Intel’s Arc A380 discrete graphics card was finally launched in China around the time we predicted, and while some early reviews were out, we hadn’t seen a more holistic look, so we decided to reach out to some of our Chinese colleagues. We got our hands on the official specs of the A380 GPU; which tells the story of Intel’s first true discrete graphics card with tons of potential.
Intel A380 GPU verdict: trades punches with the GTX 1650 & RX 6400 for now, but will age like FineWine™ (ahem)
First, let’s start with the specifications.
The Intel Arc A380 graphics card is based on the TSMC N6 process and is the company’s first standalone graphics card introduction. The actual Chinese MSRP of the GPU is 880 yuan, but after sales tax (17%) it comes to almost 1030 yuan. That being said, we expect US MSRP to be closer to post-VAT prices in yuan than pre-VAT prices. It has 1024 FP32 cores (each Xe core has 128 FP32 cores) and 6GB of GDDR6 memory clocked at 16Gbps. Coupled with a 96-bit bus width, this results in a bandwidth of 192 GB/s – more than enough for a card in its class. The TBP of the GPU is configurable between 75W and 87W, with the clock speed configurable between 2GHz and 2.35GHz accordingly.
Interestingly, Intel also allows a “Beyond 87W” option – which is probably what the custom GPUs you’ve seen so far use to hit clock speeds well in excess of 2.35GHz. The Intel Arc A380 GPU is therefore a 4 TFLOP to 4.8 TFLOP GPU, which in combination with AI upscaling technologies such as XeSS should be sufficient for the entry-level 1080p gaming segment. Before we continue, here is the full block diagram of the Intel Arc A380:
Now let’s get to the juicy part. We have already seen benchmarks of 6 games that were leaked earlier and we can add at least 20 more titles to this arena. When it comes to benchmarks, more is always better, and 32 is about the point where your data starts to become statistically significant. However, we were very impressed with how transparent Intel is in their official guide (as you will see below). First, let’s look at the test configuration:
All tests in the official benchmarks were performed using an Intel Core i5 12600k with 32 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM and Windows 11 OS and a 4 TB NVME SSD. Only the GPUs, i.e. the GTX 1650, RX 6400 and Intel Arc A380 were swapped with each other. The tests were conducted almost a month ago, so it’s worth noting that rider performance would almost certainly have increased during that time:
As we can see, the Intel Arc A380 trades punches with the AMD RX 6400 and (less occasionally) the NVIDIA GTX 1650. In fact, it beats the RX 6400 in Total War: Troy, Naraka Bladepoint, The Witcher 3, and F1 2021. Considering this is the official documentation, it’s actually pretty cool that Intel didn’t come up with a one-page story about its upcoming GPU. This is where the story gets really interesting. FineWine™ is a term that AMD fans and readers of this site should be very familiar with, and was a popular term to describe AMD’s ongoing post-launch driver development in the days when the company was cash-strapped and the underdog was.
Intel Arc A380 absolutely crushes even the RX 6500 XT on optimized synthetic workloads
What we see here is similar to a FineWine™ scenario. Allow me an extension: the Intel Arc A380 absolutely beats the GTX 1650 and RX 6400 in 3DMark’s TimeSpy benchmark and even beats the RX 6500 XT. So clearly, the hardware potential is there and only the software is missing. It is clear that the development team must have optimized drivers for this synthetic benchmark – and shows the true potential of the hardware. We must remember that NVIDIA and AMD have both had decades to optimize driver code for their GPUs, while Intel only started building discrete GPUs a few years ago (let’s not get into the Larabee debate).
Based on what we’re seeing in 3DMark Timespy, the Intel Arc A380 (depending on the price in the US) could prove to be an absolute steal for gamers. Responsibility rests entirely with Intel to continue to develop its drivers and deliver the performance potential we see here. After all, at the end of the day, what matters is Intel’s ability to deliver on its value-per-dollar promise.
Once again, workloads are mixed when it comes to the Intel Arc A380. It beats both the GTX 1650 and RX 6400 in HandBrake and slightly worse than the GTX 1650 in DaVinci Resolve.
It’s even possible that gamers in North America and the EU will see an increase in performance when discrete Arc GPUs are introduced in non-Chinese territories. Depending on how quickly Intel is able to optimize driver stacks for different games and how they price their Arc GPUs ($131 would be a steal for the A380, but I suspect we’ll get an MSRP closer to $150 see when it hits the US market) – even $150 could be a potential win considering the hardware is just behind the NVIDIA RTX 3050 – a GPU at $249 MSRP. Intel XeSS will be the icing on the cake.