Gigabyte Releases DRM Fix Tool For Alder Lake To Make It Easier To Run Broken Games

Intel Alder Lake
When we tested Intel's latest and greatest desktop CPUs, the 12th-generation Core family codenamed "Alder Lake," we found them to have world-beating gaming performance. That's thanks in large part to the refinements made to its "Golden Cove" P-cores over the "Willow Cove" cores used in Rocket Lake, which we can infer from the recent RPCS3 demo comparing the two at the same clock rate and feature set.

Of course, that only applies to the games that they can actually run. Due to Alder Lake's as-yet-unique (in the PC space) hybrid configuration with two separate pools of cores, certain video game DRM protections get confused and see the second set of cores as another system. That causes the DRM protections to screech their whistle and kill the game altogether, preventing affected titles from even running. We've published a list of affected titles already, but that list may not be comprehensive.

Intel says that it's working with DRM vendors to get patches out the door, but the release of those patches is likely going to be down to the game publishers themselves, and game publishers are notoriously reticent when it comes to patching older games.

Fortunately, there's a workaround, although it's kind of a pain. If you reboot into your system's UEFI setup utility, there should be an option to disable some or all of the CPU's E-cores. This leaves your processor with only its P-cores enabled, although in the extant Alder Lake CPUs, you're still looking at six or more CPU cores available—and those P-cores can stretch their legs a little, thanks to the spare thermal and power headroom. Doing this may also allow you to enable AVX-512 instructions, depending on your motherboard firmware.

gigabyte drm tool
Gigabyte's simplistic "DRM fix tool."

If you have a Gigabyte Z690 motherboard, however, there is now another option that will let you skip the reboot altogether. Gigabyte has published a Windows utility, titled somewhat confusingly as "DRM fix tool," that allows you to quickly disable your CPU's E-cores without restarting the machine. Using the tool requires a specific motherboard BIOS version, which you can check on the download page.

If you have an Alder Lake system built around one of the compatible Gigabyte motherboards and give the new DRM Fix tool a shot, let us know how it goes in the comments below.