Intel APO Enabled Hinders Vulkan-Based Games, Slowing Performance

December 24, 2023 by our News Team

Intel's APO feature, while beneficial for DirectX 11 games, hinders performance in Vulkan-based games due to ineffective CPU core utilization.

  • Provides insight into the effects of Intel's APO on Vulkan-based games
  • Highlights the difference in CPU core utilization between Vulkan and DX11 modes
  • Raises awareness for gamers to be cautious when enabling APO for Vulkan games

Intel APO Enabled Hinders Vulkan-Based Games, Slowing Performance

Intel’s Advanced Process Optimization (APO) has been a hot topic of discussion lately, despite its limited support for only a handful of games. QuasarZone, a trusted source in the gaming community, recently delved into the effects of APO on Vulkan-based games and made some intriguing discoveries. Surprisingly, enabling APO does not result in any performance gains for these games. In fact, it actually slows down the gameplay experience.

One game that was put to the test was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. When APO was enabled with Vulkan, the average frames per second (FPS) dropped from 631 FPS to 584 FPS at 1080p “Ultra” settings on the powerful Core i9-14900k processor. This decrease in performance left gamers scratching their heads.

To understand this phenomenon, it is important to consider how CPU core utilization differs between Vulkan and DirectX 11 (DX11) when APO is enabled. In DX11 mode, turning on APO actually boosts the FPS from 620 FPS to 659 FPS at 1080p “Ultra.” This improvement can be attributed to better utilization of the P-Cores, which reduces the usage of E-Cores. By keeping all game threads on the P-cores instead of switching between clusters, performance is enhanced.

However, the story takes a different turn in Vulkan API mode. Enabling APO does not alter the usage of P-cores, and in fact, the first core experiences a decrease in utilization. This is the opposite of what was observed in DX11 mode. Additionally, the E-cores continue to exhibit inconsistent utilization patterns, indicating that the scheduling fix provided by APO is ineffective in Vulkan.

One might assume that reducing or disabling E-cores would maximize performance since APO supposedly shifts the primary render thread from E to P-cores. However, the reality is more complex. In DX11 mode, Rainbow Six Siege performs best when all P/E cores and APO are enabled. Even an 8P + 4E configuration outperforms using only the P-cores. This suggests that the E-cores are not entirely useless in this scenario.

The behavior of Rainbow Six Siege in Vulkan mode is even more perplexing. The Core i9-14900K achieves its fastest performance when running at stock settings with all cores enabled and APO disabled. Interestingly, an 8P + 4E configuration is faster than the stock+APO setup but slower than the stock configuration. In Metro Exodus, the stock 14900K with APO delivers the best performance, followed by the 8P+4E (no APO) and the 8P configuration. The stock 14900K without APO enabled lags behind the rest.

In conclusion, Intel’s APO feature seems to hinder Vulkan-based games rather than improve their performance. While it may provide benefits in DX11 mode by optimizing CPU core utilization, it fails to deliver similar results in Vulkan API mode. Gamers should be cautious when enabling APO for Vulkan-based games, as it may lead to decreased performance. Intel may need to address this issue and provide a more effective solution for optimizing Vulkan games in the future.

(Note: This article is based on observations made by QuasarZone and does not reflect the official stance of Intel or its products.)

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Background Information

About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

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Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

DirectX 11: DirectX 11 is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) developed by Microsoft for use in Windows-based computers. It is used to create high-performance graphics and multimedia applications. DirectX 11 is the latest version of the DirectX API and is used in the latest versions of Windows operating systems. It is used to create 3D graphics, audio, and video applications for gaming, multimedia, and other applications. DirectX 11 provides improved performance, better image quality, and more efficient memory usage. It also supports the latest hardware features such as tessellation, multi-threading, and compute shaders. DirectX 11 is used in a variety of computer applications, including gaming, multimedia, and scientific applications.

E-Cores: E-Cores (Efficiency Cores) are a type of technology used in the computer industry to provide a more efficient and reliable way of powering and cooling computer components. They are made up of a combination of copper and aluminum, and are designed to be more efficient than traditional copper cores. E-Cores are used in a variety of applications, such as in CPUs, GPUs, and other computer components. They are also used in servers, laptops, and other electronic devices. The technology is designed to reduce heat and power consumption, while also providing a more reliable and efficient way of powering and cooling computer components.

P-Cores: P-Cores (Performance Cores) are a type of processor technology developed by Intel that is designed to improve the performance of computer systems. This technology is based on the concept of multi-core processors, which are processors that contain multiple cores or processing units. P-Cores are designed to increase the speed and efficiency of computer systems by allowing multiple cores to work together in parallel. This technology is used in a variety of applications, including gaming, video editing, and data analysis. P-Cores are also used in servers and other high-performance computing systems. The technology is also used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to improve battery life and performance. P-Cores are an important part of the computer industry, as they allow for faster and more efficient computing.

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