Intel’s NEW Graphics Command Center – Explained!
Lately I’m sure some of you have been following Intel’s social media posts about their new Odyssey program. Basically Odyssey is set up to engage the community in order to better understand what people are looking for in their future products, particularly on the hardware side. Now they hope that this new feedback loop will lead to better software and obviously hardware that people will actually want to buy. One of the first things that will use this new community feedback in the Intel driver program, or more specifically in the new Intel Command Center utility. Intel has made this new Command Center available to download on the Microsoft store for now, provided that you have a 6th generation or newer Intel Core processor.
If you choose to download it, Command Center will be installed alongside your existing Intel graphics control panels, so there’s no messing with drivers and it can easily be uninstalled. This isn’t a final product either and all Intel wants at this point is actually feedback from their users. Now I know that some of you might be rolling your eyes right now since this article is dedicated to just explaining a small piece of software, and I also do want to bring up the fact that this article is not sponsored by Intel. However, they did fly us down to San Francisco for their event, and we just wanted to quickly cover the evolution of a key piece of software that could affect the millions of people who use Intel’s integrated graphics on a day-to-day basis. Historically, Intel’s integrated GPUs haven’t provided enough performance to play most current AAA games, but that’s going to change a bit in the near future. You see Intel’s Gen11 graphics core with 64 execution units (compared to a max of 48 EUs right now) is just around the corner and it promises to provide a huge performance boost for integrated GPUs.
Then near the end of 2020, Intel has also committed to launch a series of discrete GPUs that are set to compete directly against the Radeon and GeForce lineups. What they’re trying to do right now is get their drivers and the control panel to their best possible state and use that as a solid foundation to build a larger GPU business. Now with so many ex-AMD staff working at Intel right now they’re trying to avoid past mistakes, like how Radeon GPUs were known for amazing hardware that were always held back by poor drivers and software. So now that we know where Intel is actually coming from, let’s actually take a closer look at the new Command Center.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that it looks a lot more modern and sleek than the previous version. And the first section allows you to scan for any games installed on the system. If there’s a lightning bolt next to the game, that means Intel has created a specific one-click optimization profile for it. Right now there are a little over 30 games with profiles, but that’s supposed to expand to over 50 in the next little while. Actually clicking on the game brings up an area where you can create custom image quality and performance profiles. This might not matter to any enthusiast reading this article, but I love the fact that Intel has added clear explanations for every function and the learn more button expands the explanation even more. This is a perfect addition for folks who might find all of these options a bit overwhelming. The display tab has everything you would expect, but there’s another cool addition in the color area. If you click on Swatch, an image comes up that can help with color correction and balance. You can even replace this with another picture if there’s a specific color profile that you’re looking for.
I actually think the most impressive section here is the Video tab. Intel has added pretty much every single option you would want to enhance video playback. There’s also a live preview window with three preset videos or you can add your own custom profiles by pressing the plus button, along with some presets to brighten or darken the video content. It’s really well done and you can actually see a lot of community feedback being used here. The other areas are pretty straightforward with hotkey sections where you can assign keyboard shortcuts to certain functions. I actually wish there were more options here, especially to quickly change the color or performance profiles. Hopefully Intel will be able to expand that in the future. There’s also a Help section with some online resources and some system diagnostics, but there’s not really much to talk about there.
Finally, the Preferences section is obviously still a work in progress, but there’s an option to switch the layout team. There are only two options, but supposedly custom themes will be an option when the final version of Command Center is released later this year. So that’s a quick preview of Intel’s new graphics Command Center. And personally I think this is a great move from Intel, especially before they start moving into the discrete graphics card market. Also this shows how far behind the times NVIDIA is with their own control panel. The community’s feedback is very important and we’d love to know when you think about this new piece of software, and again if you want to have more features added or if you have any critiques.