support for its upcoming Xe GPUs. Along with the support for its GPUs, Intel announced its first public graphics driver which is available to download directly from its official driver webpage.

Intel & Microsoft Join Hands To Optimize Gears Tactics For Next-Gen Xe GPU Architecture – Intel’s First Public Graphics Drivers Also Released

Developed by The Coalition and Splash Damage studios, Gears Tactics is the latest title in the Gears franchise which has been released for the PC platform. The game is a turn-based strategy game & focuses on expanding the Gears lore by introducing new game mechanics. Intel has announced the latest graphics driver which is fully optimized for Gears Tactics and also XCOM: Chimera Squad which is another turn-based strategy game.

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The latest graphics driver from Intel, 26.10.100.8141, not only adds optimizations for the said titles but also includes several bug fixes. You can grab the latest drivers from this link. Following is the release log of the driver:

Highlights

Gears Tactics* and XCOM: Chimera Squad* verified playable on Intel Iris Plus graphics or better.

Unlocked drivers: 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 enhancements, feature updates, and fixes. 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. Simply use the exe and enjoy the update on your 6th Generation Intel Processor platform or higher, and don’t worry about your OEM customizations–they remain intact with each upgrade and the OEMs can maintain customizations separately via Microsoft* Windows Update. Intel Drivers and Support Assistant drivers will also be unlocked starting April 28th, 2020. 

Developer Highlights

OneAPI Level Zero Runtime*i pre-production release is now included. Please refer to the specification below.

This is a DCH driver.

Fixed Issues

  • Intermittent crashes may be seen in DOOM: Eternal* (Vulkan), The Surge 2* (Vulkan), Spark AR Studio* on 6th Generation Intel Core processors and higher.
  • Black Desert Online* may exit upon loading the game on10th Generation Intel Core processors with Intel Iris® Plus graphics.
  • Minor Graphics anomalies may be observed in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege* (Vulkan) on 10th Generation Intel Core processors with Intel Iris® Plus graphics.
  • Display Color may be observed when changing Saturation in Intel Graphics Command Center on 10th Generation Intel Core processors with Intel Iris® Plus graphics.
  • Corruption observed followed by TDR while trying to maximize and minimize the content in the Power DVD application.

Known Issues

  • Intermittent crashes may be seen in Red Dead Redemption 2* (Vulkan), BeamNG.drive*, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4*, Star Control: Origins, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint (Vulkan), Metro Exodus (DX12), and while launching Sony Catalyst Production Suite.

  • Minor Graphics anomalies may be observed in Battlefield V* (DX12), and Zombie Army 4: Dead War* (Vulkan).

Following is a list of all the hardware configurations supported by the latest driver:

Microsoft states that they worked with Intel to specifically optimize the title for the next-generation Xe-LP graphics architecture which would be featured in Tiger Lake CPUs launching in mid of 2020. It is revealed that the title will support Variable Rate Shading (VRS), enhanced Async Compute & more optimization that would translate to fantastic performance across the upcoming Intel Xe graphics architecture.

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To make sure a wide range of PC specifications were supported, The Coalition worked with Intel on specific optimizations. Two areas that offer broad performance improvements are covered here.

Variable Rate Shading
Variable Rate Shading (or VRS), is a relatively new technique. It’s used to adjust the number of pixels affected by a pixel shader, which is a fragment of code that runs on every pixel drawn to the screen.
With VRS, surrounding pixels can also be affected by a pixel shader, resulting in less overall work for the GPU. Working with Intel, this setting was built to improve performance without making a highly noticeable change to image quality.

Async Compute
Async Compute is a method of running graphics workloads in parallel. Working with Intel, this setting has been expanded from a similar implementation in Gears 5 to support more workloads in parallel across different types of hardware.

This is definitely great news as far as Intel’s GPU and Graphics development program is concerned. We will get to see the first implementation of these drivers in mid of 2020 and discrete boards later in 2020.



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