Intel has released ‘unlocked’ its generic graphics drivers to allow installation without OEM approval. The changes will make it easier for users to stay up to date, not requiring a variant from their laptop’s manufacturer. It also means they’ll continue to have avenues for improvement even after their devices reach the end of support.
OEM drivers are generally preferred because they’re customized for the system. This can reduce compatibility and stability issues while adding additional features. However, that’s only good if your OEM is actually timely, which is often not the case. Intel’s release gives a bit of a buffer.
“We heard how much our users want the freedom to upgrade their systems to our regularly released generic graphics drivers and enable our latest game enhancements, feature updates, and fixes,” said Intel. “As of this release, Intel Graphics DCH drivers are now unlocked to upgrade freely between Computer Manufacturer (OEM) drivers and the Intel generic graphics drivers on Download Center. Simply use the exe and enjoy the update on your 6th Generation Intel Processor platform or higher.”
Despite all this, Intel reassures users that they don’t have to worry about their OEM customizations. Those will remain intact with each upgrade, while OEMs can maintain their features separately via Windows Updates.
The unlocked drivers are available as of version 18.104.22.16841, which also includes the usual updates to game performance and bug fixes. The most notable changes include crash fixes for Doom: Eternal and support for new releases Gears Tactics and XCOM: Chimera Squad. You can grab it for yourself on the Intel site.