Here’s just what you need to know about Intel’s new Ark Gaming GPU, from ray tracing support to its DLSS competitor.

Intel’s Arc gaming GPU

Intel’s highly anticipated Arc GPU will provide gamers a much-needed third option to AMD and Nvidia when it launches. We’ve collated all we’ve discovered about Intel’s initial foray into high-end discrete graphics because we know you spend more time reading about gaming GPUs than actually using them these days.

Table of Contents

As we move closer to Arc’s release, we’ll keep this story updated with further details.

Why is it named Intel Arc?

Intel’s discrete graphics card has been dubbed Xe-HPG or High-Performance Gaming until this week. Although the Xe-HPG microarchitecture will be visible on the box, the GPU now sports the significantly more memorable ‘Arc’ branding, which is said to be inspired by computer game “story arcs.” It’s simply easier to remember than Xe-HPG.

Does it support hardware ray tracing?

The road to making ray tracing a desirable feature was just getting started when Intel initially announced its ambitions to compete with Nvidia and AMD. A lack of ray tracing support is now considered a flaw.

Intel’s Alchemist Arc will support hardware ray tracing. Each “slice” will have an unknown-performance ray tracing unit to enable key ray traversal, bounding box intersection, and triangle intersection features. In a nutshell, Arc will ship with hardware ray tracing. The first Arc will also have mesh shading tier 2 and pixel sampling and support for DirectX 12 Ultimate.

Nvidia s DLSS 2.0 will compete with Inte s XeSS.seedpc
Nvidia s DLSS 2.0 will compete with Inte s XeSS

Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0 will compete with Intel’s XeSS.

How will Arc deal with Nvidia’s DLSS?

Gamers and the media first viewed advanced ray-tracing technologies with skepticism and dread of slowdowns. By offering stunning 4K resolution gameplay based on 1080p upscaling, Nvidia’s AI-based DLSS 2.0 changed the tide of opinion.

Intel’s XeSS technology will leverage machine learning and temporal feedback techniques to allow Arc GPUs to render a game at 1080p before scaling up to 4K. Intel claims that utilizing XeSS 4K vs. 4K native and an Unreal Engine demo can be run with “no noticeable quality loss” while tripling frame rates. 

It appears to be rather remarkable from what we’ve seen thus far. However, you won’t believe it unless you see it for yourself, so we’ve put it on YouTube for you.

Is XeSS limited to Intel’s Arc GPU?

One disadvantage of Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0 is that it requires Nvidia hardware to run. XeSS will operate on any device that supports DP4A or INT8 instructions, which most latest Nvidia and AMD GPUs do, according to Intel, which appears to have nothing to lose. 

Intel will allow XeSS to reach a larger audience; however, it will not be as good or fast on other systems. It makes the feature more appealing to game creators, who want more clients for every function they offer.

Does A large number of game developers support xeSS?

Having a new hardware feature; it’s another to convince developers to support it. Intel must gain developer support for XeSS and its cards to succeed. 

The business isn’t stating how many people are hopping on the XeSS or Arc bandwagons just yet.

intel is switching from eus to xe cores seedpc
intel is switching from eus to xe cores

Intel is switching from EUs (execution units) to Xe-cores.

How Many EUs does Arc have?

Because EUs are no longer in existence, the answer is zero. Intel previously referred to the graphics engines in its graphics chips as execution units. An 11th-gen Core i7-1185G7, for example, has 96 EUs of Iris Xe graphics. 

Intel has switched to Xe-cores since EUs have gotten too big and cumbersome to use as a description. So, the Core i7-1185G7 would now have six Xe-cores. There are 16 vector engines and 16 matrix engines in each Xe-core. Four Xe-cores make up a slice, and the first Arc GPU can handle up to eight slices. Each slice is linked together via a high-bandwidth L2 fabric.

The Xe-HPG GPUs from Intel can support up to eight slices, each with four Xe-cores.
The Xe-HPG GPUs from Intel can support up to eight slices, each with four Xe-cores.

The Xe-HPG GPUs from Intel can support up to eight slices, each with four Xe-cores.

How is Arc’s power efficiency?

Intel didn’t have to get into great detail on Arc’s power efficiency, but it did note that compared to the Xe Max used in laptops, Xe-performance-per-watt HPG’s and frequency rose by 1.5X. 

Intel’s manufacturing partner assisted with the performance and clock scaling improvements, according to the company.

Is TSMC manufacturing Arc GPUs?

Intel will use external foundries to make its cutting-edge products for the first time. As a result, TSMC will produce Alchemist Arc graphics silicon on its N6 node.

intel arc road map seedpc
Intel Arc Roadmap

Are the Arc codenames derived from video games?

For its GPU launch, Intel ditched its typical dull code names. ‘Alchemist‘ is the codename for the first Arc, followed by ‘Battlemage,’ ‘Celestials,’ and ‘Druid.’ 

According to the company, the names are based on character classes from numerous games over the years. All we know is that it’s a step up from the codenamed ‘Los Angeles River,’ which you’d have to see in person to understand.

When can we buy Intel Arc?

We understand that you want to know when you can buy it. Sadly, you’ll have to wait until Q1 2022.

Will Arc’s GPUs be as fast as AMD and Nvidia’s?

Arc’s performance is a complete mystery. It may not matter to PC gamers in search of any gaming-capable GPU because AMD and Nvidia GPUs are as scarce as a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket these days.

How much is the price of Intel Arc?

Intel has not stated how much their first high-end GPU would cost. We’re guessing you won’t find out until the day it releases. The real question is how much it should cost. Intel might choose to match AMD and Nvidia-comparable GPUs, or it could undercut AMD and Nvidia, basically launching a pricing grenade.

Will Linux drivers be available for the Intel Arc?

Intel has said that it would support Linux. It also intends to enable Vulkan ray tracing once the Arc card is released.

Will the Intel Arc be able to run Crysis?

Yes, gamers, the meme of “will it play Crysis,” a game so punishing that people still complain about it 14 years later, is true: Arc will run it. Even better, Intel demonstrated Crysis Remastered in a video taken on pre-production silicon.


Bilal Shafqat

A PC Enthusiast, A Designer, Developer, Blogger, content writer and co founder of Seed pc, loves to write about Programming, Gadgets, Software, and Games in his spare time.


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