Intel Arc A770 Limited Edition Review: Bringing Back Midrange GPUs

Intel's first legitimate discrete GPU in forever

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TOM'S HARDWARE 2022 GPU TEST PC

 Intel Core i9-12900K (opens in new tab)
MSI Pro Z690-A WiFi DDR4 (opens in new tab)
Corsair 2x16GB DDR4-3600 CL16 (opens in new tab)
Crucial P5 Plus 2TB (opens in new tab)
Cooler Master MWE 1250 V2 Gold (opens in new tab)
Cooler Master PL360 Flux (opens in new tab)
Cooler Master HAF500
Windows 11 Pro 64-bit 

Our 2022 GPU testbed consists of a Core i9-12900K processor, MSI Pro Z690-A DDR4 WiFi motherboard, and DDR4-3600 memory (with XMP enabled). We're running Windows 11 with the 22H2 update to ensure we get the most out of Alder Lake. We're also running the latest game patches and Intel drivers at the time of testing: Intel 30.0.101.3435.

In case you're wondering, Intel has released a bunch of different drivers for Arc GPUs since late March — seven non-beta drivers and another seven beta releases. So there were at least six different drivers released in the past two months, and we probably missed some. The 3433 and 3435 drivers are pre-release drivers for the A700-series launch, and we expect updated versions that continue to fix problems will be made publicly available next week.

What sort of problems? We have a modest test suite that's public knowledge. It consists of 14 widely known and benchmarked games — just the kind of stuff Intel should be optimizing around for a new GPU launch. Still, we ran into a few problems and idiosyncrasies during testing. For example, most of our standard test suite worked fine, but Red Dead Redemption 2 would run in a window when selecting full screen. The workaround was to change the desktop resolution to whatever resolution we wanted to use in the game, at which point things worked more or less properly (and performance improved).

Our ray tracing test suite didn't fare quite so well. First, the Bright Memory Infinite Benchmark seemed to experience a memory leak that caused degraded performance over time. About midway through the first run, performance dropped on the A750, and subsequent runs got worse until, eventually, the only real option was to quit and restart the game. Fortnite had a bug with the 3433 drivers that prevented it from launching; 3435 fixed the situation. Finally, Minecraft Bedrock (the Windows Store version) still hasn't whitelisted the Arc GPUs to allow the use of ray tracing, which means we can't run that particular benchmark right now.

Be warned that you may encounter the occasional bug when sailing on Intel's Arc. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

I also experienced a few other glitches. The sound cut out during testing a few times (the sound was playing through my monitor speakers via DisplayPort), and the only way to get it back was to restart the PC. Actually, that might not be correct, as I didn't try restarting the Windows sound service, but I couldn't determine the exact sequence that caused the problem, which made replicating it difficult.

Finally, as with the Arc A380, my older MSI MEG Z390 Ace WiFi motherboard running the latest BIOS (with Resizable BAR enabled) still won't POST without some other graphics card installed. I put in a GTX 1650 Super and it booted right up, so there's still some sort of VBIOS or firmware problem. Other Z390 boards may work fine, or they might not, but every other graphics card I have works without any complaint in the PC.

For this review, we've tested at 1080p with medium settings, and 1080p, 1440p, and 4K using ultra settings on our standard test suite. For our ray tracing tests, we dropped 4K ultra from the list, as 1440p (at least without XeSS) was already struggling. We've tested the A770 and A750 Limited Edition cards and will show the results here, though the discussion of the A750 will be primarily in our separate Intel Arc A750 review.

Intel Arc A770 Overclocking

The only support for overclocking on Arc A770 right now comes from Intel's own Arc Control utility. Due to time constraints (Nvidia's RTX 4090 is also launching next week, in case you've been living under a rock), we've omitted overclocking tests for this initial review. We feel most will just run stock clocks for a midrange card, so that's the best baseline for performance. Once time permits, we'll revisit the Intel cards and see how far we can push things with overclocking.

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • ingtar33
    When Intel can deliver drivers that don't crash simply opening a game i might be interested; however until the software side is figured out (something intel hasn't done yet in 20+ years of graphic drivers) I simply can't take this seriously.
    Reply
  • edzieba
    If you're getting a headache with all the nebulously-pronounceable Xe-ness (Xe-cores, Xe Matrix Engines, Xe kitchen sink...) imagine it is pronounced "Ze" in a thick Hollywood-German accent. Much more enjoyable.
    Reply
  • tommo1982
    I'd like to see benchmarks cappped at 60fps. Not everyone uses high refresh rate monitor and today, when electricity is expensive and most likely will be even more in the near future, I'd like to see how much power a GPU draws when not trying to run the game as fast as possible.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    FINALLY, Intel is back! Or at least, halfway back. It's good seeing them compete in this midrange, and I hope that they flourish into the future.

    And I really want an A770, my i740 is feeling lonely in my collection. ;-)
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    edzieba said:
    If you're getting a headache with all the nebulously-pronounceable Xe-ness (Xe-cores, Xe Matrix Engines, Xe kitchen sink...) imagine it is pronounced "Ze" in a thick Hollywood-German accent. Much more enjoyable.
    The "EKS-E" makes it sound cool!
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    Limited Edition? More like DoA Edition...

    Still, I'll get one. We need a strong 3rd player in the market.

    I hope AV1 enc/dec works! x'D!

    EDIT: A few things I forgot to mention... I love the design of it. It's a really nice looking card and I definitely appreciate the 2 slot, not obnoxiously tall height as well. And I hope they can work as secondary cards in a system without many driver issues... I hope... I doubt many have tested these as secondary cards.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    No tensorflow support on the age of AI?
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    The hardware is impressive. It looks the part, in fact that looks elegant powered up.

    It does look like they are trying to push out fixes, unfortunately when you are swamped with working on fixes optimization takes a back seat. The fact that they have pushed out quite a few driver updates shows they are spending resources on that and if they keep at that.....we'll see.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    -Fran- said:
    I hope AV1 enc/dec works!
    Same. I have a BOATLOAD of media that I want to convert and rip to AV1, and my i7-6700 non-K feels sloooooowwww, lol.
    Reply
  • rluker5
    Looks like this card works best for those that want to max out their graphics settings at 60 fps. Definitely lagging the other two in driver CPU assistance.
    And a bit of unfortunate timing given the market discounts in AMD gpu prices. The 6600XT for example launched at AMD's intended price of $379. The A770 likely had it's price reduced to account for this, but the more competitors you have, generally the more competition you will have.

    I wonder how many games the A770 will run at 4k60 medium settings but high textures? That's what I generally play at, even with my 3080 since the loss in visual quality is worth it to reduce fan noise.
    Reply