Intel’s first enthusiast graphics cards are here – and on the eve of AMD and Nvidia’s transition to a new generation, Team Blue has actually done a good job. The $289 Arc A750 and $329/$349 Arc A770 offer surprisingly strong 1080p performance, a unique blend of features, and aggressive pricing that make them worth considering for a mid-range PC—at least for most gamers.
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot to cover here and time is short, so let’s take a quick look at the hardware, cover the software features that interest us most, and then get to the heart of this review: gaming benchmarks.
We have a brand new GPU test suite for late 2022, with a tranche of complete newcomers joining a reshuffled assortment of Digital Foundry favorites covering all major engines. It’s a forward-thinking test suite with titles using modern APIs like DirectX 12 and Vulkan, which should give Intel a chance to show off its strengths. Of course, in our video review, we also take a look at the performance of some classic “banana skin” DX11 titles where we expect Intel’s first-gen Arc GPUs to struggle a bit more.
But first: the hardware. We tested two Intel Limited Edition models (think Nvidia’s Founders Edition cards), the $289 Arc A750 and the $349 Arc A770 16GB. The design language here is more streamlined than reference designs from Nvidia and AMD, with a metal chassis, black plastic covers, gently rounded corners, and dual axial fans. The A770 16GB LE differs by having three LED lighting zones (along the top of the card, around the fans and on the back), while the A750 LE doesn’t have one, but both cards occupy the same dimensions (27 x 10 x 4 cm). , the same require eight-pin plus six-pin power inputs and are in fact based on the same Alchemist G10 silicon. In terms of ports, we have one HDMI 2.1 port and three 40Gbps DisplayPort 2.0 ports on these two dual-slot cards. Notably, both also offer support for AV1 encoding, which isn’t part of Nvidia’s 30-series or AMD’s 6000-series graphics cards and should help, at the same resolution compared to H.264/H. 265 to stream or record in better quality.
Models from other manufacturers, including GPU newcomers like Acer*, are reportedly coming soon with a range of price points and designs. Most notably, there’s an 8GB variant of the A770 that retails for $329. Here’s how the three models compare in terms of core specs — with the $129 Arc A380 that debuted in China earlier this year, for context.
|Intel GPU||Arc A770 16GB||Arc A770 8GB||Arc A750 8GB||Arc A380 6GB|
|memory size||16GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||6GB GDDR6|
Looking at the raw specs, the A750 and A770 should be strong alternatives to the RTX 3060 with advantages in most areas – including silicon fabricated on TSMC’s 6nm node, just like the recent PS5 refresh. The RTX 3060, based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and manufactured in an older 8nm process, has a smaller chip (276mm² vs. 406mm²), a lower boost clock (1777MHz vs. 2100MHz), less memory (12GB vs 16GB DDR6), less memory bandwidth (360GB/s vs 560GB/s) and consumes less power (170W vs 225W). In a naïve comparison, the A770 looks like the better card – but Nvidia certainly has the experience advantage, with many generations to refine both its architecture and drivers over a newcomer to the discrete GPU space. So how do these cards fare in real tests?
To find out, we set up a robust test bench. The A770 and A750 came too soon to use Intel’s 13th Gen bits – or AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors – so we went for something more mature, familiar and… available. That means a 16-core Core i9 12900K processor, locked to 5.2GHz on its performance cores and 3.9GHz on its efficiency cores, and kept cool with a beefy Noctua DH15 tower cooler. This top-tier CPU is equipped with an Asus Z690 Maximus Hero motherboard, two 16GB sticks of G.Skill DDR5-6000 CL32 memory, and a Corsair RM1000x power supply. As for SSD storage, we currently have three drives: a 4TB Kingston KC3000, a 1TB PNY XLR8 CS3140, and a 1TB Crucial P5 Plus. Of course, we run Windows 11 with the latest graphics drivers installed for each of our three vendors. The idea here is that our graphics card is the bottleneck even at lower resolutions, and our gaming benchmarks were also chosen with that in mind.
So – let’s get to some gaming benchmarks, shall we? We’ll start with our new test suite, which includes 13 modern and remastered games across four pages, before running some specific tests of Intel’s XeSS upscaler against DLSS and concluding on the last page.