New Intel Arc GPU driver ushers in gaming performance boosts of up to 20%

A Total War Saga: Troy
(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

Intel’s Arc graphics card driver has improved considerably over the course of a month according to a new report, with frame rates showing some impressive gains to the tune of almost 20% in the best-case scenario.

This comes from PC World, which used an Intel Arc A770 and measured frame rates in a small selection of games with the latest graphics driver, comparing that to the results obtained a month ago when the flagship GPU was released and the site first reviewed the card.

The benchmark rig contained the A770 GPU plus a Ryzen 5900X processor, and 32GB of system RAM (Resizable BAR was enabled, which helps boost frame rates). It’s the same hardware configuration (and OS version) as the original rig the review was performed with, as you’d expect.

The findings were that some games enjoyed hefty boosts, the biggest beneficiary of the updated Arc graphics driver being Total War: Troy which improved from 91 frames per second (fps) to 108 fps at 1080p resolution (ultra details). That’s an increase of 19%, no less, and at 1440p the game improved by 9%.

Horizon Zero Dawn witnessed an improvement of 10% (from 81 fps to 89 fps, at 1080p ultra), and Cyberpunk 2077 framerates were hiked by 5% at both 1080p and 1440p (ultra details).

Elsewhere, other games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider showed slight increases to the tune of 1-2 fps.

Analysis: Arcing upwards as time goes on…

With some of these games, then, a couple of extra frames per second is not something you’re going to notice in real-world gameplay, but it’s still an indication that things are at least moving in the right direction for Intel (something we’ve seen highlighted elsewhere, too).

And the large boosts for a few titles here are certainly some welcome news to focus on for Intel, and those hoping for a serious third competitor in the desktop GPU arena (to challenge Nvidia and AMD). Boosts of 10% and 19% in particular, over just the course of a month’s work on the graphics driver, are actually very impressive.

One game went backward, by the way, with Watch Dog Legions actually dropping by 5% at 1080p (and dropping 1 fps at 1440p too, but that’s not much of an impact). We’ll chalk this one down to an anomaly here, and hopefully now the problem has been highlighted it’ll be cured in the next version of the Arc graphics driver.

While this is admittedly a pretty limited run of tests from PC World, if Intel can keep up the general pace of improvement suggested here, or at least something like it, then the performance of Arc GPUs is going to go from strength to strength, month by month – at least in these early days when there are still a lot of kinks in the driver code.

Perhaps by mid-2023, Arc GPUs will be considerably more competitive as a result, and hopefully the likes of visual glitches and artifacts will also be ironed out more and more, as that’s the other task on the smoothing-out front for Intel, as well as achieving higher frame rates. Certainly, the kind of gains visible here in just a month is a positive sign that Intel really is changing things up a gear.

Remember that as well as updates to the Arc driver, there will also be patches applied to games in which developers improve performance on their side. So, measuring improvements in the way PC World has done here doesn’t guarantee they come from the driver, though in the space of a month, it’s likely that the gains mostly will. But at any rate, wherever those extra fps are coming from, the overall gaming experience is getting better, and that’s a good thing for Intel - and anyone with an Arc graphics card.

Via PC Gamer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).