Intel has steered a bumpy road with its Arc Alchemist graphics cards, but a forthcoming driver update might offer a sizeable enough performance gain to keep the company's hopes of cracking into the discrete graphics market alive a little while longer.
Since the launch of the first Intel Arc A380 discrete GPU, halfway into 2022, Intel's GPU series has been plagued by a number of incompatibilities and driver issues, especially with older games running on DirectX 9.
According to a new report by German media outlet PC Games Hardware (opens in new tab) (via VideoCardz (opens in new tab)), Intel has tracked down the source of the performance bottleneck and fixed the issue. A major driver update in the near future aims to roll these changes out to the broader Arc ecosystem.
This would be a major boon for Team Blue since reported issues, including incompatibility and visual corruption, are going to be a major turn off for gamers. That's the one audience these cards needs to appease if Intel ever hopes to take on the best graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.
To that end, PCGH tested 66 games across the years, going as far back as Unreal Tournament 2004 GOTY Edition (a DirectX 8 title), and only Halo Infinite had severe issues. Most games in the trial ran perfectly — and that was before the forthcoming driver update, which is said to fix major performance issues Intel's Arc cards have been facing.
Its not too late for Intel Arc, but time may be running out
With Intel Arc seemingly on the ropes for months (if not years), there's definitely reason to be cautionous about how much of a difference this driver update will make.
Intel's most recent earnings call did not exactly inspire confidence in the market (opens in new tab), and Intel is going to be under enormous pressure to increase earnings in the year ahead. Intel's discrete graphics unit has already been in the crosshairs as the company's considerable investment hasn't resulted in a major graphics card launch that could compete with the likes of AMD and Nvidia.
Still, while Intel's Arc cards might be threatened, they haven't been shut down yet, and the company says it remains committed to seeing its discrete graphics project through.
With so much of the delay in the card's release being tied to issues with software drivers rather than the hardware itself, there is reason to hope that Intel's new cards can prove themselves to be major contenders for the best cheap graphics cards available,
That is sorely needed, as both AMD and Nvidia continue to release unacceptably expensive graphics cards that a majority of gamers have little hope of being able to afford.