Intel has today released drivers for its new Arc Alchemist (opens in new tab) discrete graphics boards, including the rather midrange A770 and the A750 (a card that can go toe-to-toe with Nvidia's 3060). These provide a third competitor in the race for the best graphics cards, though we're not quite ready to give Intel a spot.
The drivers also brings improvements for those running older Intel integrated GPUs on its 11th and 12th-gen processors. The drivers support both Windows 10 and 11, and offer fixes for games such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, Overwatch 2, and Deathloop.
Lisa Pearce, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Visual Compute Group, posted a celebratory video (opens in new tab) for the launch of the latest cards. Should you wish to avail yourself of a new Arc board, the A770 (opens in new tab) and A750 (opens in new tab) are now available, including some from partners (opens in new tab) such as ASRock (opens in new tab), but stocks appear limited. Part of the attraction may be a recently announced bundle netting new owners a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on Battle.net (opens in new tab), plus creative applications and Gotham Knights, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, and The Settlers through Intel Gaming Access.
The driver package also brings with it the latest version of Arc Control, along with XeSS AI-enhanced upscaling to those with GPUs that support it. The download acts as the launch driver for Arc A770 and A750 (opens in new tab) boards, and owners of the A770 Limited Edition (opens in new tab) can also use the Arc RGB Controller to control the LEDs in their graphics card.
Fixes include Marvel’s Spider-Man no longer crashing when asked to do ray-tracing, no more color corruption in Total Warhammer III, an end to stuttering in Overwatch 2, while crashing issues in Battlefield 2042 multiplayer matches have also been rectified.
It does bring a few issues of its own, however. Set Marvel’s Spider-Man to use HBAO+ under DirectX 12 and you may get scene corruption, while Adobe Premiere Pro users may not be able to use the GPU for playback acceleration. Similarly, A380 (opens in new tab) owners lack hardware acceleration in Adobe Lightroom, and there's a crash bug in Affinity Photo. Arc Control has problems scaling between 1080p and 4K resolutions, may cause application windows to be blank when using CMAA anti-aliasing, and may fail to update itself correctly.
It’s still early days for Intel’s discrete GPUs, in other words, and these are just the sort of issues we should expect. If you prefer to not be a beta tester for the next several months, it would be wise to hold off on hopping aboard the Arc.
The driver supports DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.3, OpenGL 4.6, and OpenCL 3.0, as well as version 1.7 of Intel’s oneAPI Level Zero, and 2.7 of the oneAPI video processing library. The file, version number 188.8.131.5290, is available as either a self-installing .exe file or as a .zip from the Intel website, while the release notes can be read as a PDF here.