Intel graphics drivers go universal with release

One subtlety of the Windows 10 October Update (also known as version 1809) that may have been lost among its many growing pains is that it's the first widely-released version of Windows 10 that requires the use of Windows Modern Drivers (an initiative that might also go by the name of Universal Windows Drivers, or UWDs). The benefit of WMDs, according to Microsoft, is that a device maker such as Intel can write a base driver that can be certified and deployed to every machine with a given piece of hardware—including OEM systems—via Windows Update.

OEMs can still add customization of their own to a WMD, but those customizations are the only thing an OEM is responsible for validating. That way, Microsoft can test base drivers on every system with compatible hardware by way of its Windows Insider flighting, instead of worrying about distributing machine-specific custom driver packages to certain systems only.

For its part, Intel is on board with the WMD initiative, and it plans to begin distributing Windows Modern Driver packages for compatible operating systems this month. The company released its first WMD driver today, although it's wisely using the Universal Windows Driver acronym to preface the version number of that release. Beyond the new driver model, UWD includes some new features and game support.

Previously supported
auto-optimized titles
Newly supported
auto-optimized titles

American Truck Simulator
Battlefield 1
Battlefield 4
Call of Duty WWII
Destiny 2
Dota 2
Grand Theft Auto V
League of Legends
World of Tanks

Fallout 4
Far Cry 5
Path of Exile
The Sims 4
Borderlands 2
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds
Rocket League
The Witcher 3

The driver adds 12 new games to the auto-tuning support list for Intel IGPs and Radeon RX Vega M graphics processors, bringing the total number of supported titles to 22. Furthermore, the optimization utility in the Intel Graphics Control Panel can now rescan a system for new games to optimize without requiring a system reboot.

Furthermore, release includes support for Valve's new digital card game Artifact, plus optimizations for Eternal Card Game and Farming Simulator 2019. Intel further says that users with Iris Pro graphics or better can dive into Grip Combat Racing. Among other improvements in this release, Intel says RAM consumption should be lower when running OpenGL titles, battery life should be improved when using Display Refresh Rate Switching on supported monitors, and that its Vulkan driver should be more stable in general.

Concept art for Artifact. Source: Valve

As for specific bug fixes in this release, minor graphics anomalies should no longer appear in NBA 2K19, FIFA 19's DirectX 12 mode, or in Assassin's Creed Origins. Intermittent crashes should no longer occur in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, FIFA 19's DirectX 12 mode, or in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.

Windows Advanced Display Settings should now show the proper bit depth on primary monitors, a custom resolution of 980x588 at 60 Hz should now appear for monitors that support it, three or more virtual displays should work under the driver's Extended Configuration mode, and intermittent crashes or hangs should no longer occur with Miracast in extended mode on Pentium Silver and Celeron CPUs. Finally, Battlefield 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition should no longer experience the minor performance regressions of the last Intel driver release.

Before installing this driver, Intel warns that attempting to bypass its installer executable with the "Have Disk" method available in Windows will result in system instability ranging from "minor to major." Intel also cautions that users attempting to roll back from this driver will need to first uninstall it from the "Apps and Features" section of the Windows 10 settings menu before installing a legacy driver. As with bypassing the installer executable, Intel cautions that attempting to roll back without first uninstalling this driver could have "minor to catastrophic issues."

If all those warnings aren't deterring you from giving the release a shot, you can find a list of Skylake and newer CPUs that can work with UWDs on the driver download page. If you're interested, you can also peruse the release notes for the driver on Intel's site. Thanks to TR tipster SH SOTN for the heads-up.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options