has released a new graphics driver
for its Sandy Bridge integrated CPUs that it claims delivers significantly improved performance in a number of titles. Listed gains are reprinted below:
In addition, the new driver purportedly fixes intermittent crashing when an HDMI monitor is connected, WebGL rendering issues in both Chrome and Firefox, and cleans up artifacts that were formerly present in Assassin's Creed, Darkspore, TES:Oblivion, Empire:Total War, F1 2010, and Starcraft 2. Corruption issues in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Crysis, and Dragon Age 2 were also attended to. Finally, the driver package includes an updated OpenGL driver.
One thing this release inadvertently highlights is how much Intel's GPU driver improvement program lags behind its competition. Intel's previous GPU driver was released five months ago. NVIDIA has released three WHQL driver updates over the same time period, while ATI has released five.
We don't want to sound overly critical--Intel's GPUs are far more compatible with modern games than they were just a few years ago, and relative performance has improved tremendously over the same time period. If the company wants to seriously compete with ATI
GPUs, however, it's going to have to pick up the pace.
As integrated GPUs become more powerful, the number of people using them for gaming will increase, and the need for up-to-date drivers that can handle recently shipped titles becomes greater. Many of the bugs Intel fixed are in games that've been on the market for a year or more.