Intel Arc GPUs just can’t compete with NVIDIA GeForce for content creation

Content creator at computer in home office
(Image credit: Unsplash / Nubelson Fernandes)

Intel Arc - the company’s “doomed” and controversial new graphics cards - has taken a battering in Puget System’s latest benchmark tests

Trying out the new Intel Arc A750 8GB and the Arc A770 16GB graphic cards, which released on October 12, the custom PC builder discovered that performance was less than spectacular compared to NVIDIA’s popular GeForce RTX 3060.

While Intel’s GPUs are primarily focused on gaming, meaning content creation is sometimes a secondary concern, the firm admitted, "we ran into a number of instances where we were missing software support, or where a planned feature wasn't working quite right."

Creating content (slowly)

Performing a series of tests in DaVinci Resolve - our top pick for best free video editing software - results showed both Arc graphics cards struggled when pitted against GeForce RTX 3060 12GB. Overall, NVIDIA’s offering was found to be 20-30% faster than either. 

Digging deeper, the company turned its attention to GPU effects and RAW debrayering. Once again, GeForce out-performed the competition, with effects processing 10-20% faster and debrayering approximately 50% faster. 

When it came to H.264 encoding and decoding, it was barely a competition at all. The GeForce RTX 3060 out-stripped Intel’s duo, with near-identical results when decoding on the Nvidia GPU and Intel's iGPU.

Compounding the issue, Puget Systems discovered that “when using the Intel Arc card plus the iGPU (with Resolve set to use "Intel Quick Sync" for decoding), we saw slightly lower performance than we did with either the iGPU or NVDEC with the RTX 3060."

"Performance was even lower if we only used the Arc card (with the iGPU disabled),” it added. 

However, there was better news on the encoding front. When pairing the Arc A770 with the iGPU, the firm found it to be 43% faster than the native encoder with the Core i9 12900K and 32% faster than using the Intel iGPU alone. 

The Intel Arc A750, on the other hand, was less speedy - but the results show some potential, the company claimed. 

Benchmarks were also run in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Unreal Engine, and top 3D modeling and animation software Blender. 

Results were more encouraging here. The A770 readily competes (but couldn’t quite beat) the GeForce card in both Adobe’s premium video editor and its VFX software. The A750 fared less well, but held its own - particularly in Premiere Pro. But, as Puget Systems noted, CPU is far more important in After Effects. 

In Unreal Engine - which hints at Intel’s intent to attract not just gamers but also game developers - it was found that “looking at performance in Unreal Engine, the Arc A770 is roughly 8.5% faster than the NVIDIA RTX 3060, while the A750 is 7% slower."

For graphic design artists, both Intel Arc GPUs put on a staggeringly poor performance - leaving NVIDIA the only game in town when it comes to professional rendering. 

Despite concerns that the high-end Arc GPUs offered a sub-par experience for content creators, Puget Systems did at least find that video editing benefitted from Intel’s Deep Link Technology, which allows Arc dGPU and Intel's iGPU to work together.  

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.