A Snapshot of Mainstream Intel Arc Performance
Today we will be taking a look at the Intel Arc A750 graphics card – specifically Intel’s “Limited Edition” model – to see how it stacks up against various AMD and NVIDIA options. As this is an 8GB card, the focus will be on mainstream 1080p gaming. And, as Arc drivers keep getting better, this is just a snapshot of current performance.
Intel’s Arc A750 is based on the same GPU as the Arc A770 (DG2-512), though the A750 is only available in an 8GB version and the Arc A770 can be found with either 8GB and 16GB VRAM capacity. When we cover the Arc A770 (soon) there will be a focus on 1440p, as we have a 16GB version on hand. But for the vast majority of titles out there 8GB is more than enough for gaming at 1920×1080.
Intel has been giving the Arc A750 the lion’s share of marketing attention of late, leading this editor to wonder if the Arc A770 is quietly being phased out (Intel’s own Limited Edition version is no more). Hopefully this is not the case, as the market needs all of the competition it can get. But enough rambling. Let’s get on with it!
Here’s a look at the current Arc desktop graphics card lineup:
|Arc A770 16GB||Arc A770 8GB||Arc A750||Arc A380|
|Architecture||Xe HPG||Xe HPG||Xe HPG||Xe HPG|
|Xe Cores / Ray Tracing Units||32||32||28||8|
|Xe XMX Engines / Vector Engines||512||512||448||128|
|Graphics Clock||2100 MHz||2100 MHz||2050 MHz||2000 MHz|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||6GB GDDR6|
|Memory Data Rate||17.5 Gbps||16 Gbps||16 Gbps||15.5 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||560 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s||186 GB/s|
|Die Size||406 mm^2||406 mm^2||406 mm^2||157 mm^2|
|Process Tech||TSMC N6||TSMC N6||TSMC N6||TSMC N6|
The Arc A750 is no slouch, with only about a 13% reduction in GPU horsepower compared to the A770. This translates to (among other things) 3584 shaders to the Arc A770’s 4096. Of interest, memory bandwidth is identical between the 8GB cards, with 16 Gbps on a 256-bit interface producing 512 GB/s. The Arc A770 16GB stands alone at 560 GB/s thanks to higher-clocked (17.5 Gbps) GDDR6.
The Intel Limited Edition Arc A750 Card
Intel sent over this LE version of the Arc A750 for our review…some time back. Sorry, Nick! This card is still officially available for sale (currently $249 USD) – unlike the Arc A770 LE. Just to clarify, the only Arc A770 that has been discontinued is the Intel-branded Limited Edition, with partner cards from ASRock and Acer Predator on sale at places like Newegg.
I think this is a great industrial design, with a clean, understated look. It’s a hefty card for its size; weighing 1.0626 kg (2 lbs, 5.48 oz) on my kitchen scale. It requires both a PCIe 8-pin and 6-pin cable for power, and has a TDP of 225 watts. This card doesn’t have the RGB lighting of the Arc A770 LE, opting for a simple white LED illumination for the logo. It looks classy, but the ring of light around the other card is cool (if you’re into such things).
Here’s a GPU-Z screenshot, which not only shows the basic specs but also verifies the driver version used (as well as the fact that ReBAR was enabled for all testing).
It turns out that while I procrastinated on this review, Intel was working overtime on driver improvements. In fact, they have been releasing at such a rapid cadence I couldn’t even get through testing without ending up three versions out of date. Probably more by the time I publish this.
Over the past year we have seen major changes via Intel Arc driver updates, including a move from emulating DirectX 9 to via Microsoft’s D3D9On12, to implementing a more performant DX9 engine via Valve’s DXVK translator. This review will largely focus on DX12 titles (it just worked out that way), but DX11 is a major point of emphasis as well, and we will have to revisit that soon.
|“Mainstream” Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-13600K (Stock, Power Limits Enforced)|
|Motherboard||MSI MPG Z790 EDGE WIFI DDR4
BIOS v1.60, Resizable BAR Enabled
|Memory||16GB (8GBx2) PNY XLR8 REV DDR4-3600 CL18|
|Storage||Samsung 980 1TB NVMe SSD|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 13 850W|
|CPU Cooler||be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 280mm AiO|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro, 22H2|
|Drivers||GeForce GRD 536.20
A note about graphics driver versions: the Intel Arc driver used is version 126.96.36.19975, which was the current driver when testing began in July – and now two versions old. Intel is up to version 188.8.131.5244 as of this writing. For the other cards, drivers were current as of the RX 7600 / RTX 4060 launches.
Before looking at some in-game tests, here are a couple of synthetic results via 3DMark. First, we will check out Time Spy, which is a raster-based DX12 test rendered at 2560×1440:
With a victory over the RTX 3060 Ti in this benchmark, the Arc A750 sits impressively high on this first chart. However, it is important to understand that the Arc drivers are historically very well optimized for 3DMark tests – though perhaps not to the extent that they were at launch (as UL states, “any driver released prior to 184.108.40.20677 is not approved” for official results).
Next we will see how the Arc A750 stacks up in the demanding Speed Way benchmark, a DX12 Ultimate test which is also rendered at 2560×1440:
The Arc A750 is right smack in the middle of the pack here, and impressively close to the Radeon RX 6700 XT – though far behind the RTX 3060 Ti this time. Let’s see if these 3DMark results foretell the Arc A750’s position in the game engine charts to follow.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
This is disappointing. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not a particularly demanding game, which is why I opted for the “Very High” preset rather than the “High” preset I went with for most of the other games tested. Still, the Arc A750 was not able to reach the level we saw in the 3DMark tests. This is likely a driver optimization issue, however, and Intel is far past the version used to obtain this result.
Ashes of the Singularity Escalation
A much better result for the Arc A750 in this older benchmark, with AotS Escalation run using the “Extreme” preset and using the DX12 API. Intel will probably take being faster than a GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 6600 XT, but there is always room for improvement. The biggest problem for the A750 (in my opinion) is that Radeon RX 7600, which is looking very good at $269 USD.
In Cyberpunk (run without any display scaling tech on any of the cards) the Arc A750 remains ahead of the GeForce RTX 3060, and is effectively tied with the Radeon RX 6600 XT. The RTX 4060 is ahead of it, as it should be given the $50 price gap (it’s $299 USD). The Radeon RX 7600 continued to shine here, offering better performance (again, no scaling or other enhancements) than the RTX 4060.
Now here’s a game I should have tested using the “Ultra” preset. Oh well – think of this as a high refresh-rate monitor test. In any case, the Arc A750 falls just a bit here to place behind the RX 6600 XT by a few FPS.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is a game that, even at 1080/high, exceeds the 8GB VRAM capacity of cards like the Arc A750 if HD textures are enabled. With these textures set to “standard”the Arc A750 still falls down the chart by another position, ending up behind the RTX 3060 in this benchmark, though still ahead of RTX 2060 (and its 6GB of VRAM) at least.
Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker
The the lone DX11 test, somehow, FFXIV Endwalker was tested using the official benchmark tool at 1080p/fullscreen/maximum preset. Here the Arc A750 climbs back above the RX 6600, and nearly matches the RTX 3060. The Intel card had the most inconsistent frame times, however.
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition
Are you ready for the most inexplicable result of them all? Yes, I double-checked the results, and no, I don’t get it.
Is this an example of what Alchemist is truly capable of, when the drivers are properly optimized? I have no idea, but in any case my test runs at 1920×1080, high preset, resulted in a fantastic performance from the Arc A750 in the Enhanced Edition of Metro Exodus. Only the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti was faster, somehow.
I went back through the folders of FrameView results, and everything checked out. Maybe I’m just losing my mind.
One area that could use some improvement on the Intel side of things is power draw, which is pretty high for this performance level under gaming load – and extremely high at idle.
The Arc A750 is rated at 225W, and in this test (3DMark Speed Way run at 1920×1080), the card frequently exceeded this and topped out above 250 watts. Idle power is, as mentioned above, very high. Expect mid-40s at all times, even when using a single 60 Hz display as I was.
We usually cover thermals and noise, at least to some degree (get it?), but I don’t have much to report just yet. I have no frame of reference as I don’t have any other Arc A750 on hand to compare this to, but temps never climbed higher than the low to mid 70’s C in a ~24 C room. This limited edition is also a very quiet card, and was barely audible even on my open testbed (and inaudible over my liquid CPU cooler under load).
Conclusion – Just Buy It!
Just kidding. You should decide for yourself if you want to buy something. Besides, if I had the power to make you do stuff, I wouldn’t just be telling you which graphics card to buy. Now on to the real conclusion.
The Intel Arc A750 is a very interesting option for mainstream 1080p gaming, where its 8GB VRAM makes the most sense these days. The combination of an Arc A750 GPU with an Intel Core i5-13600K processor is a compelling, not to mention cost-effective, solution. It was my attempt at one of Intel’s “Balanced Builds”, and I think I’ll continue to use this Core i5/DDR4 platform as the 1080p testbed for now.
Now for the bad news. The Arc A750 faces some stiff competition, primarily from AMD. The launch of the Radeon RX 7600 may not have been terribly exciting, but that little card continues to impress as a 1080p solution. At $269 USD the RX 7600 is very hard to ignore, with the Limited Edition Arc A750 we tested listed at $249. However, if you shop around this Arc GPU can be found for less – it’s currently on sale for $219.99 at B&H Photo, for example.
Beyond sales like the one mentioned above, street prices in general seem to be lower than the $249 list for the A750, with a quick Newegg search producing an ASRock model for $229.99 and a new SPARKLE card for $239.99. Those prices, along with the promise of ever-better performance via a very aggressive driver update strategy (it feels like there’s a new driver almost every week), make the Arc A750 a very tempting option.
I’m happy to see Intel continue to work hard on Arc graphics. Consumers need an alternative to the new “normal” of $400 1080p GPUs. I’d rather spend $249 (or less), and I daresay I’m not alone. This Arc A750 would be awfully nice at $199, too. There are deals to be had, and it’s a solid product. I found that it just works. Also, if you find it on sale, the more you buy, the more you save. So just buy it.
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How Product Was Obtained
The product was provided by Intel for the purpose of this review.
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