Intel has just released a new console for its built-in graphics processors. It’s called the Intel Graphics Command Center (IGCC), and it’s available from the Microsoft Store. This app offers some interesting capabilities, but mostly to those running 6th generation processors and newer models. I personally own no such machines, because all of my 6th-gen-or-newer PCs have PCIe graphics cards (mostly Nvidia) installed. But if you’ve got such a rig, the utility is definitely worth downloading and getting to know. That goes double for those using PCs with built-in Intel graphics to do any kind of gaming.
Working with the IGCC on Older PCs
Frankly, the only PCs on which I use built-in Intel graphics have Haswell (my two Lenovo laptops and my Surface Pro 3) or older (my wife’s mini-ITX box has an Ivy Bridge) processors. Even on such “vintage CPUs” the new utility still works, and will provide basic information. Here, for example, is what shows up under the System/Hardware heading on my T520 laptop:
The utility recognizes the CPU, RAM, and non-SD storage devices nicely. Provides no info about the built-in monitor, though.
Those whose PCs have 5th generation or older CPUs will probably only want to download this app for curiosity’s sake. Those with 6th generation or newer CPUs will find it capable of providing interesting controls over their built-in GPUs. Ryan Smith and Billy Tallis at AnandTech.com tag the app as “an effort from Intel to modernize a part of their overall graphics infrastructures, replacing the … current interation of the company’s control panel.” They go on to compare it to similar offerings from Nvidia (GeForce Experience) and AMD (the Radeon Settings app). They also observe that for those playing “one of the 100 or so games on Intel’s list of supported games … each game gets its own page with familiar driver-enforced settings such as anti-aliasing, v-sync, and anisotropic filtering.”
Better still, Intel offers help to explain what these settings do, and also provides info about their typical impact on PC performance. According to the same source, Intel “also includes support for one-click graphics optimizations” to match the company’s recommended settings for the PC in use, and supports adjusting “game settings on a fine-grained level, adjust texture and shadow quality, rendering distance, internal AA [anti-aliasing] settings, etc.” Interested users will also find controls for monitor display settings that include resolution, refresh rate, and monitor arrangement. The authors also see this app as “laying the groundwork for the future” as Intel readies its 9th generation processors for release later this year, while working on its own discrete graphics cards for future release and sale.
It should be interesting to see how the IGCC changes and evolves over the next year or two, as Intel attempts to take on Nvidia and AMD as another player in the GPU marketplace. Stay tuned!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.