Intel moves 6th through 10th generation CPUs to legacy graphics driver support

Daniel Sims

Posts: 576   +21
Staff
What just happened? Effective immediately, Intel is winding down game driver support for older iGPUs. Integrated graphics aren't meant for serious performance, but recent ones can run many of today's popular games, including the ones whose support Intel is downgrading.

This week, Intel announced that active software support is now only for 11th generation CPUs and newer. It is moving its 6th through 10th generation CPUs to legacy software support. So, aside from critical fixes and security patches, older processors will get updates less frequently than newer ones.

Essentially, Intel is splitting its drivers into two groups in the same package. The legacy set is for every processor from Skylake to Ice Lake, including Elkhart, Lakefield, and Jasper Lake. Active support is for Rocket Lake, Alder Lake, and presumably the Raptor Lake processors set to launch in October. Mainly, this means older Intel integrated graphics users won't get any more day-0 game support drivers.

While newer iGPUs still receive support drivers for new games as they launch, the others must wait for updates to come every quarter. To check your system's CPU on Windows, head to Settings > System > About. Next to "processor," the first digit after the hyphen indicates your processor's generation.

Pushing the seven-year-old Skylake CPUs back to legacy support is unsurprising, but the 10th generation processors are barely two years old. The support downgrade could potentially affect gaming performance for a good portion of iGPU users.

In the June 2022 Steam hardware survey, all Intel iGPUs combined made up about a seven percent share of polled systems. However, many of the most popular PC games aren't on Steam and are light enough for iGPUs to handle. These include titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends, Minecraft, Valorant, and Sid Meier's Civilization 6.

Even TechSpot's benchmark show an Ice Lake iGPU managing playable framerates in some of those games, along with Rocket League and Grand Theft Auto V. So it's hard to say how many users this will impact.

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Kam7r

Posts: 74   +146
A really bad move just before releasing a whole lineup of GPUs ... ( how much time will they be supported ? )
 

azicat

Posts: 130   +147
TBH this doesn't really change much with my Lenovo laptops, where I was locked into their proprietary verified drivers anyway.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,604   +5,527
I understand that thry don't want to actively support two different gpu architectures, but dropping active support for the 10th gen processor, which is still being sold in some new computers, is ridiculous.
That's what I was thinking. Up to 9th gen I can understand but even that seems a bit of a stretch. Maybe the iGPUs are so similar that if you discountinue for one you discontinue for the others? I just think that if you buy something you should have atleast 5 years of support for it.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,214   +2,744
TechSpot Elite
That's what I was thinking. Up to 9th gen I can understand but even that seems a bit of a stretch. Maybe the iGPUs are so similar that if you discountinue for one you discontinue for the others? I just think that if you buy something you should have atleast 5 years of support for it.

There's no maybe. The Skylake HD Graphics 5xx through Comet Lake UHD Graphics 6xx iGPUs are virtually identical as they encompass the Intel Gen 9 Graphics Architecture. Yes, this is another side effect of Intel being stuck on 14nm for an excessive period of time.

I was rather expecting this meant pretty long support for Skylake and newer iGPUs as Intel Gen 9 iGPUs were still sold in flagship parts less than a year and a half ago. But it seems that Intel has other plans.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 182   +438
Pretty horrendous when you consider this affects Jasper Lake which was only released in Q1 21 (last year) and is still sold today. You get better support from dodgy fly-by-night Android manufacturers..
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 339   +789
This is no big deal.

Intel's lackluster 9th gen integrated graphics already do everything they're ever going to do. You don't need a new driver for Skylake integrated graphics every time a new AAA title launches. Quarterly updates are fine.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 671   +544
I understand that thry don't want to actively support two different gpu architectures, but dropping active support for the 10th gen processor, which is still being sold in some new computers, is ridiculous.
It’s not great, but in my experience, it hardly makes any difference. I don’t know how may Intel UHD users will actually actively update their iGPU driver. No matter the version, it can’t really game. And if it is not for game optimisation, I rather not update it that often in case it ends up breaking something instead.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 671   +544
Pretty horrendous when you consider this affects Jasper Lake which was only released in Q1 21 (last year) and is still sold today. You get better support from dodgy fly-by-night Android manufacturers..
This is true, but Jasper Lake iGPU are at best suited for indie or older game titles. These don’t need very frequent updates. I can don’t believe the iGPU can run any new AAA titles, if it can even launch the game at all.
 

Soulburn74

Posts: 121   +62
Intel drivers for integrated GPU's just need to work, there aren't going to be any game changing updates...... If these were discreet GPU's It would be a bit of a different story, but they aren't. As long as the driver installs and works without process breaking bugs, that's good enough. Its not like you are playing CP2K77 on intel igpu and trying to get more fps out of them from a new driver update.....
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 447   +530
There's no maybe. The Skylake HD Graphics 5xx through Comet Lake UHD Graphics 6xx iGPUs are virtually identical as they encompass the Intel Gen 9 Graphics Architecture. Yes, this is another side effect of Intel being stuck on 14nm for an excessive period of time.

I was rather expecting this meant pretty long support for Skylake and newer iGPUs as Intel Gen 9 iGPUs were still sold in flagship parts less than a year and a half ago. But it seems that Intel has other plans.
Exactly. That is what I expected as well. You're absolutely right that this was their high end offering quite recently and it should be reasonable to expect continued support for a set amount of time and a year and a half or, less for the atom parts they currently sell as the newest releases. Same graphics architecture, it is currently using Gen 9 graphics, actively being sold as new/latest version. I realize they target a different market but it still seems wrong.