Intel has presented the first in-house graphics cards for gaming laptops in more detail. There was also a teaser of Intel's first desktop graphics card, the Arc Limited Edition. However, I'm now concerned whether Intel Arc can really turn the graphics card rudder around.
In the midst of a price and availability crisis, Intel enters the graphics card market. Many PC gamers are looking forward to the release of the Intel Arc GPUs. With the new competitor, the graphics card prices could drop to a normal level and maybe there will be enough supply again in the long run.
Fortunately, the market situation has improved noticeably in recent weeks, even without Intel, but graphics cards still cost more than their already considerable recommended retail price. So what do I have to complain about Intel's appearance?
Intel Arc A370M vs. integrated Intel Iris X in popular games at medium graphics settings. Image: © Intel 2022
First off, I'm pleased with what Intel has shown: A performance comparison of the entry-level Intel Arc A370M laptop GPU versus the in-house integrated Iris X graphics. The entry-level graphics card delivers smooth frame rates of over 60 FPS in many games such as "Doom Eternal", "Age of Empires IV" and "F1 2021" at medium graphics settings in Full HD resolution. In competitive online games like "Fortnite" and "Rocket League" this results in over 90 FPS. This is a good way to gamble.
Gaming Laptops Buy Now At
We also learned the technical data of the weaker Intel Arc A350M, the mid-range card A550M and the flagships A730M and A770M for notebooks. Among other things, the A770M offers 16 GB of video memory and a TDP of 120-150 watts. Its performance should be around the flagship level of the AMD Radeon RX 6800M. Unfortunately, we can only guess based on the technical data. Intel didn't publish any benchmarks for the higher-end laptop graphics cards, only for the A370M. And it's about time, because the first laptops with the more powerful GPUs are expected to appear in the summer.
Does Intel Arc disappoint in comparison to the competition?
I also have worry lines on my forehead for another reason: the performance of the A370M seems to be on a similar level to that of the integrated AMD Radeon 680M laptop graphics. According to Intel, the power consumption of the A370M is 35 to 50 watts, the Radeon 680M consumes a similar amount – but together with the laptop processor. This means that the only entry-level graphics card presented by Intel could only be about as powerful as AMD's most powerful integrated laptop graphics at higher power consumption.
We don't know for sure because editorial tests are still missing. But AMD published a comparison of its in-house entry-level graphics card Radeon RX 6500M with the Intel Arc A370M, and from this certain conclusions can be drawn about the performance compared to the 680M, as Notebookcheck writes.
Intel Arc A370M vs AMD Radeon 6500M Image: © Twitter / Radeon RX 2022
Compared to the RX 6500M, the A370M is significantly slower, as the AMD benchmarks suggest. And that despite the fact that both graphics cards have a power consumption (TDP) of up to 50 watts. The difference is a whopping 72 FPS in "F1 2021" and still 19 FPS in "Strange Brigade". There is no doubt that AMD has chosen the games and settings in such a way that its own card comes off particularly well – but not a good omen.
Whether the first in-house Intel graphics cards can keep up well with the AMD and Nvidia competition now seems less likely. However, that might be okay under certain circumstances, because Intel could score points in terms of price and availability. But I'm not sure if that's really going to happen.
Intel Arc Limited Edition Graphics Image: © Intel 2022
In "One Last Thing" fashion, Intel released a teaser image at the end of the presentation. It shows an Intel Arc graphics card for desktop PCs. So far so good. Unfortunately, the manufacturer calls them "Limited Edition Graphics". And if there's one thing PC gamers don't want to hear right now, it's the term "limited".
Now one could speculate that Intel only refers to the in-house reference designs and these are always limited by AMD and Nvidia as well. The third-party cards from MSI, Zotac, Asus, and so on could be pouring into the market in massive numbers upon release. But I'm afraid Intel must have known how a limited edition desktop graphics card would look in the current situation. Namely the impression that the first Intel graphics cards will only be available in limited quantities. And that would not be a good start for a new challenger.
Conclusion: Muted anticipation is also anticipation
Intel Arc Graphics for Laptops Image: © Intel Corporation 2022
In the current graphics market situation, practically everything is better than nothing. Even if the Intel Arc GPUs could have a difficult time in the comparison in terms of graphics performance and there are doubts about availability on top of that, Intel could still score in terms of price. And even if it doesn't, a new competitor will at least set Nvidia and AMD on fire.
Unfortunately, "Better than nothing" and "Maybe at least spur the competition on" sound like marketing slogans I'd rather advise against. Intel will definitely need to score at the next Intel Arc presentation. Preferably with a strong performance of the mid-range to high-end cards for laptop and PC as well as with concrete, convincing information on prices and availability. And that could very well happen. I'm definitely looking forward to more information and the first Intel Arc tests.