Intel Application Optimization improves performance in games, but there are nuances
During the presentation of the 14th Generation Core desktop processors, one of the features of the new CPUs that developers drew attention to was support for Intel Application Optimization (Intel AOP). The mechanism allows you to optimize the load between heterogeneous processor cores to increase performance in games.
Immediately after the announcement, it was problematic to test Intel AOP due to certain technical features. As it turned out, to activate this option, you need to have the appropriate technology support in the motherboard BIOS. In addition, special software is required, which is available only in the Microsoft Store.
Armed with an ASUS Z790 ROG Maximus HERO with a new version of the microcode and Core i9-14900K, colleagues from Hardware Unboxed decided to check whether the activation of Intel AOP really provides a tangible gaming boost, as promised by the developers during the presentation.
Intel APO is currently supported by only two games: Rainbows Six Siege and Metro Exodus. Screenshots on Intel’s software download page show that there are plans to expand to other games, but even weeks after the launch, there have been no updates.
After activating Intel APO, in the built-in benchmark, Metro Exodus accelerated by 10% in 1080p, 6% in 1440p, and added 1% in 4K. Manual benchmarks showed even better results – from 5% to 20% increase, depending on the resolution. In Rainbow Six Siege, with APO enabled and low-res settings, the game showed an increase of up to 19%. So there is no doubt that the technology works.
In fact, Intel APO does exactly what we’ve come to expect from Intel Thread Director and other optimization technologies since the advent of the hybrid P-Core and E-Core design. The technology prioritizes the performance cores (P-Cores) while optimizing the energy-efficient ones. If necessary, certain E-Cores are almost turned off, while those that are really necessary for processing existing threads are significantly accelerated. This approach provides good results in games that already have such optimization. In addition, it is worth noting that Intel APO not only improves performance, but can also reduce processor power consumption.
Unfortunately, Intel has confirmed to Hardware Unboxed that it has no plans to support this technology on “previous generation products.” Currently, given the limited hardware and software support, the lack of APO support shouldn’t be a big concern. However, if Intel continues to optimize profiles for more games, gamers using previous generations of LGA1700 processors (12th/13th Generation Core) with P/E-Cores will no doubt feel left out.