Here come the Intel Arc graphics chips

Intel Meets Competitors Head-on With Its Discrete ARC GPU Chips

Today Intel launched its Arc graphics product family for laptops. These are the first discrete GPUs to arrive from the Intel Arc A-Series 3 graphics portfolio that will span laptops, desktops and workstations this year.

Intel Arc will start the first launch with two different SKUs to meet consumer needs

Arc GPU’s are similar to discrete GPU’s from Nvidia and AMD that have optionally powered a wide range of laptops and desktops for many years. But Arc graphics technology claims more smarts and sophistication to achieve competitively affordable computing and gaming on Intel armed CPU’s. Compared to the past less capable GPU’s integrated into the CPU’s of laptops and desktops sharing RAM memory, primarily by Intel, Arc GPU’s aim is to offer a wider performance and price range for consumers, creators and gamers in laptops and desktops. A clear shot across the bows of Nvidia and AMD hampered by chip component availability, hard-to-get and balooning prices on current graphics cards, save some cheaper underperforming models demanding users and the insane crypto miners don’t care about.

For more information about Intel Arc A-Series graphics, including the launch presentation and news, please visit the Intel Newsroom.

 Intel Arc A-Series Mobile Graphics Family

On March 30, 2022, Intel launched Intel Arc graphics processing units for laptops. Intel Arc 3 graphics offer enhanced gaming and content creation. Coming in early summer, Intel Arc 5 and Arc 7 graphics will deliver increased graphics and computing performance later this year

Intel Arc A-Series graphics will power a wide range of mobile designs, with many of the first Arc 3 graphics products going into Intel Evo devices. These will include two initial product offerings: the A350M for ultra-thin designs and the A370M for more performance in thin-and-light designs.

  • Intel Arc 3 graphics offer enhanced 1080p gaming and advanced content creation. Arc A370M-based laptops will deliver more than 60 frames per second at 1080p on a range of popular titles.
The power specs of the entire first Intel Arc 3 5 and 7 series
  • Intel Arc 5 and Arc 7 graphics products will offer the same content-creation capabilities coupled with increased graphics and computing performance. These GPUs will have more Xe-cores, more Ray Tracing Units, and more GDDR6 memory compared with Arc 3 products.
  • The first laptops with Arc 3 graphics are available to pre-order now, with Arc 5 and Arc 7 laptops coming in early summer. Intel’s Arc graphics for desktops and add-in-cards are launching in summer.

 The First Intel Arc Graphics-Powered Laptops

Many of the first laptops with Intel Arc graphics will be Intel Evo designs with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors, enabling users to get the most out of thin-and-light machines with Wi-Fi 6, impressive responsiveness and battery life. The additional horsepower of Intel Arc graphics will unlock new and improved gaming and creation capabilities within mobile form factors.

First Ultra Thin & Light out of the gate with evo 12th Gen Intel Core Processor and Intel Arc 3 Graphics is the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro

 Xe High Performance Graphics Microarchitecture

Intel is starting with two different SOCs. The larger die left is the ACM-G10 and includes 32 Xe-cores, a 256-bit GDDR6 memory interface, and a 16x gen4 PICe interface. The smaller G11 die right has 8 XeCores, and a 96-bit memory interface.

All products with Intel Arc A-Series GPUs are built on Intel’s new Xe High Performance Graphics microarchitecture, or Xe HPG for short, which was engineered from the ground up for gamers and creators.  Xe HPG technologies enable Intel Arc graphics to deliver more performance, efficiency and scalability. Features include:

  • Powerful Xe-cores with integrated Intel Xe Matrix Extensions (XMX) AI engines to provide a 16x increase in compute capability to complete AI inferencing operations compared with traditional GPU vector units. The increased compute can help deliver performance boosts in productivity, gaming and creator workloads. 
Intel Arc full AV1 provides better compression hardware acceleration with better visuals
  • The Xe Media Engine supports acceleration for the broadest set of video codecs and standards and includes Intel’s  industry-first AV1 hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding. AV1 is up to 50% more efficient than today’s most common codec, H.264, and 30% more efficient than H.265.3
Arc Smooth Sync elliminates distracting tears normally showing when Vsync is turned off
  • The Xe Display Engine is ready for high-resolution, high refresh rate HDR displays, supporting the latest standards, including Display Port 2.0 10G for 4K at 120hz uncompressed.

Arc Performance

The numbers tell the story. Intel released its own benchmark perfomance piting it’s second lowest new Arc series 3 A370M against the current Intel Iris Xe (in creators benchmarking both the older embeded Iris Xe and new Arc series 3 work together). The perfomance will be much improved competing with Nvidia and AMD in the later release this year of Arc series 5 and 7 GPU’s.

Intel Arc A370M discrete Series 3 gaming frame rates are noticeably faster than the current intergrated Intel Iris X
Comparing typical creator workloads between the current intergrated Intel Iris X with up to 2.4X speeds on Adobe Premier Pro with Intel Arc Series 3 A370M plus intergrated Iris Xe helping out

 Gaming Technologies and Partnerships

Intel Arc key XeSS gaming performance enablement and adoption is already in these 14 games

Every Intel Arc GPU, from Intel Arc 3 to Intel Arc 7 graphics, will fully support DirectX 12 Ultimate and advanced gaming technologies such as hardware accelerated ray tracing and Xe Super Sampling (XeSS).

  • DirectX 12 Ultimate technologies include ray tracing, variable rate shading, mesh shading and sampler feedback.
  • Intel’s XeSS AI-based image upscaling technology will be used to significantly enhance gaming performance, and, for example, enable a game to run at a 4K resolution with performance that’s comparable to native 1080p.
More Intel Arc featured game titles
  • Intel is dedicated to delivering Day 0, game-ready drivers and is partnering with game studios around the world to ensure next-gen titles are optimized for Intel Arc GPUs and technologies such as XeSS.
  • XeSS will launch this summer with support enabled in more than 20 games with Intel planning to open up the XeSS SDK and tools for everyone to implement – ensuring industry-wide adoption across a broad range of software and hardware.

Intel Deep Link

Intel Arc Deep Link improves performance by sharing computing resources between the CPU and GPU

Intel Arc graphics for mobile supports Intel Deep Link technology, enabling Arc GPUs to work seamlessly with Intel CPUs with integrated graphics to boost performance for gaming, creating and streaming with the following features:

  • Hyper Encode – Hyper Encode combines media engines from across the platform to speed up video encoding workloads by up to 60% compared to the current Iris Xe Graphics alone.
  • Hyper Compute – Hyper Compute similarly uses the combined power of compute and AI engines found across the entire Intel platform, including Intel Core processors, Iris Xe Graphics, and Intel Arc GPUs, to accelerate a variety of new workloads.
  • Dynamic Power Share – Dynamic Power Share intelligently and automatically prioritizes engine performance depending on the workload by sending more power to the Intel Core processor or
  • Intel Arc graphics product as needed, increasing performance up to 30% in creation and compute-intensive applications.
Intel aggressive marketing of the evo series laptops with Arc graphics

 Intel Arc Graphics Community Experience

Intel Arc marketing will be at high pitch

Intel is working with the community and partners to build a growing portfolio of optimized games and multimedia applications that will be available to customers of Intel Arc graphics through special launch bundles.

  • Bundles will vary based on the system and region, but the first of these gamer and creator bundles are rolling out in April with the launch of the A-Series mobile products.
  • Intel will offer the Arc community a steady stream of contests and promotions such as monthly loot drops and play-to-win events.
  • Additionally, Intel is offering the Intel Arc Control app, a seamless interface and all-in-one hub that puts users in full control of the gaming experience. It features custom performance profiles, built-in streaming, a virtual camera, integrated Game ON Driver downloading, automatic game capture and more. Intel Arc Control supports Intel Iris Xe, Intel Iris Xe MAX and Arc GPUs for a unified software experience.
Intel Arc 3 enabled laptops starting now as low as $899 USD

 Developer Resources

Intel provides advanced one API cross-architecture tools to help game developers and content creators liberate Intel CPU and Arc GPU unique capabilities – and optimize applications for maximum visual performance.

  • Analyze and optimize graphics bottlenecks. Use Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers to profile graphics and game applications and ramp up profiling abilities with ray tracing, system-level profiling and XeSS capabilities.
  • Speed up media processing and cloud game streaming. The Intel® oneAPI Video Processing Library (oneVPL) enables hardware AV1 encode and decode support, and Deep Link Hyper Encode, delivering fast transcoding when taking advantage of multiple Intel accelerators in a platform.
  • Accelerate compute-intensive tasks. With Intel® VTune™ Profiler, developers can identify the most time-consuming parts of CPU and GPU code, visualize thread behaviors to quickly find concurrency problems, and more.
  • Integrate AI and machine learning in games. Intel® Game Dev AI Toolkit delivers a spectrum of AI-powered capabilities, from immersive world creation to real-time game-object-style transfer visualizations.
  • More resources are available via the Intel® Game Dev Program and Intel® Create.

Read about Intel’s performance Arc measurements here/