Intel putters out of the gate with Arc Pro graphics at SIGGRAPH 2022

The professional graphics card war started at SIGGRAPH 2022 with Intel bringing its 'Wright Flyer' to face off with AMD & NVIDIA.

Published Aug 9, 2022 2:27 PM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Aug 31 2022 5:03 AM CDT
2 minutes & 5 seconds read time

Intel has officially entered the battlefield of professional graphics cards this week at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. Today, Intel is showing off their upcoming professional discrete card offerings for the first time. They displayed their Arc Pro A40 and Arc Pro A50 video cards in their booth on the exposition floor.

Unfortunately, none of their demonstration systems used in the booth on the show floor are powered by their premier Arc Pro A50 solution. The Intel demo team was extremely proud and enthusiastic about the Arc Pro A40 and its current status.

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One takeaway from seeing both cards next to each other is the physical size difference between the Arc Pro A40 and much larger Arc Pro A50 graphics cards. Although the smaller Arc Pro A40 card can fit in a small form factor solution, Intel likely will not be pushing their upcoming higher-end card into their smaller factor offerings in this generation of cards.

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As shown in the picture above, Intel provides users with four mini-DP plugs. Today on the show floor, however, only one of the two live demonstration units is utilizing two displays, and unfortunately, there is not one shown using all four outputs.

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The compute-intensive deblurring and rendering of a 1080p video hit a maximum frame rate of 0.93 seconds per frame processed. Although this performance will not take home any awards, it is a first step in the right direction for Intel. The GPU usage (compute) hovered between 79-80% when using Topaz Video Enhance AI (v2.6.4) for the demonstration. I noted from the demo that the Alder Lake-based CPU usage was struggling to stay under 20% while processing the video.

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Although I was underwhelmed by the performance of the Arc A40 in the demos being shown, I was impressed Intel was managing to squeeze their discrete video card into an upcoming Alder Lake-based NUC system. One observation was that the unlaunched Alder Lake NUC-based unit was cool to the touch, even though the GPU had been running continuously for over an hour.

The lower performance part did not seem to produce extreme amounts of heat, which is still attention-catching even in an entry-level part. It seems with at least the Arc A40 GPU, Igor will not be cooking eggs in the near future.

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We talked to one member of the Intel demo team about the current state of their ray tracing solution. We were shown a real-time demo running on a combination of SketchUp and D5 Render. Although the demo worked, it did display some artifacts but did seem generally stable throughout the demonstration without causing any system crashes. One should assume that software issues will be resolved as drivers mature before their release.

We did ask to see a start-to-finish final render of a scene, but sadly they declined to show us an in-person, real-time demonstration of a final render due to time constraints.

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Rob writes about networking technology, smart home technology as well as mid-market and enterprise hardware solutions. For 21 years his company has consulted in the government, mid-market, small business sectors. The firm he founded is based on creating solutions for their clients with the understanding of what they were not getting from other industry consultants. He continues to develop long-term technology strategies and providing analytical services for his clients.

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