Intel's new Arc GPU driver makes Assassin's Creed Unity 4x faster

Assassin's Creed Unity is almost a decade old, which explains why graphics driver optimizations make a big difference for Arc GPUs here.

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Intel has released a new beta driver for its Arc family of graphics card, and it boosts the frame rates of Assassin's Creed Unity (an admittedly very old game) by a colossal amount.

Intel's Arc graphics cards are looking more and more tempting as time passes (Image Credit: Intel)

Intel's Arc graphics cards are looking more and more tempting as time passes (Image Credit: Intel)

According to Intel's release notes for driver version 31.0.101.4514, Assassin's Creed Unity (which was out in 2014) runs a rather staggering 271% faster at 1080p (on very high graphics settings), and 313% faster at 1440p (on high settings). That's four times as fast - or rather, 'up to' four times, as Intel observes.

Why is there such a huge jump here? Well, Intel has made no secret that it's (obviously) a mammoth task to optimize Arc drivers from scratch for all PC games out there, so it has concentrated on modern titles naturally (and DX12 or Vulkan).

Older games are likely to be left in a ropier state simply because they're not played much anymore, but Intel has been making an effort to optimize certain big-name franchises, Assassin's Creed being one of them - and we can clearly see the results here. Fine-tuning makes a significant difference for these more venerable titles.

Intel has also been honing newer games with this driver release and informs us that F1 22 is now 36% better for frame rates at 1080p (high settings) and 20% faster in 1440p. And Deathloop is 10% quicker at 1080p (ultra settings), which is still a tidy gain.

This beta driver also supports two new games, namely wrestling-fest AEW: Fight Forever, and Layers of Fear, a remake of a classic horror game.

Onwards and upwards

As ever with beta software, approach cautiously, but even if you don't grab this release - which is more than understandable - you can bask safely in the knowledge that these improvements are inbound for your Intel graphics card before too long.

Intel has been bolstering frame rates with its drivers on a consistent basis for some time now, and Team Blue is rapidly becoming a viable alternative to AMD or NVIDIA in certain spaces. Plus with some pretty tempting price cuts on Arc GPUs, like the A380 being available for just a smidge over $100 in the US recently, Intel is shaping up to be a meaningful rival to the existing GPU duopoly at a faster and faster pace.

Fingers crossed that Battlemage, the second-generation of Intel Arc, can build on this progress and continue to move forward with considerable speed. Battlemage graphics cards should be out next year, if Intel stays on track with its intended GPU development timeline (and will be followed by Celestial in 2026, in theory).

What's interesting is that NVIDIA's next-gen GPUs, RTX 5000 (probably), may not be out until 2025 now (as per a fresh rumor).

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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