Intel releases first single Arc Alchemist laptop video cards

Intel has released its first Arc Alchemist graphics cards for laptops. The company will make two entry-level models available on Wednesday, March 30. Later on, higher positioned variants and desktop video cards will follow.

Intel’s Arc Alchemist series consists of three categories: Arc 3, Arc 5 and Arc 7, all of which are built on TSMC’s 6nm node. Arc 3 is the entry-level series, while the Arc 5 and Arc 7 series include higher-end models. The three categories differ in terms of the amount of cores, memory and power consumption.

Available immediately are the Intel Arc A350M and an Arc 370M, which are part of the Arc 3 series. The former has six Xe cores with six ray tracing cores and 4GB GDDR6 memory on a 64-bit memory bus. The video card is clocked at 1.15GHz. Intel claims a power consumption of 25 to 35W. The Arc 370M has two extra Arc cores and has a clock speed of 1.55GHz, which increases the power consumption to 35 to 50W.

An Arc A550M will follow at the beginning of this summer, with 16 Xe cores at 900MHz. That video card has 8GB GDDR6 memory. At the same time, Intel introduces two Arc 7 video cards. The A730M has 24 cores and 12GB of memory, while the A770M has 32 cores and 16GB of memory. Intel previously said that desktop video cards will also appear in the second quarter, but the company is not yet sharing specifications.

Intel Arc video cards for laptops
Series Arc 3 Arc 5 Arc 7
Fashion model A350M A370M A550M A730M A770M
Xe cores 6 8 16 24 32
Ray tracing cores 6 8 16 24 32
Clock speed 1150MHz 1550MHz 900MHz 1100MHz 1650MHz
Memory (GDDR6) 4GB (64bit) 4GB (64bit) 8GB (128bit) 12GB (192bit) 16GB (256-bit)
‘Graphics Power’ 25-35W 35-50W 60-80W 80-120W 120-150W
Release March 30, 2022 Early summer 2022

The company does show performance claims from its Arc 3 laptop video cards. In addition, the Arc 370M would achieve more than 60fps in games such as Hitman 3, Doom Eternal, F1 2021 and Destiny 2 at a full-HD resolution. In Fortnite, that same video card would achieve 94 fps at 1080p and with the settings on medium. With GTA V, the frame rate is 105 fps according to Intel.

Intel says several manufacturers are releasing laptops with an Arc 3 GPU. These include Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Intel, Lenovo, MSI, and Samsung, in addition to OEMs like Clevo. The company states that these laptops will be available “starting at” $899. Euro prices are not mentioned.

Intel Xe cores and GPU build

Intel also shares information about the internal structure of its Arc Alchemist video cards. The GPUs have different numbers of render slices. Each render slice contains four Xe cores. Such a Xe core includes 16 vector engines, which were previously called execution units. Those engines can perform fp32, fp16 and int8 calculations. In addition, those cores each have 16 XMX matrix engines that are intended for AI calculations. Each Xe core also has a separate ‘unit’ for ray tracing and 192kB L1 cache.

The GPUs also get a media engine, which takes care of things like HDR tone mapping and the encoding and decoding of video. That media engine supports hardware acceleration for AV1, in addition to HEVC, AVC and VP9, ​​among other things. The video cards also have a separate display engine, which controls the image signal. The video cards thus support HDMI 2.0b and Displayport 1.4a, with Intel also saying that the Arc video cards are ‘DisplayPort 2.0 10G Ready’. HDMI 2.1 support is therefore missing. The Arc series also supports adaptive sync, DirectX 12 Ultimate and includes ray tracing, variable rate shading, and mesh shading.

Software: XeSS, Deep Link and Arc Control

Along with the Arc Alchemist graphics cards, Intel shares details about several software suites. The previously announced XeSS will arrive early this summer. That’s a temporal upscaler, just like Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR 2.0. Frames are rendered at a lower resolution and then scaled up. That should yield higher frame rates with less loss of quality.

XeSS works according to Intel cross platform, which should make the upscaler available for certain video cards from AMD and Nvidia. However, there would be performance benefits with certain Intel video cards, as XeSS can use the XMX matrix engines. XeSS will be available for several PC games, including Death Stranding, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Ghostwire Tokyo, Grid Legends, Hitman III, and Chivalry II.

Deep Link is also supported on the new video cards. This allows the integrated GPUs of Intel processors to work together with the Arc video card, which should provide better performance for certain computing tasks. Intel says this works when encoding video, for example. The power budget can also be divided between the cpu and gpu via Deep Link, whereby the power consumption of the gpu can be reduced if it is used little, after which the cpu can be supplied with more power.

Furthermore, Intel introduces its Arc Control software. That is a program for the gpu drivers, which also contains other functions. Users can adjust fan speeds and power settings in that software, among other things. The software also offers performance overlays, in which they can track the clock speed and other GPU telemetry.

The software also offers integrated software for streaming to platforms such as Twitch, in addition to AI webcam functions, such as blurring or removing backgrounds. Also, users can retroactively record gameplay videos via Auto Game Highlights.

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