Intel has launched the latest driver update for their integrated graphics. This update brings full support for Windows 8. HD 3000 graphics are found on Ultrabooks with second generation (aka Sandy Bridge) processors while HD 4000 graphics are found on newer Ultrabooks that use Intel’s third generation (aka Ivy Bridge) processors. In addition to some game-specific performance updates, Intel has also enabled 4k Ultra HD video output and OpenGL 4.0 for Ivy Bridge / HD 4000, as well as OpenCL 1.1 for Sandy Bridge / HD 3000. All Ultrabook users should update, even if your Ultrabook has discrete graphics!
Genuine Ultrabooks use integrated graphics which, while not as powerful as a ‘discrete’ GPU, allow the systems to be slim and power efficient. Even though the graphical capabilities of current Ultrabooks won’t satisfy those looking to play the latest blockbuster titles at full settings, there are still plenty of excellent games that will run perfectly on an Ultrabook. I’ve got six great games to share with you that will run great on your Ultrabook and offer hours of entertainment (all together hardly more expensive than a single blockbuster title!) For now, my recommendations and performance-evaluations are based on an Ultrabook using the current-gen HD3000 ‘GPU’ and Core i5 processor. Also note that your experience may vary depending upon the processor that your Ultrabook is equipped with (Core i3, i5, or i7), amount of RAM, whether or not you have up-to-date drivers, and your power settings (check back with us at UltrabookNews for a guide to optimizing your Ultrabook’s power configuration).
Despite Acer’s bullish proposals for an updated S3 ultrabook in April next year it looks like new Ultrabooks won’t start hitting shelves until the second half of 2012 but when they do, we can expect CPU and GPU clock boosts along with the extra goodness that’s going into the chipsets.