Intel’s Arc A730M showed up in some early reviews in China – tentative material given the sources, and we’ll come back to that point – but this time one of the GPU Alchemist testers used the latest driver that does officially supports the A730M.
This driver was introduced yesterday (version 126.96.36.1995) with said support, and as laptops are now on sale with the A730M inside – but only in China – this is our first proper glimpse into the potential performance of the laptop graphics card. from Intel, which nestles just below the flagship A770M.
The situation is that two sources (marked by VideoCardz (opens in new tab)) compared a Machenike gaming laptop now on shelves in China, which has the A730M GPU inside. The first set of results comes from the ‘Golden Pig Upgrade’, a Weibo inhabitant who brought us an earlier leak as we reported yesterday – but has now installed the latest Intel driver for this latest round of testing, as noted.
The other results come from IT-Home, a Chinese tech site, although that didn’t use the new supported driver for the A730M and overall we still maintain a healthy skeptical frame of mind when looking at these scores.
Let’s look first at the findings of Golden Pig Upgrade, which compared the A730M to the RTX 3060 laptop GPU, using benchmarks from notebooks running one of Intel’s Alder Lake Core i7-12700H processors to provide a fairly even playing field.
While the A730M still fared well in synthetic tests – as we saw in yesterday’s 3DMark results – and outperformed the RTX 3060 by a long way (in fact, the Intel GPU outperformed the 3070), that wasn’t the case with benchmarks. real games.
To name a few examples, the Gears 5 hit 90 fps (frames per second) with the A730M, but that was way behind the RTX 3060, which achieved 133 fps. For Hitman 2, the Nvidia card pushed the Intel GPU to hit 100 fps compared to 76 fps. Both were DX12 results – the resolution and settings weren’t shared, but it’s clearly 1080p – but some DX11 benchmarks were also run, like Total War Saga: Troy, where Nvidia won by 136 fps at 114 fps.
There was some brighter news with the Metro Exodus, mind you, where the A730M beat the RTX 3060, averaging 77 fps compared to 72 fps (and we know it was at high graphics settings at 1080p).
The IT-Home test was based on Intel’s Arc driver version 188.8.131.526, before the A730M was officially supported, so it technically falls into the pre-release leak category for us – but the 3DMark results were similar to the Golden Pig Upgrade, and discover the broadly line-up for real-world games, too.
Meaning that the A730M lags slightly behind the RTX 3060, although in this case, benchmark comparisons weren’t done directly by IT-Home, and were drawn to existing benchmarks for gaming via Notebookcheck.net; so we need to be especially cautious here. For what it’s worth, the A730M feels considerably slower than the RTX 3060 in Cyberpunk 2077, while the Control performed roughly similarly, but the Intel GPU has really advanced to Elden Ring – although we’re positively crossing the salt here, really.
Analysis: Is there still a lot of optimization to be done for Arc?
The sum total of these benchmark comparisons – some of which are definitely shaky – is that the A730M is slower than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 in most games tested, but not all of them (and certainly not the synthetic tests with 3DMark, but that’s not as important as the results of games in the real world). And the clear suggestion is that Intel is still working hard to improve the Arc graphics driver.
Metro Exodus is the main benchmark to focus on here, because we’ve seen the Golden Pig Upgrade run the game in its previous tests, but with an outdated driver – so now we can compare that result to the new driver that officially supports the A730M.
Previously, the Metro Exodus (on high settings, 1080p) managed 70 fps, but with the new driver it goes up to 77 fps – but there’s a bigger story to tell in terms of the lowest recorded frame rate. Previously, that dropped to a horrendous 9 fps – which means that at times, Metro Exodus has become a seriously choppy slideshow – but now, we see a low of 45 fps, which is much more in line with what we expected.
In other words, the latest driver appears to have been tweaked for Metro Exodus now, but not for some other games going through several of the results witnessed here. Which again points to Intel still being in the process of optimizing the driver and smoothing it out for various problematic games. (Note that there are also reports of several games crashing or not even running with the Arc A730M, which is really not a good sign).
And this is all related to what we’ve seen so far – a very limited release of discrete GPUs for Arc laptops, only in Asia, mainly because Intel just isn’t ready to launch Alchemist products in the wider world and in regions like the US. and Europe. Not to mention the lags on the desktop Arc, likely tied to the same reasons of needing to tweak the software side even further, even though the hardware is ready to go.
Mind you, this is all just speculation, but things clearly haven’t been planned for Intel so far with Arc GPUs, so it’s not exactly a huge leap to take when you look at early benchmarks like the ones shared here.