Performance-boosting Intel IGP drivers are out

Yesterday afternoon, Scott wrote about Intel's latest efforts in the integrated graphics department, and he mentioned a new driver—version 15.31—that's supposed to boost performance by as much as 10% on Ivy Bridge IGPs. The driver wasn't out when we published the article...

...but it is now. You can grab the update here for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and 8, or here for 32-bit flavors of those same OSes. The driver supports HD Graphics, HD Graphics 2500, and HD Graphics 4000 IGPs on Ivy Bridge 3rd-Generation Core processors.

Intel's release notes (PDF) outline the kinds of performance increases user can expect:

The driver has other improvements in store, as well. Intel says users can now tap into the IGP for OpenCL acceleration—or use the processor's QuickSync video acceleration block—"even when Intel® HD Graphics is not the primary display adapter," provided the system is running Windows 8 and has the new driver installed. Intel doesn't go into specifics about how this works, but by the look of it, we might finally have an alternative to Lucid's Virtu software for enabling QuickSync with discrete GPUs installed.

Also included in the 15.31 driver: support for OpenCL 1.2. Intel has tested more games to ensure compatibility, too, and it's fixed bugs in a handful of titles. (Check the release notes for the specifics.) Additionally, "several optimizations to reduce the system power consumption" have been added. The optimizations can cause a "minor performance drop," which users can counteract by choosing the "High Performance" power preset in Windows and the "Maximum Performance" preset in the Intel control panel.

Thanks to SH SOTN for the heads up on this one.

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