Monday, October 18th 2021

Intel "Alder Lake" has Compatibility Issues with Older Versions of Denuvo DRM Middleware

Users of Intel's upcoming 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" processors will potentially run into compatibility issues with some of the older games that use older versions of popular DRM middleware such as Denuvo, an Intel document targeted at developers, cautions. This is mainly due to the hybrid CPU core nature of "Alder Lake," which could confuse the middleware. Solutions such as Denuvo perform stringent hardware checks to ensure only a valid user in a given environment, with a set of hardware, gets to play the game. Our article on Denuvo performance impact has more details on how the solution works.

"If your existing or upcoming game uses a DRM middleware, you might want to contact the middleware provider and confirm that it supports hybrid architectures in general, and the upcoming Intel ADL platform in particular. Due to the nature of modern DRM algorithms, it might use CPU detection, and should be aware of the upcoming hybrid platforms. Intel is working with leading DRM providers such as Denuvo to make sure their solutions support new platforms," reads the Intel Developer Guide. While this should be no probem for some of the newer (less than 3 years old) games that use Denuvo, which are still under support lifecycle from their developers, some of the older ones may require updates.
Sources: Intel, Gamer's Gospel, Tom's Hardware
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17 Comments on Intel "Alder Lake" has Compatibility Issues with Older Versions of Denuvo DRM Middleware

#1
DeathtoGnomes
cant imagine how many games will need to be patched for win11. :shadedshu:
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#2
kruk
Another proof that aggressive DRM is garbage and that honest buyers always have more problems with playing their purchased games than pirates. GOG DRM Free FTW :)

I however wonder, how many older programs/games will have problems with hybrid architectures ...
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#3
windwhirl
DeathtoGnomescant imagine how many games will need to be patched for win11. :shadedshu:
Nah, only for hybrid CPUs. Windows itself is highly backwards compatible
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#4
DeathtoGnomes
windwhirlNah, only for hybrid CPUs. Windows itself is highly backwards compatible
no, they will have to patch all games using Denuvo, they cant tell what cpu you use.
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#5
lepudruk
DRM in any form is a cancer that should be surgicaly removed (with a laser guided nuke...)

I keep buying GOG games any time I can, I'm too old to mess with shitty DRMs.
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#6
Chrispy_
Surely Intel will have a "compatibility mode" where E-cores are disabled and legacy apps incompatible with the hybrid architecture can run on homogenous core that they're expecting.

Surely, right?

Intel wouldn't be that goddamned stupid, would they?
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#8
neatfeatguy
So, what I'm taking away from this is that DRM sucks ass and Denuvo (and others like it) are a punishment to PC gamers due to problems they can cause.
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#9
Darmok N Jalad
I wonder what about hybrid CPUs makes it fail? Does it think there’s another system in the loop? One would think that it would just perform poorly by not knowing what resources to use, but instead it might not work at all? While DRM sucks, examples like this make upgrades like ADL a tough sell, since the best thing Windows has going for it is wide software compatibility. Now a performance upgrade could mean the loss of that compatibility, if the developer doesn’t provide an update or takes too long. Software from 3 years ago is hardly considered legacy, especially when you’re talking about games that take years before there’s a sequel. Based on the original Denuvo article, this is baked into the game EXE, so it’s not as simple as Denuvo just patching their stuff, but all developers have to go back and fix it based on Denuvo guidance, and will that cause issues for non-ADL platforms? Seems like a potential mess all around.
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#10
Bubster
That's why it sucks to be an early adopter, Good things take time, I can't wait for the reviews about how the new architecture's Thread director performance and the processsor's power thermal footprint
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#11
Jism
Chrispy_Surely Intel will have a "compatibility mode" where E-cores are disabled and legacy apps incompatible with the hybrid architecture can run on homogenous core that they're expecting.

Surely, right?

Intel wouldn't be that goddamned stupid, would they?
I feel like this is a wasted generation of CPU from intel.

The idea of hybrid with low power and high power cores already exists in mobile space.

But why on desktop? Just create a powerfull / efficient core on it's own and you dont need hybrid in the first place. Ryzen is a perfect example of that.
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#12
TheDeeGee
BubsterThat's why it sucks to be an early adopter, Good things take time, I can't wait for the reviews about how the new architecture's Thread director performance and the processsor's power thermal footprint
DRM just sucks.
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#13
TheinsanegamerN
JismI feel like this is a wasted generation of CPU from intel.

The idea of hybrid with low power and high power cores already exists in mobile space.

But why on desktop? Just create a powerfull / efficient core on it's own and you dont need hybrid in the first place. Ryzen is a perfect example of that.
By "mobile" you mean phones, such tech doesnt exist at all in the laptop space, in which tens of millions are sold every quarter.

Event he likes of office desktops and workstations still see idle time where this idea may hold merit. We'll have to wait to see power usage during normal taks, like web browsing, to see if the efficiency gains are realized or if this is intel grapsing at straws trying to hold zen 4 back.
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#14
Darmok N Jalad
TheinsanegamerNBy "mobile" you mean phones, such tech doesnt exist at all in the laptop space, in which tens of millions are sold every quarter.

Event he likes of office desktops and workstations still see idle time where this idea may hold merit. We'll have to wait to see power usage during normal taks, like web browsing, to see if the efficiency gains are realized or if this is intel grapsing at straws trying to hold zen 4 back.
I guess if you exclude MacOS, where those laptops employ hybrid cores already. I suspect later today, most of their line that still uses Intel will move over to M1X or whatever it will be called.

Even if we’re just talking x86, I’d still be surprised to see that much gain from e-cores in the mobile space, unless ADL’s power cores are designed with fewer low-power management features than previous designs. I keep going back to the exclusion of efficiency cores across the lower end of the product stack. You’ll need premium CPUs to get the efficiency cores. There probably is a future in hybrid designs, but it might be somewhat of a mixed bag in terms of performance and efficiency for a while. Ironically, the first hybrid, Lakefield, was more of a minimalist 1+4 design, and it performed quite terribly.

Related to the topic, there is probably a good deal of legacy software out there that may not run ideally, even with the Windows 11 scheduler. I wonder if we’re just going to see the performance of some legacy programs suffer, or will we just see efficiency suffer when a legacy program just pegs the p-cores? There are tons of old titles that are still 32bit, never even updated to accommodate 64bit—they likely won’t be getting a hybrid CPU update either. I hope reviews start looking at legacy app performance, and not just modern titles. ADL should give reviewers a lot to chew on, that’s for sure.
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#15
seth1911
Denuvo is crap some games that are cracked runs smoother than the original with DRM :laugh:
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#16
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Chrispy_Surely Intel will have a "compatibility mode" where E-cores are disabled and legacy apps incompatible with the hybrid architecture can run on homogenous core that they're expecting.

Surely, right?

Intel wouldn't be that goddamned stupid, would they?
Yeah they would...
seth1911Denuvo is crap some games that are cracked runs smoother than the original with DRM :laugh:
Yeah, no overhead, like punkbuster.
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#17
DeathtoGnomes
Chrispy_Surely Intel will have a "compatibility mode" where E-cores are disabled and legacy apps incompatible with the hybrid architecture can run on homogenous core that they're expecting.

Surely, right?

Intel wouldn't be that goddamned stupid, would they?
Surely you dont think Intel is that considerate enough to do that do ya? Let alone think that far ahead about gamers needs..

No they're not stupid, they just cant see the bigger picture of what they actually do.
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