At GDC 2013, Intel told us that their latest major driver update for HD 4000 graphics is due out next week. As you may know, all 2nd-gen Ultrabooks feature 3rd-gen (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core processors which use HD 4000 graphics (if you’re confused, read this). Intel says that this is their 7th major graphics driver release since 2nd-gen (Sandy Bridge) Intel Core processors. While each release seeks to fix graphical bugs and improve performance, Intel seemed especially proud about the latest driver update which they say will increase performance by up to 10% while simultaneously lowering power consumption.
At a media event on Wednesday, Intel told us that the latest driver update for HD 4000 would be version 15.31. The driver, they said, was made for their next-gen Haswell processors, but they are now making it available for Ivy Bridge processors as well. They say that the driver will improve performance up to 10% while lowering power consumption at the same time. In simple terms: there’s no reason not to want this new driver!
In addition to performance improvements, the latest driver adds support for OpenCL 1.2 which is the latest version of that standard.
At last check there is also a new driver available for HD 3000 (used by first-gen Ultrabooks with second-gen Sandy Bridge processors), however it is unclear if it will receive any of the same performance improvements or power savings. For now we do know that it will not add support for OpenCL 1.2 for HD 3000 graphics — in fact, HD 3000 doesn’t support any version of OpenCL.
Intel says that the new HD 4000 driver is due out next week so keep your eyes peeled. The easiest way to check for and install the new driver is to use Intel’s automatic driver update tool. Even though the driver isn’t out quite yet, it’s worth checking to see if you are on the latest.
There’s news on the horizon about next-gen Haswell graphics as well. Stay tuned!