In a behind-the-door meeting with Intel earlier this week, the company stressed that it is "moving to become a discrete graphics company" on top of continuing to make CPUs it's already known for. That's not entirely surprising given Santa Clara's chipmaker's failure to keep a secret over the past few months, but what I did not expect was an overhauled Graphics Command Center promptly sent to my inbox later that day, a year ahead of her first graphics card release.
The software that you can download and install for yourself if you're so inclined from the ever popular Windows Store. It's in early access, so do not expect it to be without flaws. When I created my own custom video settings, for example, all the color and contrast sliders were cranked all the way up, my changes were not applied dynamically, nor was there an obvious "Apply All" button. Seemingly, my settings were "Active," yet everything on my screen, even the provided demo videos looked exactly the same.
Of course, beyond the color correction, sharpness and other options alternatively adjustable on your monitor itself, the refreshed Graphics Command Center software packages some features ostensibly tailored to systems housing discrete GPUs. Although it is pretty rudimentary in its current state, there are traces of functionality that could later be used for Intel's upcoming graphics card project.
For example, on the home page, I was greeted by a game library scanner and optimization utility similar to Nvidia GeForce Experience's Optimal Playable Settings and AMD Radeon Software's Settings Advisor. Once you have scanned your drives for games and / or you add some titles manually, you can either choose to optimize your games using a handful of Advanced Settings and a "GPU Usage" health bar or ̵
Unlike solutions from Nvidia and AMD, however, the custom optimizations are limited. You can toggle anti-aliasing on or off, select an anti-aliasing type (be it CMAA or MSAA and what degree) and you can tune the level of antisotropic filtering as well as ticking on and off vsync. These are all generic settings that appear on every game, not game-specific settings that you can adjust. Though as I understand it, the software will eventually adjust the actual game settings. Again, it's early access, a proof of concept.
Other than that, a System tab shows hardware and driver information along with a few display-related hotkeys. A Support tab lets you download the latest Intel graphics driver and provides another view of system information and driver details, and Preferences lets you tweak the background for the Command Center and disable promotions and notifications.
I'm talking about this software now, as opposed to next year, when Intel plans to debut its discrete graphics card, because Intel understands that there's a lot of work to be done. What settings for Fortnite should you use on a current Intel GPU? That's easy: 720p, set everything to minimum. But when a substantially faster GPU becomes available, Intel needs to have systems in place to provide more useful recommendations. The early access version is used as a test run to gather community feedback for a hard launch later on the road, presumably some time in 2020.
It's one aspect of " the Odyssey it cultivates a sense of community around its burgeoning graphics technology. Graphics Command Center is compatible with Intel Gen 6 processors and above.
We do not know much about Intel's proposed discrete graphics card, apart from our assumption that it will work with this new software. While the company did show off a renovated design at its GDC 2019 keynote, it was whipped by its designer and artist Christiano Siquera, technical specifications remain in the dark. the wheels are in motion for a third player to disrupt the increasingly complacent discrete graphics card duopoly.