Intel Arc “Alchemist” takes over laptops

After several delays, Intel yesterday introduced the first graphics cards in the Arc “Alchemist” family in the form of the set for laptops. No less than three different performance segments are presented here, where the focus extends from e-sports titles in 1080p and ultra-thin formats to video editing and games in higher resolutions with the possibility of hardware-accelerated ray tracing and upscaling with Intel’s upcoming technology XESS.

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The graphics cards in the Arc A-series are based on Intel’s Xe-HPG architecture, where the company puts gunpowder on specific performance in games and creation. For the mobile setup, there are a total of five models, based on two different circuits. For the Arc 3 series’ two models, the scaled-down circuit AC-G11, formerly known as DG2-128EU, applies, which reaches a maximum of 128 execution units (EU). The three remaining ones in the Arc 5 and Arc 7 series are instead based on the circuit AC-G11, formerly referred to as DG-512, where the flagship A770M gets the maximum number of 512 EU.

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With Xe-HPG, Intel introduces what they call Xe cores, which can be described as clusters that in turn house XMX cores for accelerating AI and machine learning, computing devices and RT cores. The XMX cores are almost comparable to Nvidia’s Tensor cores and just as Tensor cores stand for the AI-bit upscaling technology DLSS, the XMX cores are responsible for the corresponding task in Intel’s upscaling technology XESS.

Upscaling, however, is not the only area of ​​use, and XMX also comes in handy for, for example, image and film editing. Intel has not yet specified how many XMX cores there are per Xe core, but based on previous data and images, it is possible that there are four. In addition to AI acceleration, Intel offers yet another hardware-accelerated innovation, in the form of video decoding support according to the open AV1 standard.

Specifications: Intel Arc A series for laptops

A350M

A370M

A550M

A730M

A770M

Technical

6nm TSMC

6nm TSMC

6nm TSMC

6nm TSMC

6nm TSMC

Circuit

ACM-G11 (DG2-128)

ACM-G11 (DG2-128)

ACM-G10 (DG2-512)

ACM-G10 (DG2-512)

ACM-G10 (DG2-512)

Architecture

Vehicle-HPG

Vehicle-HPG

Vehicle-HPG

Vehicle-HPG

Vehicle-HPG

Xe cores

6

8

16

24

32

Calculation units (EU)

96

128

256

384

512

Streamprocessorer

768

1024

2048

3072

4096

RT cores

6

8

16

24

32

XMX cores

24?

32?

64?

96?

128?

Clock frequency

1 150 MHz

1 550 MHz

900 MHz

1 100 MHz

1 650 MHz

Memory bus

64-bit

64-bit

128-bit

192-bit

256-bit

Memory amount

4 GB GDDR6

4 GB GDDR6

8 GB GDDR6

12 GB GDDR6

16 GB GDRR6

Memory frequency

?

?

?

?

?

Memory bandwidth

?

?

?

?

?

TGP

25–35 W

35–50 W

60–80 W

80–120 W

120–150 W

Arc 3 – focus on ultra-thin format and 1080p

With Arc 3, Intel is aiming for the entry-level segment for games and thinner formats, with the two slightly more energy-efficient graphics solutions A350M and A370M. The former minimum is mainly for ultra-thin laptops, while the A370M will take the step up from integrated graphics for gaming enthusiasts. Here, the goal is 60 frames per second (FPS) with settings on medium in 1080p, without manufacturers having to make too much of a compromise on the thinner form factor.

Both models have a lot of graphics memory and memory bus in common, which lands on 4 GB GDDR6 over a by today’s measured narrow memory bus of only 64 bits. For the A350M, a clock frequency of 1,150 MHz is specified, accompanied by 6 Xe cores, which gives 96 EU and 6 RT cores. With the A370M, the clock frequency is increased a few notches to 1,550 MHz and the number of Xe cores is increased to 8. This in turn provides 128 computing units and 8 RT cores.

The two also differ slightly in terms of power range, where the simpler A350M is specified at 25 to 35 watts (W) and the A370M ends up at 35 to 50 W. Exactly how power-hungry the graphics card is depends on how manufacturers choose to configure otherwise, where for example clock frequencies and memory speed can be turned on. However, no exact memory speeds or examples of clock frequency at a certain power are given.

Intel is investing in gaming performance with the flagship Arc A770M

The three remaining graphics cards are divided into two segments, where the Arc 5 and A550M form an intermediate class. Here, a scaled-down variant of the more powerful DG2-512 circuit is used, but at a lower clock frequency of only 900 MHz. The number of Xe cores and RT cores goes up to 16 each, together with 256 EU. This is accompanied by a larger 8 GB GDDR6 over a 128 bit memory bus and a power range between 50 to 60 W.

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Last but not least, the Arc 7 follows, with the more performance-focused A730M and A770M. The A730M offers 24 Xe cores and 384 EU and a frequency of 1,100 MHz, accompanied by 12 GB of graphics memory over a 192-bit memory bus.

The flagship A770M is specified at 1,650 MHz and here Intel is releasing the reins with 32 Xe cores, which gives the same number of RT cores and the maximum number of 512 calculation units. In addition, it is equipped with 16 GB GDDR6 over a much wider 256-bit memory bus. For both the A730M and A770M, the power budget also pulls away with ranges of 80 to 120 W and 120 to 150 W. This is about the same range as Nvidia and AMD’s current top cards for laptops, ie Geforce RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6700M and RX 6800M.

Intel does not offer any performance comparisons or other figures for either the Arc 5 or Arc 7 models and like the Arc 3, there are no confirmed figures for memory frequency and memory bandwidth. However, it is clear that Intel has both games in higher resolutions and other heavier processes in mind, such as image and film editing and rendering.

In addition to the hardware news, there was also a quick look at Intel’s new control panel for the graphics cards in the Arc family. It provides an overview of and offers functions for overclocking, game streaming, game libraries and of course drivers. The company also announces that they have teamed up with several game developers to optimize titles for the mobile Arc family’s graphics card.

Models with Arc 3 Series graphics cards are already on their way to retailers, including the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro. However, the slightly more powerful variants Arc 5 and Arc 7 will be delayed until the summer, which is also when Intel plans to launch the more anticipated Arc graphics cards for desktops for enthusiasts.


Source: SweClockers by www.sweclockers.com.

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