Something to look forward to: The 14th-gen Core series brought the surprise of an optional optimization feature designed to allow 3D games to run faster. Dubbed Application Optimization, it was initially only available for the Raptor Lake Refresh, but Intel plans to backport it to older gaming processors.
Application Optimization (APO) is a new technology Intel introduced with its latest desktop CPUs that can boost gaming frame rates “for free.” When enabled, the APO-supported games achieve higher performance levels without needing to tweak, set up, or hack anything else.
Intel Support notes that APO “determines and directs” application resources in real-time. The policy optimizes thread scheduling and application threading for “selected software titles,” improving their performance. Another “trick” APO uses to boost frame rates is disabling low-power E-Cores in games that are programmed to run exclusively on P-Cores.
An E-core disabling policy from Intel confirms that the thread scheduler built into these new hybrid CPUs (and in the Windows 11 OS itself) still needs some improvement. Gains may vary depending on configurations and users can toggle the feature off through Intel’s control app when not in use or if it is causing issues.
Intel initially designed APO as an exclusive feature for the most powerful chips in the Raptor Lake Refresh line. During CES 2024, the company confirmed it would bring optimizations to “select” 12th- and 13th-Gen Core processors, which share many architectural characteristics with the 14th-Gen Core line.
Currently supported games include F1 22, Metro Exodus, World War Z, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and more. Notorious GPU-manglers such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Starfield aren’t on the list yet. However, Intel Technical Marketing Lead Jason Xie explained they are adding more games and optimizations for the latest HX-series processors to the APO policy without going into detail.
Intel plans to release regular updates offering APO support to more CPU-intensive applications and games. Users can only download the Application Optimization “user interface” through the Microsoft Store. Intel said it doesn’t plan to provide the software through its native download center.