Intel’s first Arc-generation discrete graphics card — the first attempt at gaming graphics in years — is finally here. in China.at an incredible price (opens in new tab). This also means that we will get an independent performance evaluation of the discrete Arc A380 Alchemist GPU. And it doesn’t look good.
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out the exact reason for Intel’s approach. But whatever the reasoning behind its release as Intel’s pioneering foray into discrete graphics, the Arc A380 looks like a GPU that isn’t even close to Nvidia’s previous-generation GTX 1650.
Unless you count the synthetic 3DMark test, which is to say, it surprisingly outperforms Nvidia’s older entry-level cards, as well as AMD’s RDNA 2-based RX 6400 and RX 6500 XT (opens in new tab). This is true in both the Time Spy and ray-traced Port Royal benchmarks.
if not because Shenmo Dongce on Bilibili (opens in new tab) (pass video card (opens in new tab)) in every test it ran, the Intel GPU didn’t lag behind all three competing cards. They’re not weird games either, with League of Legends, GTA V, PUBG, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon 5, and Red Dead Redemption 2 all running on Arc GPUs.
I mean, it runs all of that, which is awesome. But we’ve run into some issues when your new entry-level graphics card can’t compete with entry-level GeForce GPUs released three years ago.
The best results were in the Vulkan-based RDR2 run, where the A380 trailed only the RX 6400 and GTX 1650, hitting 59 fps at 1080p and the others managing 67 and 70 fps, respectively. Still, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
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A test machine also makes sense. This is an Intel Core i5 12400 based system on a B660 motherboard with 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM and Windows 11 Pro. The comparison cards come from MSI’s Nvidia RTX 3050 and GTX 1650, and Yeston’s RX 6400 and RX 6500 XT.
Maybe the problem is with the drivers, which might explain why Intel was so behind when it launched its first discrete card. And why it chose to have the low-end A380 alone in the Chinese market, mainly because it can still claim to have launched the Arc in the first half of the year.
i really hope Yes drivers, because the difference between 3DMark and game numbers is so stark it’s puzzling. Just as Intel designed the GPU purely to perform in 3DMark, it’s now working hard to match it with the actual game engine that developers actually use.
I guess that’s why Intel is so adamant about blocking its high-end version of the Alchemist architecture, because if it can reclaim in-game performance to get closer to what was offered in the synthetic 3DMark test, then it has a better chance of success much more. If Intel followed the release rhythm of other GPU manufacturers and launched their own flagship, best-performing graphics cards first, they would have been slaughtered.
In fact, any positivity towards Intel’s GPU business is quickly evaporating, and we’re all waiting to see how bad it will be when the high-end A700-series cards finally roll out. The slow drip of Arc releases, laptop GPUs are still hard to master, and desktop GPUs are region locked and restricted, making Intel’s new graphics business difficult to watch.
Hopefully Intel can do something about gaming performance between now and the release date, as the industry really could go a third way in the GPU market.