Overclocking enthusiast Pro Hi-Tech released a YouTube video showcasing Intel's new Arc A380 and how the GPU behaves under "overclocking". We put that in quotes because this isn't traditional GPU overclocking in the same way as we'd approach the best graphics cards. Surprisingly, the A380 showed massive performance gains from an increased power limit and voltage offset, almost putting it into another GPU class altogether.
Pro Hi-Tech (you'll need to turn on auto-captioning and set the appropriate language if, like us, you don't understand Russian) took a somewhat unorthodox approach to the A380 in that he didn't touch the core clocks at all. What he did change were the power targets and voltage offsets in Intel's own graphics utility, with a setting of 55% on the "GPU performance Boost" slider and a +0.255mv voltage offset.
In testing, this gave the Arc A380 a 100–150 MHz GPU core overclock, a meager 4–6% improvement. However, power use increased from around 35W to roughly 50–55W, a far larger 43–57% jump. Could this be yet another aspect of the Arc A380 holding back performance? It certainly appears so.
Pro Hi-Tech benchmarked the overclocked A380 in six games: Watch Dogs Legion, Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, God of War, Rainbow Six Seige, and World of Tanks. We've collected the results from the video and summarized them in the following table. Note that ReBAR was enabled for all Arc testing, and we added the overall performance line (geometric mean). Also note that the GTX 1650 was a model that doesn't require additional power, meaning its performance is likely slower than a more typical GTX 1650 by at least a few percent.
|Arc A380 Stock||Arc A380 OC||GTX 1650|
|God of War||32||45||51|
|Rainbox Six Siege||126||172||181|
|Watch Dogs Legion||49||61||62|
|World of Tanks||60||76||79|
The gains in the various games range from around 25% in Watch Dogs Legion and World of Tanks, to as much as 60% in Doom Eternal. Overall, using the geometric mean, the increased power limit and voltage offset boosted performance by 37%. That's a much larger improvement than we typically see with graphics card overclocking.
With the "overclock," the Arc A380 now trades blows with the GTX 1650. It was 20% faster in Cyberpunk 2077, still 12% slower in God of War, and close enough to a tie (within 5%) in the other four games that were tested. Of course, as we've noticed in other testing of the Arc A380, drivers and optimizations appear to be a major factor in performance.
Power Consumption on the A380 Looks Very Strange
At first glance, it appears Intel's A380 has a lot of overclocking headroom. However, there are some strange behaviors coming from the A380 that could be the reason for the "inflated" overclocking results.
The biggest and most obvious issue is the power consumption results. The Arc A380 has an official TDP of 75W on the Intel Arc website. Pro Hi-Tech's power consumption results, both before and after his "overclocking," aren't even close to 75W. The stock configuration routinely showed a measly 35W, while the overclocked config didn't fair that much better maxing out at just under 55W.
We don't know what's going on here, but this could be another one of the many issues plaguing Intel's Arc GPUs at this current time. We've heard plenty about driver optimization issues killing performance in most games, and the gains from enabling resizable BAR are much higher than we've seen with AMD or Nvidia GPUs. Now we're seeing power consumption that's potentially less than half of the rated level, which will obviously put a damper on performance.
We can't help but wonder why Intel even bothered to launch the Arc A380 in the current state, though perhaps it was just using China as a beta testing region. Of course the cards ended up "leaking" outside of China, which was bound to happen, and now the problems Intel is working to fix are there for everyone to see. Hopefully Team Blue can address these issues quickly, and then we can move on to the worldwide launch and hopefully get a much better experience.