Back in June, Intel released new drivers for its integrated graphics installed in a number of its Core, Core M, Pentium, Celeron, and Xeon E3-1500M v5 family of processors (pdf). Intel said the new driver set fixed numerous problems causing hangs, crashes, and graphical corruptions previously experienced in applications and PC games. Now Microsoft has given these new Intel HD Graphics drivers the green light to be used on its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices.
In other words, Microsoft is behaving like a true notebook OEM. Although AMD, Nvidia, and Intel continuously release fresh new drivers to the general public, that doesn’t mean they’re compatible with notebook hardware configurations. Notebook components generally can’t be swapped out save for the hard drive and memory, so everything mounted inside needs to work in harmony. OEMs typically customize all drivers to insure that hardware does just that, but the updates are extremely low or seemingly non-existent.
On the Microsoft front, the company apparently spent the last month testing Intel’s new HD Graphics driver on its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices before giving a thumbs up and offering them via Windows Update. Thus, Microsoft can provide customer support if anything goes wrong after the new drivers are installed. Had they not gone through Microsoft’s approval, the company wouldn’t have been able to provide support based on unfamiliar, untested software.
“We’re especially pleased to report that this driver also fixes some long standing and frequently reported graphics issues on Intel’s Support Community, including a scaling issue with Windows 10, and an error found when playing a particular,” Intel said in its release notes last month.
Some of the key issues the new Intel drivers fix include graphics corruption experienced on Windows 10 in Just Cause 3, Forza Apex, XCOM 2, and Ark Survival: Evolved. Another Windows 10 issue solved was a blank screen popping up in League of Legends, a system hang while resuming from Sleep/Hibernation while WiDi is turned on, and a potential crash when playing back videos over WiDi or Miracast.
Overall, most of the fixes the new drivers provide are related to Windows 10, which is installed on the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices launched at the end of October 2015. Both units have seen numerous problems since their release, such as poor performance, high temperatures during standby, unexpected reboots, and so on. A good chunk of the major issues were resolved in a huge update released in April. Hopefully, the new Intel graphics drivers resolve a number of remaining problems.
Unfortunately, the new Intel drivers have yet to address crash/hanging problems with a number of PC games running on its integrated graphics chips including Doom (2016), Ashes of the Singularity, Batman Arkham Knight, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Quantum Break, and more. Graphical corruption still exists in Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4, Mortal Kombat X, Far Cry Primal, and other games, Intel said.
For a list of hardware the new Intel drivers support, check out the list linked in the PDF file above.