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Intel Iris Xe G7 graphics isn't so bad, but it still has a long way to go in terms of drivers and compatibility

Intel Iris Xe G7 graphics is pretty good, but it still has an uphill battle in terms of drivers and compatibility (Image source: Intel)
Intel Iris Xe G7 graphics is pretty good, but it still has an uphill battle in terms of drivers and compatibility (Image source: Intel)
There's one thing that Nvidia has arguably always been better at than Intel or AMD: graphics drivers. Though the new Iris Xe G7 is inching pretty closely to the GeForce MX series, the more mature drivers from Nvidia essentially guarantee better compatibility and optimization for the latest titles.

Intel Tiger Lake is set to launch in just a few weeks from major OEMs including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, and more. The 11th gen U-series will replace last year's 10th gen Ice Lake series with significantly upgraded integrated graphics as detailed in our overview of Tiger Lake. 3DMark results show the new Iris Xe G7 outperforming the Iris Plus G7 by as much as 70 to 90 percent.

Of course, 3DMark never tells the whole story. We recently had the chance to benchmark over two dozen different games on a soon-to-be-released Iris Xe G7 laptop and a handful of them would run with noticeable issues. Though it was running on an early graphics driver (v27.20.100.8439), we were still hoping for better results since the platform will be hitting store shelves very soon.

The problematic games we experienced are as follows:

  • Division 2: Textures immediately surrounding characters would sometimes fade black or not load correctly.
  • Doom Eternal: The color values of some textures are not correct and so certain surfaces may shimmer uncontrollably.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Certain graphics settings would crash the game upon loading a save. Lowering the settings to minimum seems to address this.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The game would crash shortly after bootup. Death Stranding, which uses the same Decima engine, would run without any problems.
  • Hunt Showdown: The game would crash if certain graphics settings are enabled. Lowering the settings to minimum seems to address this.
  • Apex Legends: Frame rates would be unusually low in the single-digits range for the first few minutes of gameplay.

Even if the Iris Xe G7 can be as fast as the GeForce MX250 or MX350 on paper, it can only be as good or as stable as its drivers. Intel will have to optimize its drivers in the weeks and months ahead if it hopes to leave better first impressions for early adopters. For what it's worth, Intel has told us that it's aware of the Doom Eternal texture problems and that a fix should be on the way in time for retail launch units.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Intel Iris Xe G7 graphics isn't so bad, but it still has a long way to go in terms of drivers and compatibility
Allen Ngo, 2020-10- 2 (Update: 2020-10- 2)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.