There were months of waiting, but the day has come: this Wednesday (30th), the Intel made the official announcement of its first dedicated graphics chips (codenamed Alchemist). There are three lines, all aimed at notebooks: Intel Arc 3, Arc 5 e Arc 7. The first, most basic, is the one being released now. The others are more powerful, but should only hit the market in the second half of the year.
Intel’s objective is rather obvious: to stop having only GPUs integrated into its processors to compete for space with the Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon lines where there is more demand for graphics performance, that is, in the gamer and professional segments.
Demands for graphics power vary, which is why Intel has divided the chips into three lines: optimized (Arc 3), advanced (Arc 5) and high performance (Arc 7). Let’s go to them:
|Arc 3||Arc 3||Arc 5||Arc 7||Arc 7|
|Ray Tracing Units||6||8||16||24||32|
|Memory (GDDR6)||4 GB||4 GB||8 GB||12 GB||16 GB|
|memory width||64 bits||64 bits||128 bits||192 bits||256 bits|
|energy consumption||25-35 W||35-50 W||60-80 W||80-120 W||120-150 W|
All these GPUs are part of the family Vehicle-HPG (High Performance Gaming), aimed at the gamer segment. As such, it brings game-specific features, such as ray tracing support — with specific execution units for that, as the table above makes clear.
The technology XeSS, Intel’s answer to the Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR standards, is also present. It will soon be compatible with games like Dolmen, Grid Legends e Hitman 3.
And the performance?
According to Intel, each Xe core has 16 Vector Engines 256-bit to speed up traditional graphics and 16 Matrix Engines Extensions (XMX) 1024-bit format specifically targeted at artificial intelligence tasks.
These and other features make Arc 3 graphics chips able to run some games, such as Rocket League e Valuingwith rates above 90 fps and 1080p resolution at a high level of graphics settings — this result was achieved on a notebook equipped with a Core i7-12700H processor and Arc A370M GPU.
Overall, Intel Arc 3 GPUs seem to be suitable options for gaming at 1080p and 60 fps or higher running graphics at medium or high levels. As always, independent testing will confirm these estimates, as well as show how the new graphics chips fare against the competition.
As not only games “lives” a GPU, Intel also highlighted other important features of the new graphics chips. One of them is technology. Vehicle Media Enginewhich can work with VP9, AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265) and AV1 video codecs, and supports resolutions up to 8K with HDR.
Another is technology Xe Display Enginewhich makes Intel Arc GPUs compatible with HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a standards, as well as multi-display configurations: up to two 8K 60 fps with HDR, up to four 4K 120 fps also with HDR or one 1440p with 360 fps.
Returning to the gaming segment, another attribute of the new GPUs is the Adaptive Sync, which synchronizes the screen’s refresh rate with the content generated by the graphics chip. This feature is complemented with the Smooth Syncwhich uses a kind of filter to soften the effect of tearing (“tearing” on the screen).
Intel Arc 3: when does it arrive?
The first notebook equipped with an Intel Arc 3 GPU is the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, a model announced by Samsung in February, but with an official launch scheduled for April.
Brands like Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo will also launch laptops based on Intel GPUs soon. In the United States, the cheapest one should start at around $800.
It is worth noting that Intel also plans to launch Arc graphics cards for desktops.