Intel’s new Arc graphics cards will run older PC games mediocrely.
Intel revealed Thursday that Arc GPUs won’t provide high frame rates for some PC games created with Microsoft’s DirectX11 and DirectX9 APIs. Intel Graphics Fellow Tom Petersen said in a video posted Thursday that some DX11 titles would play well but others won’t.
The older DirectX11 API relies on Microsoft and the GPU driver for memory management. Petersen says Intel needs time to optimise its graphics cards for older games developed for Nvidia and AMD GPUs.
“We must deliver the behaviour game developers expect from Nvidia hardware,” Petersen says. Our card operates differently than Nvidia’s, therefore we have to tune our DX11 work to fit older titles.
Intel says the Arc GPUs are tuned for DirectX12 and Vulcan API games, both of which debuted seven years ago. Petersen says the API “layer” is “much thinner” and offloads memory management to the game engine.
Intel discussed the DX11 API with Linus Tech Tips last month. Intel’s most powerful GPU, the Arc A770, runs Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 80fps in DX12. DX11 renders the game at 40fps.
Intel said DX12 and Vulkan are newer “low-level APIs” with closer game-to-GPU connection. DX11, DX9, and other outdated APIs demand less developer resource management, therefore drivers need more work. AMD’s RDNA2 cards also have DX11 issues.
The API issue hurts the Arc desktop GPUs, which ship later this quarter. With the GPU crisis now over, PC makers may continue with Nvidia and AMD. Intel says it’s optimising graphics for all games. Petersen said improving DX11 titles will be a lifelong labour of love.