Intel has launched some new drivers for the G965 chipset; doesn’t sound too exciting until you realize these are the drivers that enable hardware vertex shaders.  Finally!  Sorry, Windows XP only for now.

Now, we come to the main issue – until very recently, Intel’s G965 software drivers did not support hardware vertex shading, but rather let the CPU do the work instead (we have very powerful CPU’s so this translates into fabulous 3DMark scores, and great performance on some games). But quite a few of the latest and most popular games require hardware vertex shaders and so this approach had an Achilles Heel.

Some in the press has bemoaned the lack of this functionality – some others ignored the fact that most people use integrated graphics for business use and or video – areas where the chip shines: Full WHQL support existed for Vista’s Aeroglass from the word go, and Intel’s little wonder boasts the type of video quality you should expect from advanced discrete cards with scores around 95 in the HQV benchmark. All this from a part that effectively costs you less that lunch at the company canteen. (The price difference between the G965 and P965 chipsets is tiny, about the cost of a visit to Starbucks, the cost in power use is also small).

But the release of the latest Windows XP drivers changes things quite considerably by introducing support for hardware vertex shading. So if you want better performance for free just click here.