Intel has unveiled the first of its Arc Alchemist graphics cards, and as we already knew, those initial offerings are laptop-class GPUs.
Intel has announced three classes of GPUs, the low-end Arc 3 mobile GPUs, the Arc 5 (mid-range) GPU, as well as an Arc 7 for high-performance gaming laptops. This means Intel is finally going to be able to power legitimate gaming products, which will put it head-to-head with gaming laptops powered by Nvidia and AMD.
Intel typically claims that Arc 3 delivers up to twice the performance of Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, and benchmarks confirm this in some cases, with generally big gains across the board (in rarer worst-case scenarios, such as Rocket League, the A370M seems to be only around 20% faster, which of course is still a noticeable improvement).
However, Intel hasn’t explained what performance will look like compared to competing systems powered by Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics, so it’ll be interesting to see which laptop chips land on top.
Luckily, we won’t have to wait long – Intel Arc 3 GPUs will be available in gaming laptops from March 30, and Arc 5 and Arc 7 graphics will start appearing later in 2022.
What about specs?
The Arc 3 GPUs are the A350M and A370M, entry-level products with 6 and 8 Xe cores respectively. Both have 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM on board with a 64-bit memory bus, with the A350M sporting a clock speed of 1150 MHz and the A370M boosting it significantly to 1550 MHz. Power consumption is 25W to 35W for the A350M and 35W to 50W for the A370M.
As for the mid-range Arc 5, you get the A550M which runs with 16 Xe cores clocked at 900MHz, doubling the VRAM to 8GB (and expanding the memory bus to 128-bit). The power will be between 60W and 80W for this GPU.
Finally, the high-end chips are the A730M and A770M which bristle with 24 and 32 Xe cores respectively. The small A730M is clocked at 1100 MHz and has 12 GB of GDDR6 VRAM with a 192-bit bus and a power consumption of 80 W to 120 W.
Intel has clocked the mobile flagship A770M at 1650 MHz and this GPU has 16 GB of video RAM with a 256-bit bus. Power consumption is 120W to 150W maximum.
Never mind the raw specs, you might well be saying at this point: what about the actual performance? Well, Intel provides internal benchmarking, but only for Arc 3 GPUs.
The A370M is touted as delivering “competitive frame rates” for gaming at 1080p resolution, exceeding 90 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite (where the GPU hits 94 fps at medium detail), GTA V ( 105 fps, medium details), Rocket League (105 fps, high details) and Valorant (115 fps, high details).
Intel provides other gaming benchmarks showing performance over 60fps in Hitman 3 (62fps, medium detail), Doom Eternal (63fps, high detail), Destiny 2 (66fps, medium detail), and Wolfenstein: Youngblood (78 fps, medium detail). ).
All of these benchmarks are taken with the A370M running an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, and comparisons are provided with Intel’s Iris Xe integrated GPU in a Core i7-1280P processor.
Analysis: we can’t wait to see the rest of Intel’s alchemy
The first laptops with Arc 3 GPUs are supposed to be available now – we’ve already heard from Intel that they’ll be out on launch day, or the day after – and Intel’s only highlight is the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro .
Hopefully there should be plenty of models soon enough – from all the major laptop manufacturers, as you’d expect – with Arc 3 graphics, which will happily slot into ultra-slims like the Galaxy Book2 Pro, providing what looks like fairly solid 1080p gaming performance (running Doom Eternal at high details exceeding 60fps). Pricing for these laptops should start at $899 (about £680, AU$1,200), Intel notes.
It’s a shame we don’t have any indication of the performance of the mid-range Arc 5 – which is something odd with its base clock dipping all the way to 900MHz – and the higher-end Arc 7 products. range, but they don’t. t launch for a few more months. What Intel can achieve here will tell us a lot more about how Arc will perform in this first generation, and how the long-awaited desktop graphics cards – which are also expected to land in Q2 – will challenge AMD and Nvidia in PCs from Game.
Also note that during this launch, Intel let us know that XeSS, its AI super sampling technology (to compete with Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR) will not debut with these first mobile GPUs, but will instead arrive this summer with the big-caliber Arc GPU. More than 20 games will be supported initially.