Intel Arc Graphics Chips Perform Disappointingly in First Tests

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Although at a slow pace, dedicated GPUs Intel Arc are coming to the market. Nvidia and AMD will finally have a competitor in the graphics chip segment, right? So-so. Some independent tests done with the models Arc A370M (notebooks) and Arc A380 (desktops) have not had encouraging results.

Dedicated Intel ARC GPUs (image: reproduction/Intel)
Dedicated Intel Arc GPUs (image: reproduction/Intel)

Intel Arc A370M

To check the performance of the Intel Arc A370M, the website notebookcheck bought an Asus Zenbook Flip OLED Q539, one of the first notebooks to come out of the box with this GPU.

This chip is part of the Intel Arc 3 line, whose specs make it suitable for gaming at 1080p and 60 fps, presumably. For those looking for more performance, the Arc 5 and Arc 7 lines are more interesting.

Despite this, it was to be expected that the Arc A370M would offer performance similar to that of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. notebookcheckthe results placed Intel’s graphics chip alongside a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, a model released in 2016.

In a test with Final Fantasy XV at 1080p and standard-level graphics, for example, the Arc A370M recorded 38.4 fps, the same result as the GTX 1050 Ti. Already in X-Plane 11.11under the same conditions, the GTX 1050 Ti recorded 74.5 fps, while the Arc A370M achieved 43.5 fps.

Intel Arc A380

Intel Arc desktop graphics cards have also started to hit the market. Timidly, but they started. The Arc A380 made its debut in China, and soon, the first independent tests followed.

With a price of around US$ 150, this is a graphics chip that, theoretically, comes to compete for space with the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 and AMD Radeon RX 6400 GPUs. For that, the Intel model supports ray tracing and 6 GB memory, for example.

Even so, tests by a Chinese man who identifies himself as Shenmedounengce and reported by the site Wccftech indicate that the Arc A380 underperforms the aforementioned rival graphics chips in several games. Among them are League of Legends, GTA 5, PUBG and Forza Horizon 5.

Arc A380
Arc A380 “beaten” in all tests (image: Bilibili/Shenmedounengce)

It is noteworthy that the Radeon RX 6400 has had a much more consistent performance in games, even with 4 GB of memory and a 20 W lower consumption pattern compared to the Arc A380 GPU.

Not everything is lost

This situation might make us think that Intel has failed to enter the dedicated GPU segment, but that’s not quite the case. Some factors must be taken into account before making any judgment.

For starters, the tests suggest that some games still lack optimization to run satisfactorily with the evaluated graphics chips. This work can be done both by game developers and by Intel itself, in the form of driver adjustments.

Intel Arc graphics card (image: playback/Intel)
Intel Arc graphics card (image: playback/Intel)

The optimization aspect gains more strength if we consider that, in benchmark tools, like 3DMark, both Arc A370M and Arc A380 showed more interesting results than in games.

Furthermore, despite the optimism that Intel has been showing, the Arc family is still a work in progress. Perhaps the company will be able to develop drivers that boost the performance of the first Arc GPUs. However, it is possible that really interesting results will only appear in the next generations.

In any case, the Intel Arc graphics chips are notably superior compared to the integrated Intel Xe GPUs. Because of this, the Arc lines can be an option for those looking for more graphics performance, but don’t want something very expressive.

In the short term, it is to be expected that Intel will be strategic, that is, work with reduced prices, at least until its GPUs become truly competitive.

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