Intel has recently announced its 14th generation of desktop processors, codenamed Arrow Lake, which are expected to launch in late 2023 or early 2024. These processors will feature a new technology called Application Optimization (APO), which promises to boost the performance of games and applications by up to 200 fps https://www.reddit.com/r/intel/comments/yddr1k/will_the_new_13th_gen_cpu_benefit_from_an_anti/. However, Intel has also revealed that this feature will not be available for its previous generations of processors, such as the 12th-gen Alder Lake and the 13th-gen Raptor Lake, despite sharing the same architecture as the 14th-gen Arrow Lake. This has raised some questions and criticisms from the PC gaming community, who wonder why Intel is limiting the potential of its existing products and customers.
What is APO and how does it work?
APO is a technology that aims to optimize the resource allocation and thread scheduling of applications in real time, based on their characteristics and demands. APO uses a combination of hardware and software components, such as a dedicated APO engine, an APO driver, and an APO library, to analyze and adjust the behavior of applications on the fly. APO can also leverage the hybrid architecture of Intel’s processors, which consist of both performance cores (P-cores) and efficiency cores (E-cores), to assign the most suitable cores for different tasks https://www.techradar.com/computing/cpu/intels-next-gen-cpus-could-be-coming-in-october-but-i-wont-be-buying-them.
According to Intel, APO can improve the performance of games and applications by up to 200 fps, depending on the scenario and the configuration. Intel has demonstrated this improvement in two games, Rainbow Six Siege and Metro Exodus, which are currently the only games that support APO. Intel claims that APO can enhance the gaming experience by reducing stuttering, increasing responsiveness, and enabling higher graphics settings https://www.techradar.com/computing/cpu/intels-next-gen-cpus-could-be-coming-in-october-but-i-wont-be-buying-them.
Why is APO not compatible with previous generations of processors?
Intel has stated that APO is a feature that is exclusive to its 14th-gen Arrow Lake processors, and that it will not be supported by its 12th-gen Alder Lake and 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors, which are based on the same hybrid architecture as the 14th-gen Arrow Lake. Intel has not given a clear explanation for this decision, but it has hinted that APO requires some hardware changes that are not present in the previous generations of processors https://www.techspot.com/news/100625-application-optimization-14th-gen-intel-core-processors-can.html.
However, some experts and enthusiasts have challenged this claim, and have suggested that APO could be enabled for the 12th-gen and 13th-gen processors with some software updates or modifications. They have argued that APO is essentially a software-based technology that does not rely on any specific hardware features, and that Intel is artificially restricting the compatibility of APO to create a marketing advantage for its 14th-gen processors https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/08/intel-leans-on-more-e-cores-for-performance-boosts-in-leaked-13th-gen-cpu-lineup/.
What are the implications and reactions of this decision?
Intel’s decision to limit the availability of APO to its 14th-gen processors has sparked some controversy and backlash from the PC gaming community, who feel that Intel is neglecting its existing customers and products, and that Intel is trying to force them to upgrade to its latest processors. Some gamers have expressed their frustration and disappointment with Intel, and have accused Intel of being greedy and unfair. Some gamers have also said that they will switch to AMD, Intel’s main rival in the CPU market, which has been offering more competitive and affordable products in recent years https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/08/intel-leans-on-more-e-cores-for-performance-boosts-in-leaked-13th-gen-cpu-lineup/.
On the other hand, some gamers have defended Intel’s decision, and have argued that APO is a new and innovative technology that deserves to be exclusive to its 14th-gen processors, and that Intel has the right to decide how to implement and distribute its own technology. Some gamers have also praised Intel for developing APO, and have said that they are looking forward to trying it out on their 14th-gen processors. Some gamers have also pointed out that APO is not a necessity, and that it only works on a few games, and that there are other factors that affect the gaming performance, such as the GPU, the RAM, and the SSD https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/08/intel-leans-on-more-e-cores-for-performance-boosts-in-leaked-13th-gen-cpu-lineup/.
Intel’s APO feature is a technology that has the potential to change the game for PC gaming, but it also has the potential to change the game for Intel itself. Whether APO will be a game-changer or a game-limiter for Intel and its customers remains to be seen.