'Sandy Bridge' driver update boosts Windows game performance
Intel's graphics driver update accelerates game performance on Windows systems with Sandy Bridge processors and Intel's HD graphics.
Brooke CrothersFormer CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Intel has released a graphics driver update for its Sandy Bridge processors that boosts performance up to 37 percent for games on Windows 7 and Vista.
"This major graphics driver update for 2nd generation Intel Core processors with Intel HD graphics improves game performance by up to 37% on ULV platforms," Intel said in a statement.
ULV--or Ultra Low Voltage--processors are Intel's most power efficient and are typically used in thin and/or compact laptops such as Hewlett-Packard's updated Pavilion dm1 and Samsung Series 9.
ULV-based systems will see the biggest performance improvement, Intel said. "It is where some of the biggest gains are seen on the driver," Intel spokesman Dave Salvator said. But
the driver update applies to all systems with Sandy Bridge processors sporting HD graphics.
Links to 32-bit and 64-bit drivers for Windows 7 and Vista are here. And note that Intel doesn't claim to have the fastest graphics chip on the block--that honor goes to Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices. But its graphics silicon does play what Intel calls "mainstream games." A list of the supported games is here.
Another slide in the same presentation stipulates that "you need ultra-high bandwidth Internet connection" to achieve this high-resolution video. The slide adds that an "MFX engine in Ivy Bridge can decode up to 4,096x4,096 resolution...Also has sufficient performance to playback multiple 4K videos."
And Ivy Bridge holds other related goodies. "Ivy Bridge will let people edit (decode, encode, transcode) 4K content into other formats," Intel's Salvator said.
Ivy Bridge will also include support for Apple's OpenCL and Microsoft's DirectX 11 graphics acceleration technologies. As well as support for USB 3.0.