Intel is a company known for producing some of the most powerful processors in the world. But, recently, the company has ventured into the world of gaming graphics cards. Intel GPUs are designed to handle a range of tasks, including rendering graphics for games and other applications, as well as general-purpose computing tasks such as machine learning and data analysis.
Intel has now introduced its entry-level offering, the Intel Arc A380. In the Alchemist lineup, this is Intel’s most cost-friendly offering and one of its starter products. It might intrigue you due to its lower price, but a GPU’s true worth lies in its performance in real-life usage.
In today’s article, we’ll explore this new GPU and see how Intel stacks up against some of the older names in the GPU game, like Nvidia and AMD. Can Intel compete in the GPU industry? Or should they stick to processors? Let’s find out!
Intel Arc A380: Best Deal Today
Intel initially launched the Arc A380 in China only. At first, it was not well perceived due to issues like broken drivers. This launch was more of an experimentation rather than a fully-fledged competitive hit to Nvidia or AMD.
Then, after negative feedback and a series of improvements, Intel finally launched the finished GPU in the US for $139. However, locating one on the open market will be hard. Instead, they are only available for preorder through Newegg.
Intel Arc A380: Overview
Intel has introduced the Alchemist line of GPUs to save its drowning “Arc.” Like its processor lineup, the company has thrown multiple variants onto the market so that every user has something to satisfy their curiosity. Arc A380 lies at the base of the hierarchy of GPUs that Intel has introduced to give a tough time to its nemesis’.
Release date and price
The Arc A380 graphics card was launched on 14th June 2022 in China. Intel used this launch as an experiment to get feedback on the performance before it introduced the GPU to European and American markets. After covering all the shortcomings, Intel introduced Arc A380 in the US in August 2022 and priced it at $139.
Intel introduced its Arc Alchemist series, and it has a total of seven variants and models, including the Arc A380. These models and variants include:
All these models are a series of desktop graphics cards for gaming PCs. Intel has offered a 16 GB and 8 GB VRAM variant for the A770, but this luxury is unavailable in cheaper GPUs. So the A380 consists of only a single model with 6 GB VRAM.
The Intel Arc A380 has the latest features to compete with Nvidia and AMD, although it is not intended to be a serious gaming card. Instead, it is an entry-level card aimed at low-budget gamers.
It has a theoretical computing performance of 5.0 teraflops, which is behind the RX 6500 XT but ahead of others. In this price range, it is the only graphics card with 6GB of GDDR6 memory with an interface of 96-bit.
There is more memory bandwidth of A380 than AMD without an Infinity Cache. On the other hand, Nvidia’s competing GPU has more memory bandwidth. While the Arc A380 also supports display port 2.0 for higher resolutions, this might come at the cost of frames per second, since the A380 is not so powerful.
The best feature of the Arc A380 is its compatibility with the latest video coding formats. It supports AV1 Encoding, which we also see in its elder brother, the A770. It offers ray tracing, which provides better shadows and deeper colors while playing games. In short, it allows the PC to focus more on the areas of the screen that are directly involved in the action.
|Process Technology||TSMC N6|
|Die size (mm^2)||157|
|SMs / CUs / Xe-Cores||8|
|GPU Cores (Shaders)||1024|
|Ray Tracing’ Cores’||8|
|Base Clock (MHz)||2000|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||2450|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||15.5|
|VRAM Bus Width||96|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||5|
|Video Encoding||H.264, H.265, AV1, VP9|
Intel Arc A380: Review
According to the reviews, the Arc A380 has good and impressive encoding hardware for video playback, but gaming performance is just average. There were initially some issues on the software driver’s end. But Intel has since ironed them out.
On paper, A380 is on par with its Nvidia GTX 1650 and AMD RX 6400 counterparts. Intel’s edge in the GPU game is the price, since the A380 comes with a lower price tag than the competing cards.
The built-in support for tensor hardware gives A380 a more considerable edge over Nvidia and AMD GPUs in the domain of deep learning and AI benefits. The AV1 and VP9 video encoding compatibility make it perfect for video coding and related works. If you’re into video editing or building 3D models, this GPU is perfect.
Built on a 6nm process, it has a graphics processing unit that can handle 5.0 trillion computations per second. Consequently, it performs similarly to what we see with the AMD RX 6500 XT, and the addition of 96-bit memory with the 6GB of GDDR6 memory is sure to get the gamers worked up.
The A380 also has a sizable amount of memory bandwidth, albeit not as quick as other GPU models in this area. Hence, it could consume more when overclocked.
Intel intended it to take up to 75 watts of power. At the bare minimum, you will only need a 250-watt power supply to feed this GPU, making it much more energy-efficient than the competition.
In addition to standard graphics hardware, the Intel Arc GPU includes Matrix Engines, known as XMX Engines (Xe Matrix eXtensions). These engines are similar to Nvidia’s Tensor cores and are used for machine learning and other purposes by quickly processing large amounts of less precise data.
Each XMX Engine is 1024-bits wide and can handle either 64 floating point 16-bit (FP16) operations or 128 integers 8-bit (INT8) operations per cycle, providing the Arc GPU with a significant amount of computational power.
One of the best methods of judging a GPU’s performance is to see how it performs with different games. Good GPUs can easily maintain high fps or “frames per second” with high or ultra settings, differentiating them from more basic GPUs whose primary function is to enhance the video and graphic quality for non-gaming purposes.
The bad news is that this GPU is not a great gamer. For most games, the Arc A380 barely makes it to 60 frames per second at 1080p medium resolution, and evidence indicates that a few games even fall below this “standard mark.” This performance is slightly better than what we observe on RX 6400 and GTX 1650.
As you improve the resolution, the results surprisingly start getting better. At 1080p Ultra, the A380 further strengthens its fort, thanks to the 6GB VRAM that Intel loaded into the GPU. It takes a lead of 13% over the GTX 1650 and 27% over the RX 6400 counterpart in terms of speed.
If you are looking for an excellent 30 fps experience on 1080p ultra, then our advice would be to look for other options, as half of the games that experts tested have failed to provide desirable results.
Given that it only has eight ray tracing units (RTUs), we did not anticipate strong ray tracing capabilities from the Intel Arc A380. However, it does perform slightly better than the AMD RX 6500 XT and RX 6400 in this regard.
The higher-end Intel A770, on the other hand, has 32 RTUs, which is more than the 30 RT cores on the NVIDIA RTX 3060. While this may not make a significant difference for the A380, it is an encouraging sign for the higher-spec Arc GPUs, such as the A580, A750, and A770. These models are likely to be more expensive, but they may offer better ray tracing performance owing to the better performance of the Intel RTUs.
The Intel Arc A380 is not well suited for gaming at 1440p resolution with ultra settings. In tests, it was able to run games like Far Cry 6 and Horizon Zero Dawn, at just above 30 frames per second but struggled with most other titles, with frame rates dropping to 20 fps or lower.
Even in comparison to the AMD RX 6500 XT, the A380 performed only slightly better, with an overall lead of 5% in our 1440p ultra test suite. It can be due to A380’s 6GB of GDDR6 memory and 96-bit memory interface, which give it a decent amount of memory bandwidth, but still fall short of other GPU models like the GTX 1650 Super.
|Title||Average Frames Per Second|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||48 FPS 1080p medium quality|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||34 FPS 1080p highest quality|
|Watch Dogs: Legion||40 FPS 1080p medium quality|
|Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege||93 FPS 1080p ultra quality|
|F1 2021||56 FPS 1080p high quality|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||37 FPS 1080p favor quality|
|Far Cry 6||41 FPS 1080p medium quality|
|DOOM Eternal||50 FPS 1080p ultra quality|
|Resident Evil Village||58 FPS 1080p balanced quality|
|Cyberpunk 2077||35 FPS 1080p medium quality|
|Hitman 3||44 FPS 1080p medium quality|
Power Usage and Noise
The minimum power consumption of Arc A380 is 18 W, while the maximum power consumption is 94 W. Due to the weaker GPU, the looping Metro Exodus collects the data at the 1080p medium instead of 1440p ultra.
During testing, the Intel Arc A380 GPU had an average power consumption of 73 W while running the game Metro Exodus, with peak power reaching 87 W. When under load, power use ranged from about 65 to 85 W.
In the FurMark benchmark, power use was more consistent and reached close to the GPU’s 95-watt thermal design power (TDP), which is 20 watts higher than the reference clock target due to overclocking.
Clock speeds during both benchmarks were mainly stable, hovering near the maximum boost clock of 2450 MHz. The GPU’s temperature peaked at 64°C and averaged 61°C, and fan speed reached a peak of 2,067 RPM in Metro, with an average of 1723 RPM. In FurMark, the peak fan speed was slightly higher at 2,227 RPM.
Intel Arc A380: Pros and Cons
While the new GPUs from Intel are getting everyone in the community excited, they are not perfect. As the entry-level offering, you can’t expect high-end performance, but seeing a capable card for a reasonable price is refreshing. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Arc A380.
- Reasonable price
- High-performance video encoding
- VRAM is a pleasing 6 GB
- Gaming performance is not great
- 8-pin power connector
- Not as much memory bandwidth
Intel Arc A380: Is It a Buy?
The Intel ARC A380 is not for everyone. While it is a very affordable graphics card, you should ensure that it is sufficient for your demands before buying. We have listed all the details, but let’s sum it up here so you know what you’re in for with this GPU.
Buy it if…
You can sacrifice 1440p or 4k resolution
This won’t be a problem, especially if you are a sporadic gamer. Ultimately, this card is fine at lower resolutions and settings. This GPU keeps up with 1080 medium resolutions, starts to stutter at 1080p high or ultra-resolutions, and completely loses hold of itself at 1440p or 4k resolutions.
The frame rates drop significantly, and the lag is frustrating. But if you play games that do not take a heavy toll on the graphics, this GPU can be your option, given its low cost.
You are more interested in video encoding than gaming
No other GPU of the same price offers AV1 support. This gives a smoother video encoding experience with this GPU.
Don’t buy it if…
You play the latest games on ultra settings
The Arc A380 will only disappoint you if you’re looking for high performance. You shouldn’t go for this GPU if you aim high and you want to enjoy the ultra-smooth, immersive 4k 60 or 90 fps gaming experience.
Its history shows broken drivers. After driver updates, the GPU was not available for online purchase. Overall, Intel’s history with this one has not been good.
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