The Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards are Intel’s first real foray into the discrete graphics card market, and given its first attempt to compete with AMD and Nvidia, things have been a bit tricky for inexpensive GPUs. But the new driver update is helping Intel make gradual progress on its way to becoming a major competitor to graphics cards.
Update, is now available on the Intel website (opens in a new tab)has many promised performance improvements for the best PC games currently released, and also lays the groundwork for support for upcoming titles such as dead island 2.
The listed performance improvements in Intel’s patch notes indicate that the greatest gains were made in DirectX 12 games. With Dead Space Remake, for example, the Arc A750 can expect a 55% performance improvement at 1080p on ultra settings, or a 63% improvement better performance at 1440p with high settings.
Other titles such as F1 2022, Dying Light 2: Stay Human and Dirt 5 see more modest improvements of around 4-8% depending on card used, settings and resolution, but progress is progress. When it comes to graphics card drivers, a small change can go a long way in fixing a broken game.
The graphics driver is currently in beta, so some degree of bugs are to be expected, as you’d expect with any early beta driver. The driver currently only supports the following cards and chipsets:
- Intel Arc A770 Graphics Card (16GB)
- Intel Arc A770 Graphics Card (8GB)
- Intel Arc A750 Graphics
- Intel Arc A380 Graphics
- Intel Arc A310 Graphics
- Intel Arc A770M graphics
- Intel Arc A730M graphics
- Intel Arc A550M graphics
- Intel Arc A370M graphics
- Intel Arc A350M graphics
- Intel Core i7-1365U processor (integrated graphics)
Gamers should cheer for Intel Arc’s success
Let me be clear – it is not our responsibility to support the financial success of a giant semiconductor corporation. Intel doesn’t share its money with non-shareholders like me, so the company’s success or failure is Intel’s problem, not ours.
However, the discrete graphics card market is stuck in a very tight red-green duopoly that sees a steady rise in prices for even the best cheap graphics cards, let alone the best graphics card on the market, the $1599.99 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.
When Intel’s graphics team chief Raja Koduri left the company last month, there was speculation that it could spell trouble for Intel Arc more broadly, but Intel’s more recent commitment to buying TSMC GPUs for use in future Arc Battlemage and Arc Celestial releases points to more Arc cards coming soon, which we welcome.
While the Arc graphics cards we’ve seen are decent enough, they’re not serious contenders to AMD’s best graphics cards, much less Team Green’s best GPUs. But as Intel continues to refine its drivers and improve the performance of its cards, that’s about to change, and when that happens, a third-party GPU player could help bring graphics card prices down for everyone, not just Intel Arc fans.