No APO on Raptor/Alder Lake Refresh, confirms Intel
A new video from HardwareUnboxed explains the good and bad things about APO technology.
The 14th Gen Core desktop series known as Raptor Lake Refresh featured this technology as one of the most significant additions. But the original Raptor Lake series, not to mention Alder Lake, is not going to have this feature. Intel has confirmed this to HardwareUnboxed.
Even though it has been nearly a month since the introduction of the new desktop series, the availability of APO support remains scarce. Only recently, MSI has enabled this feature on their motherboards, and the selection of games for APO support is controversially small. The support for APO is restricted to specific motherboards, which is why HardwareUnboxed selected the ASUS Z790 ROG Maximus Hero for their evaluation. Despite this, they had to manually enable an option in the BIOS to make it work. Furthermore, it requires special software only available in the Microsoft Store.
Nonetheless, the inconvenience proved to be worth it. APO is doing precisely what we expected Intel Thread Director and other optimizing technology to do since the hybrid design of P-Cores and E-Cores was introduced but at an even more complex level. APO will disable select E-cores when they are not needed or keep some of them enabled at high clocks for thread-intensive workloads.
Intel APO is supported only by two games currently, Rainbows Six Siege and Metro Exodus. The screenshots on the Intel software download page shows that plans to expand to other titles are in place, but even weeks after launch, there has been no update on that.
Metro Exodus with built-in benchmark has shown 10% (1080p), 6% (1440p) and 1% (4K) improvement with APO enabled. Benchmarking the technology manually without benchmark has shown even greater results, from 5% to 20% increase depending on the resolution. In Rainbow Six Siege, with APO enabled and low-quality settings, the game has seen up to 19% increase. So there is no doubt that the technology is working.
The technology works by prioritizing P-Cores and optimizing E-Cores by boosting only a certain number for game-intensive tasks. It doesn’t disable E-Cores, nor does it affect Hyper-Threading. It is a more complicated technology that offers excellent results in these two particular titles. Not only does it boost performance, it also reduces power input by double digits.
Sadly, Intel has confirmed to HardwareUnboxed that there are no plans to support this technology on ‘prior generation product’. The question was actually any technical reason why it should not work, but Intel clearly did not respond to this question directly. Currently, with limited hardware and software support, lack of APO support should not be a significant concern. However, should Intel continue supporting the software with more games, gamers using older LGA1700 CPUs will undoubtedly feel left out.