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In a nutshell: Back in January, TechSpot speculated on why Intel's GPU drivers were around twice the size of AMD's and Nvidia's, possibly stemming from less time for optimization work. Whatever the reason, Team Blue's latest driver slims down to become only slightly larger than Team Red's. The biggest download is again from Nvidia, which has recently fattened up slightly.
Intel's latest graphics driver chopped its download size from 1.6GB to 604MB. The optimization brings the GPU newcomer's software closer to its competitors without compromising on features or performance.
The company credits the accomplishment to improved compression, indicating that the prior bloat was mainly due to a lack of experience packaging dedicated graphics drivers. Intel seems to be rapidly adapting to a market dominated by two competitors who've been doing this for around 20 years.
The massive size of Team Blue's earlier drivers didn't add up because they had to support a far smaller number of GPU models. Intel only has one generation on the market, while Nvidia and AMD's drivers must each support several generations. Furthermore, Nvidia likes to package its GeForce Experience software (which some might consider bloatware) with its drivers. Intel's inclusion of integrated graphics drivers also didn't explain the discrepancy, since AMD drivers also support iGPUs and APUs.
All three companies released new drivers this week in preparation for the just-released Resident Evil 4 remake. Nvidia and AMD also highlight The Last of Us Part 1 and the Diablo IV beta in their release notes, while Intel released its Diablo IV driver last week. Diablo IV's free open beta runs through this weekend, while The Last of Us Part 1 arrives on PC next week on Tuesday.
Intel also notes that it's still improving Counter-Strike: Global Offensive performance on Arc GPUs. Steam's most popular game still uses DirectX 9, which Arc struggled with before recent updates. It's unclear how the changes of Counter-Strike 2 update will impact Arc, but other games utilizing the Source 2 engine upgraded to DirectX 11.
Meanwhile, Nvidia's new drivers, ballooning to almost 900MB, also support Cyberpunk 2077's upcoming experimental ray tracing "Overdrive" mode. The additional graphics preset introduces path tracing to the game and will likely hammer GPUs when it arrives on April 11.