Arc GPUs are finally here and all the tech is holding its breath

After a long wait, the adventure officially begins with dedicated Intel Arc graphics cards. The start of a small revolution?

Years from now, March 30th will be remembered as a true watershed in the world of hardware. Intel, Historic Processor Specialist, Will Really Coming officially announce the release of their first discrete Arc graphics cards, which offer the first intrusion on the side of laptops. In this way, the blue team hopes to sow discord in a kingdom dominated by Nvidia with AMD in the background.

As such, this is important information that could ultimately lead to a profound transformation of the hardware ecosystem. So the onlookers stamp their feet impatiently; Since the project was announced, everyone has been making predictions trying to evaluate the performance of these new products, especially in the extremely gloomy GPU market at the moment.

Is the firm going to target a particular segment or use? Is this first generation already relatively mature, or is this clearly a first attempt? What overall performance can we expect? Will it be enough for compete with AMD or even NVIDIA ? So many questions that still remain unanswered.

Indeed, even if the founder did announce the release of Arc GPUs, at the moment he tried not to offer any tests or comparisons with competitors. Therefore, to answer the most important questions, we will have to wait for feedback from the first benchmarks … if Intel does not give us something to refine in the meantime.

How will the assortment be organized?

We see that the Arc range will be divided into three segments: Arc 3, Arc 5 and Arc 7. As it is not accepted, this first stage of the nomenclature is rather explicit; these cards will offer entry-level, mid-range and high-end performance respectively. Each of these series will have different models, a little bit it belongs to the series i5, i7 or i9 processors.

Series 3 is the very first to be released, and models equipped with this board are available today. It is designed to equip small caliber portable wearable devices; this will allow them to enjoy games at 1080p and “advanced content creation“. Arc 3 series comes with baptized models Ark 350M and Ark 370M, probably in connection with his “mobile” vocation.

Series 5 and 7, on the other hand, are already aimed at more powerful devices; we can expect these cards to fall into the segments occupied by the RTX 3070 for the 5 series and the RTX 3080 for the 7 series. But we’ll have to wait to figure that out; we won’t find these new models in laptops until “early summer”.

For those hoping to equip their desktop PC with an Arc card, the wait will be even longer, as this time it will be necessary to wait for the “current” of summer. At least during this time we will already have the opportunity to evaluate the performance of the mobile versions of these cards.

How are Arc maps different?

These cards are built on a completely new microarchitecture called Xe High Performance Graphics (Xe HPG). It is mainly based on modules Xe Matrix Extension (XMX). These elements are specially optimized for all operations related to artificial intelligence.

Intel even claims computing power.”16 times better than traditional GPU vector blocks“. Enough for significantly increase the speed of calculation in this case, but also in games or as part of the creative process, according to the founder.

Arc cards will also be able to work with many different codecs. Thanks to the Xe Media Engine, they will, in particular, be able to work with the AV1 codec, which is “50% more efficient” than most of today’s H.264 codecs.

Its display engine will also allow it to support all the standards of the latest screens. The most powerful models will make it possible to use all the power DisplayPorts 2 to enjoy uncompressed 4K HDR content at 120Hz.

And this technology is also ready for the future. In theory, the Arc architecture is capable of handling an incredible number of pixels; on the most powerful models it will be possible to combine two screens 8K 60Hz or 4 screens 4K 120Hz! It simply contradicts whether these results are true in practice.

What’s new in the game part?

But Intel isn’t just targeting professional audiences; he also intends to do his own thing in the field of games. It starts with support for DirectX 12 Ultimate; the latter will serve as the basis for Arc maps to show what they have in store with hardware-accelerated ray tracing technology.

We also note Xe Super Sampling (XeSS), which is positioned as a competitor to Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR. Hence, it is a resampling technology; for those unfamiliar with it, it allows you to display a low resolution image that consumes few resources, but display it with a much higher perceived quality.

How does Intel optimize interaction with its processors?

It won’t escape anyone; despite the release of these Arc GPUs, Intel remains primarily a ruthless processor. Therefore, we might expect him to take on the role of an intermediary between his two products. And it really is, thanks to a technology called Deep link.

It starts with a subsystem named Dynamic power distribution. It is entirely dedicated to the control of electricity consumption; this will allow you to dynamically adjust the electrical budget allocated to the CPU and GPU to meet application needs in the blink of an eye.

This should lead not only to an overall reduction in power consumption for equal performance, but also to a sharp increase in performance when performing heavy tasks (+30% for intensive work, according to Intel).

DeepLink also serves as the basis for Hyperencode, a special rendering acceleration system. By using both the graphics parts of the CPU and GPU, Intel explains that it has been able to reduce render times by “60% compared to Iris Xe single platform“. The figure, which in itself tells us little, but makes us think in the case of a muscular CPU-GPU pair.

Engine, also note the system hypercomputer; this will allow Simultaneous use of the combined power of CPU AI compute engines, integrated Iris Xe GPU, and Arc GPU. The goal will be to significantly acceleratea variety of new workloads“. Presumably they will be AI-powered based on the founder’s description, but it’s hard to say exactly what that refers to.

The dawn of a small revolution?

All in all, this is an extremely exciting ad, even if it still has a lot of artistic blur. It seems that Intel intends to do much more than just appear in this segment; on the basis of this announcement, it even seems that he intends to walk right through the flower beds of the green giant.

And the blue team has a strong case for this, starting with their experience in the processor segment, which should play an increasingly important role. Indeed, the individual optimization of the components; the future lies in the overall system optimizatione, and in particular the interaction between CPU and GPU. And Intel perfectly understood this, as shown, in particular, by HyperCompute.

Therefore, it is quite possible that these machines are made very fast real market place, especially on portable devices where all these levels of optimization matter even more. In any case, manufacturers seem to agree, as Intel has already signed partnerships with many of the integrators mentioned; we can especially mention Samsung, which now offers Galaxy Book2 Pro with Arc 3 and a 12th generation Intel processor.

Despite all these uncertainties, there’s one more element that seems undeniable: there are still a few pleasant surprises for hardware enthusiasts in this already well-stocked 2022.

Leave a Comment