Intel Warns Older Games May Take Performance Hit With Arc GPUs – Michmutters

Intel Warns Older Games May Take Performance Hit With Arc GPUs

If you decide to buy Intel’s upcoming Arc graphics cards, brace yourself for some mediocre performance when it comes to running older PC games.

On Thursday, Intel admitted the Arc GPUs will struggle to produce high frame rates for some PC titles built with the older DirectX11 and DirectX9 APIs from Microsoft. “On Some DX11 titles, we’re going to do great, but other DX 11 titles are not going to do great,” Intel Graphics Fellow Tom Petersen says in a video the company posted on Thursday.

The reason is due to the older DirectX11 API relying on Microsoft and the GPU driver to handle the game’s memory management. According to Petersen, Intel essentially still needs time to optimize its graphics cards with a variety of older games that were originally designed with GPU hardware from Nvidia and AMD in mind.

“We have to do a really good job of behavior that the game developers have come to expect when they’re using Nvidia hardware,” Petersen adds. “The truth is our card works very differently from Nvidia, so we now kind of have to start tuning all of our DX11 work to match what older titles have expected.”

On the plus side, Intel says the Arc GPUs have been optimized for games running on the newer DirectX12 and Vulcan APIs, both of which originally arrived about seven years ago. According to Petersen, the programming “layer” to the APIs “is much thinner,” and offloads the memory management to the game engine itself.

Intel also discussed the DX11 API issued last month in a video with Linus Tech Tips. In the clip, an Intel Arc A770, the company’s most powerful GPU in the line, runs Shadow of the Tomb Raider at about 80fps while using DX12. However, the performance drops to 40fps when rendering the game using DX11.

In a blog post on Thursday, Intel adds: “DX12 and Vulkan are modern ‘low-level APIs,’ with closer communication between the game and the GPU. DX11, DX9, and other legacy APIs require less developer resource management which means we’ve got more work to do in drivers.” (AMD’s own RDNA2 cards have also suffered similar problems with DX11 games too.)

The API issue certainly dampens the appeal of the Arc desktop GPUs, which are slated to launch later this quarter. PC builders looking for a reliable, high-performing graphics card may end up sticking with Nvidia and AMD, especially with the GPU shortage seemingly over. But Intel says it’s steadily working to optimize the graphics technology for all games. “It’s just going to be a labor of love forever making DX11 titles better and better and better,” Petersen says.


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