Intel is also confirming its long-awaited Arc A-series branding which will include gaming Arc 7, Arc 5, and Arc 3 GPU segments.
Intel Unveils Arc 7 'High-Performance, Arc 5 'Advanced, Arc 3 'Enhanced' Discrete Alchemist A-Series Gaming GPUs
So we know the brand name from Intel is Arc and the first graphics lineup is going to be called Alchemist and they are going to feature the Xe-HPG (High-Performance Graphics) graphics architecture. Now the Alchemist name sounds a little too geeky but it's also a nice touch compared to all the Scientists & Star codenames that NVIDIA and AMD have been using. Also, Intel doesn't stop at Alchemist and has even more codenames detailed that they plan on launching in the future. Keep on reading to know more about that.
To make things simple, this is how each company brands its current graphics lineup [Company][Branding][Identifer][Family]:
- Intel Arc A-Series
- NVIDIA GeForce 30
- AMD Radeon 6000
But that's not all, we also have come to know what the products will be called. Intel is confirming today at least 5 products based on the Discrete Arc A-Series GPUs, all of which are aimed at the mobility segment first. So we know the nomenclature of these graphics chips will be something like the following:
- Intel Arc A300, A500, and A700 (performance-wise)
So the full branding would be something like (Note: following products are just used for naming comparisons and may not fall in the same performance category):
- Intel Arc A770M
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- AMD Radeon RX 6800
So now that we know how Intel is going to call their Arc Alchemist graphics products, let's move over to the specifications.
Intel Arc A-Series Mobile Graphics Lineup
As expected, Intel will be launching its mobility Arc A-series graphics lineup first which will get a total of five new products in each segment. The Intel Arc 7 and Arc 5 lineup will utilize the ACM-G10 GPU while the Arc 3 lineup will utilize the ACM-G11 GPU. All of these GPUs are equipped with the same feature set which includes support for XeSS, DirectX XII Ultimate, XMX acceleration, Xe Media Engine, and PCIe Express 4.0 along with a host of other features.
Intel Arc 7 'High-Performance' Gaming GPU Lineup
The Intel Arc 7 lineup is going to utilize the flagship ACM-G10 GPU and will feature two variants, the Arc A770M and the Arc A730M. The top-end variant for mobility platforms, the Arc A770M, will be equipped with the full ACM-G10 configuration, utilizing 32 Xe-Cores for 4096 ALUs, 32 ray tracing units, a graphics clock of 1650 MHz, up to 16 GB GDDR6 memory that operates across a 256-bit wide bus interface and a TDP target of 120-150W. This is comparable to the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Max-Q variant.
The second part is the Intel Arc A730M which will also be equipped with an ACM-G10 GPU but house 24 Xe Cores (3072 ALUs), 24 ray tracing units, a graphics clock of 1100 MHz, 12 GB GDDR6 memory running across a 192-bit bus interface and a TDP target of 80-120W. This GPU will aim for the GeForce RTX 3060 series mobility options.
Intel Arc 5 'Advanced' Gaming GPU Lineup
The Intel Arc 5 lineup will only feature one variant for now that makes use of the ACM-G10 GPU. It will feature 16 Xe Cores (2048 ALUs), 16 Ray tracing units, a 900 MHz graphics clock, 8 GB GDDR6 memory running across a 128-bit bus interface, and a TDP range of 60-80W. This chip should aim for the RTX 3060 Max-Q graphics chip.
Intel Arc 3 'Enhanced' Gaming GPU Lineup
Lastly, we have the Intel Arc 3 lineup which is the entry-level and power-optimized family making use of the ACM-G11 GPU. The lineup features the Arc A370M which utilizes the full GPU config & 8 Xe Cores (1024 ALUs), 8 ray tracing units, 1550 MHz graphics clock, 4 GB of 64-bit GDDR6 memory, and a TDP range of 35-50W. This chip would be tackling the GeForce RTX 3050 series.
The second option is the Intel Arc A350M which features 6 Xe cores (768 ALUs), 6 ray tracing units, 1150 MHz graphics engine clock, a 4 GB 64-bit bus interface, and a TDP range of 25-35W which is going to aim the entry-level MX500 series options from NVIDIA.
Intel Arc A-Series Mobility GPU Lineup:
|Graphics Card Variant||GPU Variant||GPU Die||Execution Units||Shading Units (Cores)||Memory Capacity||Memory Speed||Memory Bus||TGP|
|Arc A770M||Xe-HPG 512EU||Arc ACM-G10||512 EUs||4096||16 GB GDDR6||16 Gbps||256-bit||120-150W|
|Arc A730M||Xe-HPG 384EU||Arc ACM-G10||384 EUs||3072||12 GB GDDR6||14 Gbps||192-bit||80-120W|
|Arc A550M||Xe-HPG 256EU||Arc ACM-G10||256 EUs||2048||8 GB GDDR6||14 Gbps||128-bit||60-80W|
|Arc A370M||Xe-HPG 128EU||Arc ACM-G11||128 EUs||1024||4 GB GDDR6||14 Gbps||64-bit||35-50W|
|Arc A350M||Xe-HPG 96EU||Arc ACM-G11||96 EUs||768||4 GB GDDR6||14 Gbps||64-bit||25-35W|
Intel Arc A-Series GPU Performance
Intel has been tight-lipped about the performance of its Arc Alchemist graphics but they are now starting to share some performance metrics of their entry-level parts. We also know through our own sources where these GPUs will land. The ACM-G10 is expected to be an NVIDIA GA104 & AMD Navi 22 competitor while the ACM-G11 is expected to compete against NVIDIA GA106 / GA107 and AMD Navi 24 GPUs.
The flagship model should end up with around 18.5 TFLOPs FP32 compute which is 40% more than the RX 6700 XT but 9% lower than the NVIDIA RTX 3070. In terms of performance positioning, the top 512 EU variant is said to compete against the RTX 3070 / RTX 3070 Ti, the 384 EU variant is said to compete against the RTX 3060 / RTX 3060 Ti on desktops. On the laptop side, the 512 EU might be just as fast as the RTX 3080, 384 EU variant around RTX 3070 level and the 256 EU will end up against the RTX 3060.
Performance for the entry-level ACM-G11 GPU is expected to land between the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 SUPER but with raytracing capabilities. This performance level, if priced correctly, will be highly competitive against similar solutions from NVIDIA and AMD.
Intel has shown its entry-level Arc A370M GPU offering a smooth 60 FPS+ gaming experience at 1080p across a variety of games versus the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. Then in another slide, they show competitive titles can deliver over 90 FPS at 1080p when running on the Arc A370M series.
Intel also highlights the content acceleration features integrated within Arc GPUs with the A370M providing a 2.4x boost over the integrated Iris Xe GPU. Intel hasn't shared any performance figures versus the competition yet.
Intel Arc Alchemist GPU Gaming Features
Intel knows that making a GPU is just one part of the whole graphics ecosystem and they are also creating a wide portfolio of features that will go into power their Arc GPU lineup. Raja Koduri and Lisa Pearce have highlighted that drivers play a crucial role in graphics development & they are collaborating with a list of developers and studios to optimize their GPUs for current and next-gen AAA games and creative applications.
Intel's DG2 ARC Alchemist will offer the first true gaming drivers and that is its own initiative. NVIDIA and AMD have worked for years to optimize their current suite of gaming drivers and to get Intel's first discrete gaming GPUs on the same level as the competition is certainly a big deal. A range of driver-specific optimizations including Resizable BAR support is also headed to Linux for Intel's Arc Alchemist GPUs.
Technologies that will be incorporated by Intel Arc GPUs include:
- XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) AI-Assisted Super Sampling Technology
- XeGTAO (Ground-Truth Ambient Occlusion)
- Xe DeepLink Technology
- XeXMX with Xe-Cores
- Hardware-Accelerated Raytracing
- Intel GameDev Boost with 1oneAPI Tool Kit
- Resizable-Bar Support for Desktops & Laptops
Intel has shown several games that will utilize XeSS in their recent demos such as 505 Game's Death Stranding, IO Interactive's Hitman 3, and Exor Studio's The Riftbreaker, all of which are fairly new AAA titles. Intel showcased both games running on an undisclosed Xe-HPG ARC Alchemist GPU. Both games were compared on 1080p resolution and 4K XeSS upscaling. Although the videos are of 1080p quality, you can still see that 4K XeSS really helps enhance the visual quality in both titles.
Intel ARC Alchemist 4K XeSS Super Resolution Demo In Hitman 3:
Intel ARC Alchemist 4K XeSS Super Resolution Demo In Riftbreakers:
The upscaled images are both sharp, less blurry and show the textures on various objects in more detail. We have a very in-depth interview with the principal engineer of XeSS here which talks about how the company plans on expanding the technology in their future updates. You can also see an internal 4K XeSS demo here along with further XeSS tech details here.
Intel Arc Alchemist XeSS Technology (GDC 2022 Demo)
Intel XeSS is a super-sampling technique that leverages Machine Learning to reconstruct a low-resolution frame into a high-resolution frame, running at a fraction of the cost of rendering at a higher resolution such as 4K. The core principle of XeSS is to take advantage of ML through the integrated XMX AI acceleration hardware that is featured on the Xe-Cores for Arc Alchemist GPUs. XeSS will be fully compliant with DirectX 12 and uses the Intel Vector Shading language-based NN (Neural Networking) running on Intel's Arc SIMD architecture.
Compared to native resolution (4K), XeSS 4K with XMX takes less than half the cost to render a scene. The technology is also DP4a compliant which means it can run on GPUs without AI or ML acceleration engines such as XMX but offer similar performance and image quality.
In terms of image quality, Intel XeSS will eliminate all kinds of ghosting with minimal artifacts (such as shimmering) when compared to other upscaling methods such as TAAU. It also comes with its own built-in sharpening engine and will be replacing TAA. Intel has stated that XeSS can achieve much higher scaling ratios without compromising quality than Temporal Supersampling or Spatial upscaling.
Intel also shared a brand new XeSS Rens demo which was running on an Intel Arc Alchemist GPU that was running at a fixed frequency. The demo was run on 1440p with raytracing and 4K with raytracing enabled. The demo was run at each resolution on 5 different XeSS presets that range from Ultra Performance, Performance, Balanced, Quality, and Ultra Quality. The Ultra performance mode offers up to 2.53x performance boost over native while Ultra Quality offers a 27% boost in performance over native at 4K resolution.
Intel Arc Alchemist Raytracing Technology (GDC 2022 Demo)
Next up, Intel talked about its raytracing approach and how they are making it better than AMD's and NVIDIA's approach. Intel will be bypassing SIMD divergency for hit shaders, textures and using a set of HW sorting for rays and threads to maximize uptime of each lane. This would allow Intel to essentially automatically accelerate raytracing on hardware.
In a slide showcasing performance metrics on a pre-production Intel Arc Alchemist silicon, the GPU offers 0.775x performance in RayQuery (relative) vs DXR1.0. Intel states that this is a bigger perf hit than competitor 1 (NVIDIA) while competitor 2 (AMD) takes an even bigger hit. Intel also offers their own conclusion and fixes to why this performance hit is seen on their GPUs.
In addition to XeSS support, Intel also showed a brief demo of raytracing running in Metro Exodus on its own ARC Alchemist GPUs. Another key technology Intel talked about is XeGTAO which is the brand new Gound-Truth Ambient Occlusion method, an advanced form of screen-space ambient occlusion, that delivers greater accuracy for higher image quality.
Intel ARC Alchemist Raytracing Demo In Metro Exodus:
Intel XeSS Is Backwards Compatible With DG1 'Xe-LP' & 11th Gen CPUs
Intel has also confirmed that the XeSS technology will be backward compatible with both Xe-LP-based DG1 GPUs & iGPUs on the 11th Gen Tiger Lake GPUs.
Intel also wants to leverage the workstation and content creation market with its Xe-HPG GPUs in applications such as 3DSMax where they can give NVIDIA's Quadro and AMD Radeon PRO graphics cards some tough competition. It is specifically stated that Intel's ARC GPUs can offer great graphics performance within content creation and development applications.
Intel also emphasized the driver release and how it plans to release them on regular basis and new releases every time a major title is launched. The company has gone on a major hiring spree for its graphics division, acquiring renowned names from the industry over the last couple of weeks. Since we mentioned drivers, Intel will also have integrated overclocking tools within their latest driver suite available when Arc Alchemist GPUs hit the shelves.
Intel ARC Alchemist Internal XeGTAO Demo:
Intel also announced that devs will have access to their XeSS technology through the DevMesh program and anyone from indie to AAA developers can submit a form from the official Intel DevMesh site. Intel is touting up to 2x FPS with their XeSS Super Resolution technology so it will be great to have more options for gamers & the tech also will be workable on both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.
Moving away from GPUs for a bit, Intel also discussed how they can leverage their hybrid design introduced in 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs within game engines. Intel and IO Interactive have been optimizing both the GPU and CPU sides of things. It is stated that developers can leverage back-ground tasks such as AI acceleration, Character Animation, Physics, Collisions, audio-processing, and more, leaving the performance cores with their leading single-threaded performance to be available for the more demanding tasks.
Intel DeepLink Demo Using ARC Alchemist & Iris Xe GPUs:
The last most interesting thing shared by Intel was their DeepLink technology which will help Xe-HPG ARC Alchemist GPUs work alongside Iris Xe to boost performance in creation applications. A demo showcasing a standalone ARC Alchemist GPU and another system with DeepLink where the same ARC Alchemist GPU is working alongside an Iris Xe GPU integrated on Intel's CPUs is shown. The DeepLink system ended up with 40% faster transcoding in Handbrake as it was able to utilize more performance out of the Iris Xe chip.
There Intel Arc 3 series is available starting now in various laptop designs while the Arc 5 and Arc 7 GPUs will be hitting mobile segment in early Summer so around May or June. Expect more info on these parts in the coming months.
Intel Arc A-Series Endnotes: