Intel Drops Third 'Starfield' Driver as Bethesda Claims A770 Doesn't Meet Min Specs

Starfield screenshots
(Image credit: Bethesda)

It's been three days since Starfield launched, and Intel already has a third driver update live to fix even more Starfield bugs for its Arc A-series graphics cards. This latest driver, version Non-WHQL, specifically fixes several graphics and stability-related problems that previous drivers have not addressed, including one addressing missing eyebrows. However, Bethesda thinks Intel's cards are below the minimum requirements, and you should upgrade your GPU to an Nvidia or AMD card instead — more on that later.

Intel's patch notes specifically report that Starfield stability has been improved in different game areas — but the company neglected to tell us which areas were affected. Incorrect rendering of glass surfaces and objects has also been fixed, along with a wild character model fix that prevents a character's eyebrows from being ripped off their face. Spooky stuff!

Sadly, there are still several driver-related issues with Starfield. Intel's patch notes report four known issues with the game, including sporadic game instability in some areas of the game, game corruption when using dynamic resolutions scaling, inappropriate texture quality on certain objects, and texture flickering on light objects during gameplay.

Issues related to Starfield and Intel's Arc graphics cards began a week ago when the game entered its early access period. When the game debuted, Intel failed to release a game-ready driver in time for the game's early access launch. Due to a lack of driver support, reports began to crop up from Arc gamers about series instability issues with the game, to the point where some Arc gamers couldn't even open the game without it crashing. 

Thankfully, Intel is now on the ball, releasing its third driver in under a week to fix problems with Starfield. But there's still a way to go before Arc gamers can expect to have a smooth experience running Starfield. Not only are there more bugs that Intel found, but Intel has also not released a driver with a "game-ready" badge for Starfield yet.

Bethesda Support Representative Says Intel's Arc A770 Does Not Meet Starfield's System Requirements

Oh the irony XD (Bethesda support related to Starfield crashes and lag) from r/IntelArc

In other Starfield and Intel-related news, a hilarious Bethesda customer support ticket was recorded and shared on the r/IntelArc subreddit by u/GeneralAkAba, revealing Bethesda's opinion on Intel's Arc Alchemist graphics cards running Starfield.

The post shows a response from a Bethesda support representative replying to a customer issue regarding game crashes with their Arc A770 graphics card. The support representative couldn't find an immediate solution, saying the A770 does not meet Starfield's minimum requirements, which include the Radeon RX 5700 and GTX 1070 Ti.

This statement is quite absurd, given that the A770 and the Arc A750 are substantially newer cards compared to the RX 5700, especially the GTX 1070 Ti. Performance-wise, the A770 competes favorably with AMD and Nvidia's latest and previous generation mid-range GPUs, like the RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060. So it has enough GPU muscle to power its way through Starfield, especially at lower resolutions like 1080p. For more details on Starfield's gaming performance, check out our performance review of Starfield.

Of course, Intel also has several recent GPU drivers that specifically address Starfield compatibility with Arc GPUs.

We doubt Stafield director Todd Howard or any of his Starfield team members would say the same thing about the Arc A770. Nonetheless, this is a serious error made by the Bethesda support team and needs to be remedied as soon as possible. Bethesda's support representative implied that all Arc GPU owners with problems must upgrade to an AMD or Nvidia card to run the game.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • -Fran-
    Sick burn...

    I hope Intel resolves the issues for people with Intel cards, so they can enjoy the game. Kinda sad it flat out doesn't work? Or is there some shades of gray in it?

  • txfeinbergs
    Buy a crap GPU, get a crap experience.
  • JamesJones44
    I'm able to run StarField on a GTX 980 TI, I'm pretty sure an A770 can handle it with the proper support.
  • Elusive Ruse
    Arc is done, maybe Intel can salvage something with Battlemage.
  • cryoburner
    txfeinbergs said:
    Buy a crap GPU, get a crap experience.
    More like "buy a crap game, get a crap experience". : D

    Really, it should be up to game developers to make sure their games function correctly on all modern hardware, not the graphics card companies, who generally won't have access to a game until close to its release. For some small indie game without access to a wide variety of hardware I could see something like this happening, but not for one of the biggest-budget games ever made. With 500+ developers and a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars, there is no good excuse for compatibility issues with a line of graphics cards that has been on the market for almost a year.

    In general, Bethesda's games are known to be a buggy, broken mess on release, and the company tends to never bother to fix most of the issues with them, instead relying on modders to jerry-rig fixes together in the months and years following a game's launch. Unless you are on a console or it's a live-service game, in which case you tend to be stuck with whatever they give you. People have usually been surprisingly lenient toward the issues with Bethesda's games though.

    Even so, Starfield hasn't exactly reached the same level of reception as some of their prior big releases, probably down to more people beginning to recognize the quality control issues with their games following disasters like Fallout 76. So far it's only managed metascores in the mid-80s from professional reviewers, and currently a user score of 5.5 on metacritic, and 80% on Steam, which is a bit low for a hyped AAA game release with a massive budget. Looking through user reviews, there seems to be a lot of legitimate negative sentiment about the game. There's probably a decent gaming experience in there, but there's also little doubt that it has a fair number of issues as well.
  • ravewulf
    Given the state of Intel's drivers, they wouldn't be wrong to say Intel GPUs aren't supported at this time
  • BX4096
    txfeinbergs said:
    Buy a crap GPU, get a crap experience.
    That implies that the Starfield experience isn't crap on a good GPU, though, which is not necessarily the case. Your mileage may vary, obviously, but the game currently has 5.5 (user rating) on Metacritic and a lot of people seem annoyed with the lack of innovation on Bethesda's part.

    I mean, "Skyrim in space" doesn't really sound as big a selling point when you stop to realize that Skyrim, which was never a vehicle of technical or gameplay innovation to begin with, is already 12 years old. There are some things people expect today that weren't even a thing back then, and no, I do not necessarily mean microtransactions.
  • AgentBirdnest
    cryoburner said:
    More like "buy a crap game, get a crap experience". : D
    Dang, you beat me to it. : P

    I've mostly enjoyed Bethesda games, and would love to try Starfield someday... But in terms of just working or not, yeah Bethesda has always been total flaming dolphin crap, and looks like that's still the case with Starfield.
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Intel Arc A770 Limited Edition Review: Bringing Back Midrange GPUs

    When a $350 midrange GPU that isn't even a year old doesn't meet the minimum specs for a game, it's not the GPU's fault.
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Pretty good thread today.

    I'm not going to lie, Intel looks really bad with this and it might be correct for the rep to have told them it's not supported, but they should've said officially certified or something.

    That being said, this is a far cry from Bethesda's Oblivion launch, which I got on DVD on launch day without issues whatsoever.