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With the graphics cards releasing on October 12, there is still much speculation around the Intel Arc driver issues and whether or not they are fixed yet. Those who have followed the development of team blue’s Alchemist (A-series) line of GPUs, will know that the company has had a fair few problems with getting driver support underway in many titles. That’s what we’re addressing here.
Major reports of Intel Arc driver issues appeared as early as August with notable outlets, including Gamers Nexus, reporting over 40 problems with compatibility and general use in a scathing video entitled: “Worst We’ve Tested: Broken Intel Arc GPU Drivers”. The video’s viral nature, currently with over 400,000 views, prompted a direct response from Intel itself.
In a blog post written by Intel employee Lisa Pearce later that month, she commented on the Intel Arc driver issues directly, as well as the performance deficit between DX11 and DX12. She explained how the differences in performance were down to: “the “thick layer of software can lead to inefficiencies that require continued refinement to minimize performance losses”.
Pearce continued with: “We expect to close the gap on DX11 performance over time though, which will be an upside as we roll out future drivers”. That was the promise back in August at least, that any driver-related problems are being addressed in the run-up to release, however, things haven’t quite been smooth sailing since then.
In a video published on October 4 on Intel’s official YouTube channel, two Intel Arc engineers interviewed Raja Koduri. Early into the conversation, Koduri spoke about the problems, stating that: “our drivers will get there”. This prompted a discussion regarding the company’s previous approach to integrated graphics now onto the discrete desktop GPUs.
Are the Intel Arc driver issues fixed now?
Intel has promised that the Arc driver issues will be fixed ahead of release, but with only days to go until launch, it’s looking like some problems may still persist. Arc has been delayed several times due to problems with drivers, and it appears as though compatibility issues with DX11 and older titles could still exist.
If we take the early Intel Arc A770 reviews into account, it’s looking rocky for the new graphics card line as far as new drivers are concerned. The review published by TechPowerUp cited that: “drivers still immature”.
This is compounded by the Engadget review of the GPU where it’s stated despite any major issues with compatibility: “Intel needs to show it can optimize its drivers in time for major game launches” and “its drivers may need some work”.
A very detailed Intel Arc A770 review by Toms Hardware explains that the driver issues are the main caveat when recommending the mid-range graphics card. Reviewer Jarred Walton states: “there are going to be situations where the drivers hold Arc back” and that: “The safer bet right now would be buying an AMD or Nvidia GPU”.
The newest Intel Arc driver at the time of writing is 220.127.116.1130. It remains to be seen whether or not the main issues that the people are having will be resolved by launch day, but it’s looking as though this is an ongoing process rather than a hotfix.
You may be better served by opting for an entry-level RTX 30 series or RX 6000 graphics card instead of rolling the dice on Intel Arc. The general consensus appears to be that although there’s value for money with a competitive price point, you’re effectively taking a major risk by being an early adopter here.