12 Reasons to Consider the Intel Arc GPU for Your Next PC Build

The PC gaming landscape is constantly evolving, with new hardware releases that promise improved performance and features. 2022 saw the entrance of Intel into the discrete GPU market with the launch of their Intel Arc graphics cards. While still early in the product cycle, the Intel Arc GPU shows promise in delivering compelling performance at affordable price points.

Here are 12 reasons why PC builders should consider the Intel Arc for their next gaming rig.

1. Competitive Pricing

Early Intel Arc GPU like the A380 have launched at very reasonable price points, undercutting competing options from Nvidia and AMD. This competitive pricing makes the Arc appealing for entry-level and mainstream PC builds on a budget.

2. Improvement Through Driver Updates

It’s well known that Intel is new to discrete graphics, but that doesn’t mean the Intel Arc GPU can’t improve over time. As with any new hardware, ongoing driver updates will help extract more performance as developers gain experience optimizing for Intel’s graphics architecture. With continued support, the Arc can get faster and more polished as an option. Gamers interested in seeing the platform evolve may want to get onboard early when prices are low before performance increases.

3. Competent Gaming Performance

Intel Arc benchmarks show the card is capable of delivering smooth 1080p gaming experiences at medium-to-high settings in many modern titles. It offers playable frame rates above 60 fps in esports and less demanding games. In more graphically intensive AAA games, performance is on par or slightly below competing options from AMD and Nvidia. This level of performance makes the Arc suitable for casual and competitive 1080p gaming on a budget. Power efficiency is also good, meaning Arc delivers playable frames without high power draws.

4. Support for Leading APIs

The Intel Arc GPU supports all the major modern gaming APIs and cross-platform programming technologies used by today’s top titles. This includes DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan, and Open CL. Support for technologies like DirectStorage and XeSS for improved loading and upscaling bodes well for the Arc’s gaming credentials. Access to leading-edge APIs ensures games and applications tuned for performance on competing hardware will also run well on Arc. Optimizing cross-platform graphics standards helps future-proof your investment in the Arc platform.

5. Entry into the Creator Space

While gaming performance is the initial focus, the Arc Intel GPU architecture was designed for more than just games. Intel aims to stake a claim in professional creator and productivity workloads like CAD/CAM, video editing, and content creation that leverage leading APIs like OpenCL and SYCL. As creative software gains GPU acceleration and developers optimize, the Arc could emerge as a cost-effective GPU for lightweight creative tasks. Early adopters interested in both gaming and casual content creation have a potential all-in-one solution with the Arc GPU.

6. Support for Leading Display Technologies

As with competitors, the Intel Arc supports modern high-fidelity display technologies like HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4a. This means you get gaming and HDR video playback at high resolutions and refresh rates up to 4K at 120 Hz on compatible displays. Arc GPUs also work with modern connectivity standards like PCIe Gen 4 for fast throughput to the CPU and storage. No gaming rig is future-proof without support for the latest display innovations. The Arc delivers the connectivity needed to enjoy your content and games on today’s best panels.

7. Expansive Game Library via XeSS

Deep learning super sampling (DLSS) has been a game-changer for improving frame rates using Nvidia RTX hardware. With their own version called XeSS, Arc Intel provides a similar FPS boost across a growing list of supported titles. Early games can see up to 2x performance boosts with minimal loss of quality compared to native resolutions when using ultra-fast render modes.

8. Upgrade Path for Future Intel Graphics

Builders investing now gain access to free performance boosts through regular driver updates optimized for Arc. They can easily upgrade to a faster Intel GPU if desired, without the extra costs of swapping CPUs or motherboards compared to a competitor change.

9. Power of Xe-HPG Architecture

The “Xe-HPG” graphics microarchitecture powering Intel Arc is designed from the ground up for gaming and interactive workloads. It implements hardware-accelerated ray tracing, AI acceleration, and advanced media encoding engines. The Xe architecture brings modern design principles to compete with AMD and Nvidia offerings. As developers optimize, more of the architecture’s potential can be unlocked in games and applications over time.

10. Hybrid Graphics for Versatility

Arc GPUs support Intel’s Hybrid Graphics technology, allowing notebooks and mobile PCs to seamlessly switch between integrated and discrete graphics for improved battery life and performance. On desktops, Arc graphics cards work in tandem with Intel integrated graphics through technologies like Hyper-Threading. This offers versatility for different application needs, like esports on integrated graphics and AAA gaming on discrete graphics.

11. Content Creator Features

While gaming is the initial focus, Arc GPUs integrate AV1 video decode acceleration, display calibration tools for color accuracy, and other features interesting for creative tasks. Intel has also developed SDKs and tools like OneAPI to help developers unlock hybrid CPU and GPU performance in creative software. Over time, we can expect to see Arc deliver hardware-accelerated RT cores and AI performance suitable for on-ramp to mid-range content creation.

12. Value Add-Ons and Software

Alongside the hardware comes value-added software like Intel Driver & Support Assistant for keeping drivers current and monitoring system status. XeSS and other accelerated media abilities come bundled at no added cost. Users also gain potential access to free games, game bundles, and giveaway promotions during launch windows as Intel evo laptops looks to entice new customers. When factoring in bundled software as part of the package, the Arc delivers even better performance per dollar than raw specs suggest. Early adopters gain access to Arc-specific perks and promotions to maximize their gaming investment.

Conclusion

Investing early brings the advantage of seeing driver advancement and optimization over the Arc’s lifespan. For builders looking to join the PC gaming space on a sensible budget open to evolution or creators wanting versatile hybrid performance, the Intel Arc deserves strong consideration for any new Windows gaming PC build. Intel’s entry has the potential to shake up the competition.

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