SiSoftware has published a preliminary assessment of the Intel Arc Alchemist AR380 entry-level graphics board, but the more important news is concealed inside: we now have actual specs for the whole DG2 GPU family from a credible source. SiSoftware’s evaluation of the entry-level Arc AR380 isn’t glowing, but the specs of the other cards give Intel’s discrete gaming GPUs for desktop PCs reason to be optimistic.
The other cards in the series have yet to be reviewed by SiSoftware, and it’s worth noting that the AR380 review is an OpenCL review. Furthermore, rather than testing DirectX performance in gaming, the assessment was conducted under Windows 10, focusing on hashing, cryptographic analysis, and picture processing.
In SiSoftware’s tests, the AR380 is often beaten by cards like the GTX 1660Ti and RX 6500 XT, putting it in a similar position to an earlier leak that showed the AR380 neck-and-neck with the GTX 1650 Super, as well as one that saw it beaten by an RTX 3070 in OpenCL. The AR380’s lack of support for FP64 double-precision floating-point math is to blame for some of this, but it compensates with tensor cores for matrix multiplication and lower precision tasks. We haven’t seen how the A500 and A700 stack up against these cards, but we can be confident that they will outperform the AR380.
The AR380 card tested has 128 compute units capable of processing 1,024 threads at 2.45 GHz, 16 tensor cores, 6GB of GDDR6 with 192 GB/s bandwidth, 32 render output units, 64 texture mappers, and a power draw of under 75W. Memory bandwidth is modest compared to Nvidia cards (the 1660 Ti and 3050 manage 288 and 224 GB/s, respectively), while power consumption is low compared to the two Nvidia cards (120 and 130W).
Data transfer across the PCIe bus is similarly slow, with the AR380 managing 3.06GB/s downloads and 2.88GB/s uploads, but the Nvidia cards’ statistics are much closer to 12GB/s in both directions. However, because this is a low-end card, the low power demand may appeal to designers of compact form-factor, low-powered systems who aren’t looking for exceptional hashing capabilities as long as the price is reasonable.
Gamers seeking one of the most acceptable graphics cards should wait for the eventual DirectX results. The AR380’s lack of support for double-precision FP64 operations is an optional feature that may have less impact on the scores.
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