How did we get here?
A few months back I bought Intel’s Arc A750 graphics card to test. The day one drivers, Intel admitted, were lacking support for some older games. Newer games use Direct X12 to interface with Windows, while older ones use DX11 or 9. Some games also use the Vulkan API, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The Arc GPU’s were optimized for DX12 and Vulkan with plans to catch up as they went. If they went.
Newer titles perform very well , and the A750 can be picked up right now for under 250USD. It’s a great deal for the money, and they have updated a wide variety of games. There are, however, some issues. Some games are good for benchmarks because of how they stress components. They may not always be popular, but they have a purpose.
One popular for testing is Borderlands 3. It stresses the graphics card and often makes the best cards run hot. It also runs on DX11 AND DX12, except it doesn’t; not with the Intel drivers. Okay, DX 11 technically works, but DX12 crashes and won’t restart without going into the games config file. I don’t think that is a default setting.
While using DX11, performance is less than stellar. The game measures performance from the mid 70 frames per second to around 100 whether render the resolution is set to 1440P or the more standard 1080P. Generally, 1080P should be between a 10 and 20% improvement over the higher resolution. It’s not, if anything it’s worse, AND its worse with the new driver. Only a few frames and in margin of error, but worse.
World War Z is another game with a different problem. Why would I mention a game that has a limited popularity? Because its a dual API game, with a choice between DX11 and Vulkan. Well, it’s supposed to support two protocols, but Vulkan isn’t currently an option. I haven’t looked at the config file yet, but from the menu, it’s a no.
Still, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the DX11 drivers are all but broken. Any combination of texture and resolution nets you 60fps or less. GPU and CPU usage are both extremely low and memory usage is through the roof. Tears, frame drops and missing textures are all common, making it almost painful to watch. WWZ isn’t that popular, so it probably won’t be fixed for quite a while. it is, a valuable benchmark, however, or was.
They didn’t list either of these as games as improved, but I had hoped.
Will there be better drivers?
Most assuredly. Intel has done a fantastic job of updating every few weeks with a larger one about every quarter. Each time, there is an improvement and we have to remember, they haven’t been producing graphics cards for two decades plus, like the other two have. For a freshman effort, it’s outstanding and priced extremely well.
The card is under 250 USD and compares well to cards that cost at least one and a half times as much. It’s a worthy opponent, and it is a beautiful, sleek looking card that compliments almost any system. The AV1 encoder will be of great use rendering video content, and it is power efficient, as well. The issues with some older titles is an inconvenience for some of us doing benchmarks, but the card performs well in newer titles. It’s actually a solid card.
I was skeptical when it came out, but thought the price was affordable if it turned out to be junk. I’m happy to say, it’s not junk. It’s actually a great card, and a great buy. With the constant improvements to drivers in Arc, I’m excited to see Battlemage when it releases, and I never imagined myself saying that. If the current example holds true, the next gen will also be affordable, putting pressure on NVidia and AMD.
This card will stay in my build and will so be my editing rig. In turn, I will use my other PC for testing, but I think the Arc will make a decent gaming and streaming option, so it gets a try. If it doesn’t cut it, I’ll just swap it out with the RTX 3060Ti I’m using.
The video on this is located here
Back to the blog page