If you decide to buy the next Arc graphics cards from Intel, be prepared for poor performance when it comes to running older PC games.
On Thursday, Intel admitted that Arc GPUs will struggle to produce high frame rates for some PC titles built with Microsoft’s older DirectX11 and DirectX9 APIs. “On some DX11 titles we’re going to do a good job, but other DX 11 titles aren’t going to do good,” says Intel Graphics member Tom Petersen in a company video. job(Opens in a new window) Thursday.
The reason is due to the old DirectX11 API relying on Microsoft and the GPU driver to handle game memory management. According to Petersen, Intel still needs time to optimize its graphics cards with a variety of older games that have was originally designed with GPU hardware from Nvidia and AMD in mind.
“We have to do a very good job of the behavior that game developers expect when using Nvidia hardware,” adds Petersen. “The truth is that our card works very differently from Nvidia, so now we need to start tuning all of our DX11 work to match what older titles expected.”
On the plus side, Intel says the Arc GPUs have been optimized for games running on the new DirectX12 and Vulcan APIs, both of which originally arrived around seven years ago. According to Petersen, the API programming “layer” is “much thinner” and offloads memory management to the game engine itself.
Intel also discussed the DX11 API released last month in a video(Opens in a new window) with technical advice from Linus. In the clip, an Intel Arc A770, the most powerful GPU in the line, runs Shadow of the Tomb Raider at around 80 fps while using DX12. However, performance drops to 40fps when rendering the game using DX11.
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In a blog post(Opens in a new window) On Thursday, Intel added, “DX12 and Vulkan are modern ‘low-level APIs’, with tighter communication between game and GPU. DX11, DX9, and other legacy APIs require less development resource management, which means we have more work to do in the drivers. (AMD’s own RDNA2 cards have also had similar issues with DX11 games.)
The API issue certainly dampens the appeal of the Arc desktop GPUs, which are expected to launch later this quarter. PC builders looking for a reliable and capable graphics card may end up sticking with Nvidia and AMD, especially with the GPU shortage seemingly over. But Intel says it works regularly to optimize graphics technology for all games. “It will just be a labor of love to always make DX11 titles better and better,” says Petersen.
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