Why it matters: Intel may have wanted to take an opportunity with its Intel Arc GPUs, but the company has had to delay their release and even limit initial availability to the Asian market. With the first independent review of a desktop Arc graphics card out now, Intel’s lack of faith in its discrete GPUs seems justified.
We haven’t seen any Intel Arc GPUs outside yet South Korea and China, despite the company’s initial promise that it would flood the market with a wide range of desktop and laptop models. However, judging by early benchmarks and the relatively slow development of drivers around Team Blue’s discrete GPUs, the company may have decided to take them to the global market more slowly.
Last month, Intel said its desktop Arc A-series graphics cards would be exclusive to China for a few months. The first model to hit the market was the Arc A380, an entry-level GPU that launched a week ago with a price tag of 1,030 yuan, or just over $150.
The new graphics card is hardly impressive in terms of cooling, video outputs or overall aesthetics. However, Intel claims it’s up to 25 percent faster than AMD’s comparably priced Radeon RX 6400. If you look at the specs, the Arc A380 does have something to offer, such as six gigabytes of GDDR6 memory connected via a 96-bit bus, a PCIe 4.0 x8 interface and three DisplayPort 2.0 ports.
That said, an early independent review published by Bilibili user Shenmedouengce suggests the Intel portion doesn’t perform as well outside of synthetic benchmarks, where it fits in between the Radeon RX 6500 XT and Nvidia’s RTX 3050† In fact, if you start the 3DMark Port Royal and Timespy tests, you get the impression that the A380 has some ray tracing chops compared to AMD’s entry-level offering.
In real-world gaming tests, the Arc A380 proved to be less powerful than AMD’s Radeon RX 6400and that includes popular titles like PUBG, GTA 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, League of Legends, Forza Horizon 5, and Red Dead Redemption 2. In fact, Intel’s entry-level graphics card seems to outperform Nvidia’s. GTX 1650 for DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and Vulkan titles.
It wouldn’t be easy to find an excuse for such poor performance against a GPU that Nvidia launched in 2019, especially since the card was paired with an Intel Core i5-12400 CPU – what a excellent gaming CPU†
This raises the question of whether Intel is trying to buy more time to perfect the drivers for Intel Arc, but the performance of the A380 GPU is disappointing unless you consider the relatively low price. Higher models may paint a different story, but we’ll have to wait and see.