There’s a lot to look forward to: Intel has had a tough time entering the dedicated PC graphics card arena. Its first series of GPUs struggled to get to market when the company said it would, and early impressions revealed serious flaws. However, Intel has done a lot to address some of these shortcomings and remains committed to improving its dedicated graphics offerings.
Anonymous sources tell PC Games Hardware that Intel is set to release another major driver update for its Arc graphics cards in February. Significant changes may soon be coming to the company’s graphics control software as well.
The update should significantly improve the performance of Arc Alchemist for games using all graphics APIs. The fix follows a December update that fixed a massive flaw in the GPU line with DirectX 9 (DX9) titles.
One of Arc Alchemist’s main weaknesses is that it doesn’t natively support DX9, as Intel needed to focus its development efforts on DX12. Games started transitioning from DX9 to DX11 over a decade ago, but some of the most popular titles, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, still use DX9. Alchemist GPUs initially ran these games much worse than comparable cards, but the December drivers made a big difference.
February drivers could further correct the deficit while improving DX11, DX12 and Vulkan performance. The update will also introduce new features, but PCGH sources did not provide any examples.
These new features could include an overhaul of how Arc users control graphics and schedule updates. Intel hasn’t publicly revealed the new software, but Linus Tech Tips and Toms Hardware’s Albert Thomas confirm that Intel told them it exists.
Intel’s current method of controlling Arc graphics, Arc Control, has faced heavy criticism, primarily because it is an overlay that does not have an adjustable window, rather than a standalone piece of software. Linus says the replacement app will consolidate Arc Controls functionality into a single panel, while Thomas said it would satisfy users who don’t like the overlay.
A recently leaked roadmap reveals Team Blue’s plans to update the Alchemist lineup later this year ahead of the launch of its successor – the Battlemage – in 2024. While the Alchemist only consists of entry-level and mid-range GPUs, the Battlemage may feature Intel’s first enthusiast card. The series is expected to improve ray tracing, memory and machine learning.