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Intel intros 9th-gen Core H mobile CPUs, Graphics Command Center - CNET

Intel intros 9th-gen Core H mobile CPUs, Graphics Command Center - CNET
Intel intros 9th-gen Core H mobile CPUs, Graphics Command Center - CNET

Compared to its HD Graphics Control Panel, the IGCC provides more granular control over hue, saturation and brightness, with live previews. You can even load your own videos or stills.Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET

Intel flexed its graphics muscle at the Game Developers Conference, announcing the upcoming ninth-generation H-series processors (sorry, no details) and a beta of a new GPU control panel that will eventually replace the Intel HD Graphics Panel you may be familiar with if your computer uses the graphics processor integrated into the Intel CPU. 

The new Intel Graphic Command Center (IGCC) is part of prepping the foundation for the company's Ice Lake processors, with a new generation of the integrated GPU (iGPU), expected later this year, as well as paving the way for the Intel's discrete graphics debut in 2020.

This is the first facelift Intel's utility has gotten in five years, and adds one-click optimization for games, better explanations of what each setting does with visual previews and integrated control over driver updates so that you get the zero-day game-optimized drivers automatically. 

It offers more granular control over all the color, sharpness and contrast settings, letting you adjust the primaries where relevant. These are all controls that users of discrete graphics from Nvidia and AMD are used to, but which Intel never really had a reason to provide. 

I tried it on a few systems and didn't see any real-time (or even delayed) affects on the previews, but it was an earlier version and it's possible the screens weren't good enough to reflect any subtle changes. But I was hoping for a big red "disable iGPU" button, anyway.

IGCC will work on systems with sixth-generation Core chips (Skylake) or newer, and the old control panel will remain for a while -- the IGCC will be available through the Microsoft Store until then (it's free). While Intel may eventually release versions for Mac OS and Linux, for now it's Windows 10 only.

The company also teased the release of its ninth-generation H-series processors -- the performance-class mobile CPUs -- indicating that we should see them (presumably in products) before the end of June.

Intel's presentation included a photo of the Microsoft Surface Studio as an example of its target user for the ninth-gen mobile H-series processors (desktop all-in-ones use mobile parts as a way to keep heat at bay) and while it might have only been illustrative, we're hoping it means that the Studio will finally get the processor upgrade it deserves. When the newest model launched in the fall of 2018, its bump to only a quad-core seventh-gen i7 was disappointing. That's especially true in light of Apple's recent iMac updates, which added a top-end option for a ninth-gen i9.

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