Intel Accelerates Graphics Driver Releases As Its Discrete GPU Ambitions Grow

Intel Engineers

One of the keys to success is developing good habits. Intel, the most successful semiconductor company on the planet, knows a thing or two about this, though up to this point the company hasn't been all that successful in its attempts to crack the discrete graphics market. That might change with the arrival of Arctic Sound, a discrete GPU that will purportedly take aim at gaming (among other segments). In the meantime, Intel has released another GPU driver update with gaming optimizations, and in the process is developing a habit that could serve the company well down the line.

Just as AMD and NVIDIA are known to launch new GPU drivers when new games arrive, Intel has begun doing the same thing. We saw this earlier in the month when Intel released a graphics driver update supporting he April 2018 Update for Windows 10, along with bringing to the table optimized performance for Hearthstone: The Witchwood, further HDR support, and a spattering of power improvements.

Now just three weeks later, Intel is releasing another graphics driver update, this time with performance optimizations for the following games:
  • Destiny 2: Warmind
  • Dark Souls: Remastered
  • Paladins: Champions of the Realm
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
For users are running on Intel's Iris Pro Graphics or higher, the latest driver also includes performance tweaks for The Forest and Ancestors Legacy, the company said.

Granted, a GPU driver update isn't the biggest news in the world. What's notable here, however, is that Intel is getting in the habit of releasing frequent updates as new games arrive, and that will be a crucial thing if and when Intel releases a discrete GPU into the market. Gamers are a demanding bunch, and AMD and NVIDIA have set a standard by which Intel will have to meet or exceed in that regard.

In case you haven't been following, Intel brought AMD's former graphics boss Raja Koduri on board to lead its own graphics division, and then hired another former AMD employee, Chris Hook, to lead its marketing efforts in discrete graphics.

"As many of you know, it was recently announced that Intel is embarking on a journey to expand its leading position in integrated graphics for PC with high-end discrete graphics solutions for a broad range of computing segments, and will be growing its technology portfolio across computing, graphics, media, imaging and machine intelligence for clients and data centers, AI, and edge computing," Hook said at the time. "That’s a pretty exciting journey, and one I personally want to be part of. So, starting tomorrow, I’ll be assuming a new role in which I’ll be driving the marketing strategy for visual technologies and upcoming discrete graphics products."

We still don't know exactly when Intel might release a discrete GPU for gaming, nor has it announced one, but it's looking increasingly likely that it will happen.