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Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC finally gets a vital graphics driver update – thanks to AMD

(Image credit: Future)

Those with a Hades Canyon NUC – Next Unit of Computing, or in other words, one of Intel’s highly compact PCs – have been waiting a year for a Kaby Lake-G driver update, but the good news is it’s finally here, albeit courtesy of AMD.

Yes, this is a slightly odd situation in that Intel’s Kaby Lake-G chip came with integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics, a partnership which Intel has since abandoned (of course, Intel will have its own Xe graphics solution for NUCs, and indeed other products, going forward).

So the story is that while Hades Canyon NUCs came out back in 2017 – to much critical acclaim, including our glowing review – until now, Intel had left owners of these boxes without fresh Vega graphics drivers for a period of 12 months as mentioned. Remember also that Intel had previously promised to supply drivers for a period of five years, as Tom’s Hardware observes.

But what has been pushed out now isn’t an Intel validated driver, rather the firm has simply allowed users to employ AMD’s own driver. In other words, on the Intel download page for the new driver, it simply links over to the RX Vega 64 drivers website.

Better performance, vital fixes

So those with Hades Canyon NUCs will be using the official AMD Radeon Adrenalin 2020 driver. Although that’s unlikely to bother anyone, as all most folks will care about is that they finally have an updated driver carrying a load of tweaks and fixes, providing better performance in contemporary games.

The fact that it took a year for this to happen, though – and the ultimate solution was effectively a fudge – might leave some NUC owners less than impressed.

Some of the fixes implemented by the updated driver are pretty important, too, at least from the reports we’ve seen (like being unable to play Gears 5 without it crashing using the outdated Intel-branded driver).

The brighter side of this news is that at least support going forward – provided via AMD’s official drivers – should run much more smoothly now.