Intel’s flagship Arc GPUs may be just around the corner

If Intel’s drivers have anything to offer, we may be about to see the flagship Arc Alchemist graphics cards fast enough in real life – at least in their mobile versions.

Intel’s latest Arc Graphics Windows DCH driver introduces a series of optimizations, including a long-awaited setting. However, the most tempting bit of information in the driver is that it also supports two Arc GPUs.

An Intel Arc Alchemist laptop with the Arc logo displayed.

The latest version of Intel’s graphics driver, namely the Beta, seems like a bit of a spoiler – it adds support for the A770M and the A550M, both laptop GPUs from the Intel Arc Alchemist series. This would be a huge change as Intel has only introduced the entry-level A300 family so far, in both the laptop and desktop versions.

Have had laptops with Intel Arc scarce availability until now, and the desktop version was released in just one flavor: the Intel Arc A380, which also includes a modified version with slightly higher clock speeds. The desktop Arc GPU is only available in China for now, but Intel plans to roll it out worldwide. Hopefully, by the time it hits the global market, performance will have improved – perhaps with a new driver release. Based on the benchmarks currently available, the map makes no impression† For that reason, it would certainly be good for Intel to roll out better versions of Intel Arc to try and win over some customers before Nvidia and AMD hit the masses with the next-gen RTX 4000 and RDNA 3 graphics cards.

While the Intel Arc desktop graphics cards will likely be the main event, the current driver release only affects the mobile versions made for gaming laptops. The Arc A770M was recently spotted in a laptop paired with an Intel Alder Lake-H processor, adding weight to the assumption that Intel could release these GPUs soon.

The Intel Arc A770M and A550M were both previously mentioned in a source file built into an earlier Intel driver, so obviously they must have gone from a mere mention to an official part of the driver.

Aside from the tantalizing mention of Intel’s upcoming GPU flagship, the driver adds some much-needed optimizations. Finally, Intel has introduced a settings toggle that allows users to disable the 3DMark benchmark optimizations. Referred to as Advanced Performance Optimizations, the benchmark for institutions scores up to 15%. While this doesn’t sound bad, the setting makes the scores useless for official benchmarks, so it’s a good idea to have the option to disable it.

Intel also introduced several optimizations related to games, following in the footsteps of Nvidia and AMD, both of which do this regularly. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, F1 2022, and Arcadegeddon they all got a boost from the Intel Game On Driver. However, this only applies to users with a discrete Intel Arc GPU and not one of Intel’s integrated graphics solutions. The driver also fixed some issues in several games, though: Tom’s hardware notes, there are still many unresolved.

While Intel hasn’t officially revealed a release date for Intel Arc flagships, it can’t come soon enough. Let’s hope the driver is a preview of an imminent release of Intel Arc Alchemist A770M and A550M.

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