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Intel Arc Driver Update Makes Old DX9 Games Faster

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Intel Arc Driver Update Makes Old DX9 Games Faster

Intel has continued its advance into the consumer gaming market with the release of Intel Arc A Series graphics cards in early 2022. They threw down the gauntlet, claiming that the Intel Arc GPUs could take on gaming heavyweights like Nvidia and AMD, promising that they would keep their card nimble with regular driver updates. So far, so true, with the Intel Arc driver update making old DX9 games faster. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Intel Arc GPU and how its native DirectX 9 update is speeding up bestselling games.  

Intel Arc: A Competitively Priced Alternative GPU

It’s clear Intel had hoped for big things with the Intel Arc driver, developing an authentic alternative to the GPU behemoths of Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards. Intel proposed that their chips would lower the price ceiling on gaming cards without compromising the smooth performance serious gamers expect. With a starting price of just $329 for the A770 and A750, many gamers sat up and listened.

Budget Option
Intel Arc A770 16GB PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card
$582.58
  • 16GB of GDDR6
  • HDMI 2.1 with VRR
  • Xe HPG Architecture
  • Real-time ray tracing
  • PCI Express 4.0 (x16)
  • 512GB/s
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 09:05 am GMT

Post-Release Performance Issues for the Intel Arc

When Lisa Pearce, CVP and GM, of the Client Graphics Group at Intel emphasized that these new cards would deliver great performance on modern titles, no one was expecting the painfully poor performance that this GPU delivered with favorites like Starcraft 2 or CounterStrike: Global Offensive. 

Older PC games took a massive performance hit. Intel was quick to identify the problem as API related, with the ARC GPU struggling to keep up with required frame rates for games that used Microsoft’s DirectX 12, DirectX11, and DirectX9 APIs. The DirectX suite of Microsoft APIs is essential for gaming on Microsoft platforms and handles key tasks required for optimal graphic performance.

The root of the problem is that many games were designed with Nvidia and AMD in mind with DirectX API using the GPU driver and Microsoft to handle memory management. Intel’s new GPUs have simply been left out of the conversation. 

Solution: The Intel Arc Driver Update 

Intel was quick to say “our bad” and has made good on this performance issue with regular driver updates. It appears that Intel has gone back to the drawing board by removing its GPU’s native DX9 support and opting for an open-source mapping layer capable of translating the instructions for DX9 instructions into DX12 ones. 

Intel has been continually honing its drivers to solve this problem. Its 31.0.101.3959 driver for desktops and laptops specifically tackles DirectX9, with optimizations for eight popular games built with performance optimizations for eight games that were built with the DX9 API.

Intel Arc users can download the Intel Arc Control to their PC which provides a high-spec platform for advanced control of the graphics experience. Users can manage driver updates that have been developed to correct sluggish DX9 and DX11 gaming. In addition, Intel Arc Control enables you to:

  • Obtain advanced support and optimizations for Vulcan, OpenCL, and OpenGL
  • Tune graphics performance
  • Stream, create backgrounds, and highlight reels via a built-in studio

Promising Results So Far…

The Intel Arc driver update appears to have delivered a marked improvement in performance with DirectX9 games. As promised, benchmarking has shown that the latest 4086 drivers deliver performance improvements of up to 43%. Some gaming enthusiasts have reported gains with individual games as high as 87%. In addition, the Intel Arc driver updates are delivering major performance improvements for DX11 and DX12.

A Closer Look at the Intel Arc Graphics Driver

The issue with DX has cast a long shadow across what is a great-value GPU. The hassle of installing new drivers and updates may mean that people head over to Nvidia or AMD for an easier life. However, the Intel ARC A Series GPUs have outstanding specifications and performance at their price point and have been developed for the latest generation of gaming. Here are the need-to-know specs for the A770 and A750:

Intel Arc A Series GPU Specs

Intel Arc A770Intel Arc A750
What it isA GPU (graphics card/video card)A GPU (graphics card/video card)
Primary useGenerating a high-resolution, high-speed graphics feed for gaming, video, and computer-aided designGenerating a high-resolution, high-speed graphics feed for gaming, video, and computer-aided design
Initial releaseOct 12, 2022Oct 12, 2022
Influential developersIntelIntel
Base clock2050 MHz2190 MHz 
Boost clock2400 MHz2400 MHz
Memory bus width 256 bits256 bits
PCI Express ConfigurationsPCI Express 4.0 (x16)PCI Express 4.0 (x16)
Graphics Memory Speed 16 Gbps16 Gbps effective
Graphics Memory Bandwidth512 GB/s512 GB/s
Graphics Memory Size/Type16 GB of GDDR616 GB of GDDR6
Top Speeds
Intel Arc A750 Graphics
$269.99
  • Real-time ray tracing
  • PCI-Express 4.0 (x16)
  • 16GB of GDDR6
  • 512GB/s
  • 2050MHz memory clock speed
  • Xe HPG architecture
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2024 03:44 am GMT

Rounding Up

Intel has moved swiftly to tackle this sticky API issue that affects DX9 games. However, the new drivers and Intel Arc Control provide a responsive platform for delivering the drivers you’ll need to enjoy older games with this GPU. If you’re running the latest games with modern APIs on this GPU, you’ll enjoy great performance with the native DX implementation. 

  1. Intel Arc A770 16GB PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card
    $582.58
    • 16GB of GDDR6
    • HDMI 2.1 with VRR
    • Xe HPG Architecture
    • Real-time ray tracing
    • PCI Express 4.0 (x16)
    • 512GB/s
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 09:05 am GMT
  2. Intel Arc A750 Graphics
    $269.99
    • Real-time ray tracing
    • PCI-Express 4.0 (x16)
    • 16GB of GDDR6
    • 512GB/s
    • 2050MHz memory clock speed
    • Xe HPG architecture
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/03/2024 03:44 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What is DirectX?

DirectX or DX is a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) developed by Microsoft for handling computing tasks relating to multimedia like video and gaming. The initial release of DirectX was in 1995. The latest DirectX release is DX12. DX9 was released in 2002. 

What is an API?

An application programming interface or API is a type of software interface that provides a means for two or more types of software to connect and work together.

Which games benefit from the Intel Arc driver update?

The Intel Arc driver update will improve the performance of the following games with the Intel Arc GPU:

  • League of Legends
  • Payday 2
  • Guild Wars 2
  • CS:GO
  • Stellaris
  • Starcraft 2
  • Moonlight Blade
  • NiZhan

Are Intel Arc GPUs available for laptops?

Yes. On March 30th, 2022, Intel launched Arc A-series GPUs for laptops. These next-generation laptop graphics cards deliver over 2x the power of the standard integrated Xe graphics by Intel.

Are Intel Arc GPUs worth it?

For the latest games, the Intel Arc GPUs deliver outstanding value for money, with specs that can compete with many of the leading Nvidia and AMD graphics cards including the Nvidia 306.

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