Intel’s New Arc Discrete GPUs - What makes it revolutionary?

Today, Intel unveiled the entry-level Arc 3 graphics and teased the elevated Arc 5 and Arc 7.

Intel's long-awaited Arc discrete graphics have arrived, and they intend to shake up a long-running two-horse race between Nvidia and AMD.

They encompass DirectX 12 support, dedicated ray-tracing hardware, and — at least for the first batch of GPUs — approximately twice the power of Intel's integrated Xe graphics.

However, today's launch is just a taste of what Intel's full Arc picture will look like: To start, the firm is only planning to release the A350M, which has six Xe-cores and six ray-tracing units, and the A370M, which has eight Xe-cores and eight ray-tracing units.

Arc was designed for gaming first and foremost—Intel claims the Arc 3 laptops exceed 60 frames per second in triple-A games at 1080p resolution at high and medium settings, and 90fps in esports games, doubling the speeds available with its integrated graphics—but the company placed a greater emphasis on the unique value and features Arc can offer.

Beyond raw power, all Arc GPUs will have some new characteristics that may help them stand out from competition. According to the business, Intel is providing complete AV1 hardware acceleration support, enabling quicker video encoding in a variety of programs – one example demonstrated was how AV1 encoding will provide for smoother game streaming using XSplit.

Laptops and desktops with Intel Arc graphics will have Intel's Arc Control software, a free tool that allows you to get the newest drivers, monitor your machine's performance, alter settings, and access your game library.

Today, Intel launches its Arc era with the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro, the first laptop to offer Arc 3 GPUs as an option. The company says that many more designs will be released in the following weeks and months, naming partners including as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and others, with Arc laptops beginning at $899.

What to expect for the future?

More powerful Arc 5 and Arc 7 laptops will be available in early summer, while Arc desktop graphics cards will be available in the second quarter, according to Intel.

Gamers and content makers who want to see how Intel competes more directly with Nvidia and AMD will have their chance in early summer when Arc 5 and Arc 7 are introduced.

We'll have to wait and see how Arc GPUs perform once they're in the hands of reviewers, but the features Intel presented today are quite cool.