An overlooked feature for Intel’s 14th-gen chips boosts gaming performance with one click

It may have gone unadvertised because it currently only supports two games.


Intel may have downplayed a killer feature for its new 14th-gen processors, which can reach 6GHz. The company hasn’t marketed the chips’ new Intel Application Optimization (APO), but an enterprising Reddit user (via Tom’s Hardware) reports that it offers attention-grabbing performance boosts for supported games. Why the lack of advertising for such a potent feature? One guess is that APO seemingly only supports two older titles at launch: Rainbow Six Siege (2015) and Metro Exodus (2019).

One of the more dramatic examples of APO upgrading performance was detailed in the Intel subreddit by u/LightMoisture. With their setup using the Intel i9-14900K, the feature boosted Metro Exodus’ frame rate from 273 FPS to 339 FPS, a 24 percent increase. Rainbow Six Siege had even more eye-opening gains, going from 659 FPS to 867 FPS, a nearly 32 percent enhancement.

The Redditor notes that they ran the games in 1080p resolution on low settings with a high-end memory setup to test what APO can do in ideal conditions. It won’t likely reproduce those numbers on higher settings, and we don’t know how it would handle newer and more graphically demanding games.

The Verge’s Tom Warren tested the feature on “very high” presets at 1080p resolution. APO boosted Rainbow Six Siege (with a Core i9-14900K system and an RTX 4090 GPU) from 615 FPS to 688 FPS, nearly a 12 percent increase. Meanwhile, Metro Exodus Enhanced on the same rig rose from 177 FPS to 207 FPS, almost a 17 percent rise. Those numbers aligned closely with Intel’s guidance, which estimated a 13 percent increase in Rainbow Six Siege and a 16 percent increase in Metro Exodus.

Intel marketing image for its Application Optimization feature. A gray box with a toggle at the top to enable or disable. Individual games (with on / off toggles) sits below.

Unfortunately, in addition to APO’s slight problem of supporting just two games at launch, the feature also has a clunky setup. You’ll need to track down motherboard drivers (always a fun task) that support Intel’s Dynamic Tuning. (To make matters worse, not all vendors have posted them online.) Once you find and install the right ones, navigate to your PC’s BIOS settings to enable the feature.

After that, you’ll want to install the APO app from the Microsoft Store, which lets you manage settings and toggle it quickly. Adding even more joy to the task, several Redditors reported that following external links to the Microsoft Store won’t work and that you’ll need to open the storefront and search for Intel APO manually. In addition, if you haven’t installed all of the necessary drivers, the app installation will reportedly fail. However, once set up, the feature should automatically detect compatible games (hopefully more than two before long) once you launch them. If future setups are easier and Intel adds new game support regularly, it could wind up outshining 6GHz as the new chips’ marquee attraction.