Intel Arc is off to a bad start on laptops — Nvidia blows it away

Intel Arc laptop GPU promo image on blue background
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel has formerly entered the gaming GPU race with the first of its Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs — the A350M and A370M. While these are entry-level laptop GPUs, the company will be releasing desktop graphics cards to compete with Nvidia’s RTX 30 and AMD’s Radeon 6000 series this year, and, while it’s too early to tell how that will play out, the Intel A370M is off to a tricky start.

As spotted by our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, the YouTube channel Benchmark Lab has been testing Intel’s Arc Alchemist debut against the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile across ten gaming benchmarks. 

The result? A convincing win for the GTX 1650 in every bout, with a 15 to 20% advantage in every test, which covered everything from Red Dead Redemption 2 to Flight Simulator 2020.

Worse, it wasn’t an entirely fair comparison — and in the A370M’s favor. While the GTX 1650 was supported by a last-gen AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, the A370M was working alongside the brand new Intel Core i7-12700H Alder Lake CPU in the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro.

However, as Tom’s Hardware points out, the GTX 1650 isn’t a completely fair match for the A370M. While both have 1,024 shaders and 4GB of GDDR6 memory at 12Gbps, the GTX 1650 has both a higher base clock speed and wider memory interface. It’s also worth noting that Intel’s XeSS AI upscaling technology won’t be available until the summer, and that should make a significant difference in supported titles. 

All the same, the severe difference in performance does leave questions about driver optimization. And the good news is that’s something that can be improved upon without any adjustments made to the hardware. 

Speaking of the drivers, the first set provided for Intel Alchemist cards are not without their problems, with the release notes highlighting a number of known issues in high-profile titles.

While most of the afflicted games (Back 4 Blood, CrossFire, Guardians of the Galaxy, Metro Exodus, Naraka: Bladepoint, Gears 5) suffer from the mild inconvenience of glitchy textures, some of them sound a bit more severe. Both Forza Horizon 5 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War may “experience an application crash when launching the game”, and FIFA 22 is even worse, as it may “experience an intermittent application crash during regular gameplay.” 

You would imagine Intel is working hard to fix these problems, as it’s clearly not a good look. Fingers crossed that the next driver update has fewer known issues and a big performance boost to boot.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.