Intel to roll out 14th Gen’s game optimization software to older 12/13th Gen hybrid CPUs after all

Intel’s performance-enhancing Application Optimizer software is set to be supported on some 12th and 13th Gen processors, in a complete reverse of the company’s previous position on the matter.

Application Optimizer (APO) is a piece of software built into Intel’s drivers that helps optimise processor performance in supported games. It has the potential to be quite handy, too. Intel cites up to double digit performance gains with APO enabled in Metro Exodus, for example.

Initially only supported on the 14900K/KF and 14700K/KF, there had been calls on Intel to open up the APO software—which is built into Intel’s Dynamic Tuning Technology (DTT) driver—to older 12th and 13th Gen chips that utilise the same sort of hybrid architecture as the 14th Gen.

Intel had resoundingly shot down this idea to Hardware Unboxed, after the YouTube channel’s own testing of the feature, when it quoted Intel as saying it “has no plans to support prior generation products with Application Optimization.”

Well, that’s all changed at CES 2024. Just briefly mentioned during a presentation, Intel said it plans to support some prior generation products with Application Optimization—at least some 12th and 13th Gen K-series processors.

It makes sense to open the feature up where possible. APO appears to help increase utilisation of the low-power E-cores within Intel’s hybrid architectures, and these are found on most chips since the 12th Gen.

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Intel says it’ll have 14 games in total validated for APO by the next release, though that’s across both desktop and mobile processors that support APO. Intel’s new 14th Gen HX-series mobile processors will also support the feature, and at least eight games are optimised for the HX-series. I’m not quite sure if that means optimisation for desktop as well or if the supported titles are processor specific. I’m thinking it’s more likely the latter.

To my knowledge the list of supported games now includes Rainbow Six: Siege, Metro Exodus, Guardians of the Galaxy, F1 22, Strange Brigade, World War Z, Dirt 5, and World of Warcraft. There’s no master list of what’s supported right now, however. For that reason, APO remains a pretty niche application, but here’s hoping that list grows over the next 12 months.

As for when you’ll be able to enable it on those older chips, Intel hasn’t said when that will happen exactly, but presumably support will come with a new version of the DTT drivers. Keep an eye out for that. Just be warned, the installation process wasn’t easy for APO. That’s another thing I hope improves with future updates.

But I’m not turning my nose up at a free performance uplift. I just hope APO is able to materialise into something genuinely useful with time.

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