Early Intel Arc A380 desktop benchmarks are disappointing

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We’re all looking forward to seeing real, non-Intel-provided benchmarks for the company’s new Arc desktop GPUs. Its first entry-level desktop card has just launched in China, and now a review has surfaced online. Finally, we have real benchmarks, including both synthetic and in-game. Overall, the results don’t look good for Intel.

To recap, the A380 is Intel’s entry-level desktop GPU in the Arc Alchemist family. It is priced around $150 or so and was designed to compete with Radeon RX 6400 and Nvidia GTX 1650 GPUs. All of these GPUs are designed for 1080p gaming. They exist in a niche where someone is on a tight budget but needs more punch than integrated graphics. Intel’s GPU actually has very decent specs for this price range. It also offers technology that is usually only found on more expensive GPUs. This includes its super sampling version which resembles DLSS and FSR. It also supports hardware ray tracing and has 6GB of RAM, which is rare in this class of GPU.

Despite these advantages, the A380 was slower than AMD and Nvidia GPUs in every gaming test. Wccftechthe results were published by content creator Bilibili, Shenmedounengce. Games used for testing included: League of Legends, GTA 5, PUBG, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2. The card tested is the Gunnir Arc A380 6GB Photon.

(Image: Bilibili, Shenmedounengce)

What’s interesting here is that the AMD card (red bar, above) is a single-slot GPU with very modest specs. It has only 4 GB of VRAM, a 64-bit memory bus and is also designed to consume 20 W less than the A380. Yet, as you can see, it exceeds Intel’s fledgling efforts in every benchmark. What’s even weirder is that the Gunnir board tested is actually an upgraded version of Intel’s A380. It has a higher maximum clock frequency of 2450 MHz compared to 2000 MHz for the reference design. It also has a higher TBP of 92W versus 75W for Intel’s design.

The A380 wasn’t so bad. Despite its losses in gaming tests, it picked up a few wins in synthetic benchmarks. For example, in 3DMark Timespy it beat the competition and even beat the more expensive RX 6500 XT. It also performed well naturally in the Port Royal test, which is a benchmark for ray tracing. Generally speaking though, we tend to put more weight on actual gaming tests over synthetic tests like this, for obvious reasons.

Given that Intel’s GPU beats its competitors on paper, but not in gaming tests, that’s a bit of a headache. As we have already written, it is quite possible that Intel has problems upgrading its drivers. This is obviously a huge factor in GPU performance. While that doesn’t look good now, Intel’s strategy of a “phased” global rollout is starting to make more sense given the issues that are evident. Hope there is still one plot more room for improvement, and Intel can get its drivers tweaked before releasing the more powerful Arc cards later this summer.

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