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Intel takes on Nvidia, AMD with its Arc series of discrete graphics

Intel takes on Nvidia, AMD with its Arc series of discrete graphics
31 Mar, 2022

Intel has launched its Arc series of Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for laptops and desktop PCs. Intel said, laptops with Arc 3 GPU, aimed at enhanced gaming and content creation, will be available first, while laptops with the Arc 5 and Arc 7 GPUs, aimed at advanced and high-performance gaming, respectively, will arrive later in the summer. Laptops with Arc 3 are already available for pre-order in select markets. Arc-based desktops and workstations will be released later in the year. 

According to Intel, Arc 3 offers up to 8 cores, 8 Ray Tracing (RT) units, 4GB GDDR6 RAM, a clock speed of up to 1550MHz, and will consume up to 50W of graphics power. The Arc 5 has 16 cores, 16 RT units, 8GB GDDR6 RAM, a clock speed of 900MHz, and up to 80W of graphics power. The top-of-the-line Arc 7 has up to 32 cores, 32 RT units, 16GB GDDR6 RAM, a clock speed of up to 1650MHz with up to 15W of power. In terms of specs, the Arc GPUs are on par with Nvidia's latest RTX 30 series of laptop GPUs. 

Further Intel said that the Arc GPUs are powered by a high-performance graphics (HPG) microarchitecture that has been designed for gaming. Arc GPUs also use Intel Deep Link technology to ensure they work seamlessly with Intel CPUs. Intel claims the new GPU can handle video encoding workloads 60% faster than Iris Xe Integrated GPUs. The Arc GPUs also support hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, DirectX 12 Ultimate, and AI-based upscaling technology Xe Super Sampling. 

“We have partnered with top OEMs to co-engineer an amazing lineup of laptops that feature new and improved gaming and content creation capabilities with Intel Arc graphics and 12th Gen Intel Core processors,” Roger Chandler, Vice President and General Manager of Graphics and Gaming Team at Intel said in a blog post

Intel had earlier said it was in talks for over 50 mobile and desktop customer designs for Arc GPUs from multiple OEMs such as HP, Asus, Dell, Gigabyte, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, and MSI. 

Unlike integrated GPUs that are built into the processor and share the system memory with the CPU, discrete GPUs remain separate  and do not share the memory with the CPU, which allows them to deliver the higher performance required for gaming and handling graphic-intensive workloads. 

The Arc graphics marks Intel’s entry into the discrete graphics segment, a market that has been dominated by NVidia and AMD until now. As of Q3 2021, Nvidia controls the lion’s share of the discrete GPU market with 83% of global shipments, while AMD accounted for the remaining 17%, as per Statista

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