Intel Arc graphics drivers are up 19% in some games one month on but it's not all good

As we reported earlier this month, Intel has released a driver update for its Arc graphics with various performance improvement claims. But does the driver update deliver? PC World has taken a look and found some moderate, if mixed, improvements along with one game where performance actually regresses.

PC World tested the top Intel Arc A770 board using both the original launch driver and the latest updated release. Staring at the top, performance in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p Ultra (we assume without ray tracing enabled) performance improves by five percent from 52fps to 55fps. At 1440p Ultra, again it's a circa five percent bump from 41fps to 43fps.

Horizon Zero Dawn was a bit more impressive, jumping around 10 percent from 81fps to 89 at 1080p Ultra, though at 1440p performance didn't budge, staying at 75fps with both driver releases. Borderlands 3 likewise stayed flat 92fps running at 1080p Badass quality, but stepped up marginally from 66fps to 68fps at 1440p Badass.

Intriguingly, it's a DX11 title that shows the best gains, with Total War: Troy leaping by 19 percent from 91fps to 108fps at 1080p Ultra settings. At 1440p Ultra, performance improved by nine percent from 81fps to 89fps.

A number of other games showed small performance improvements, including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Modern Warfare 2. But the outlier was Watch Dogs: Legion that actually saw performance drop at 1080p Ultra from 76fps with the original drive down to 72fps with the update. At 1440p Ultra performance dropped from 59fps to 58fps.

Notably, the choice of games here doesn't map well with the games Microsoft itself highlighted with the release, with Dirt 5, Chorus, Far Cry 6, Forza Horizon 5, Ghostwire Tokyo, Gotham Knights, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and Sniper Elite 5 being among the games for which MS made the boldest claims.

With the general consensus being that the Arc GPU hardware is pretty decent but the software kinda sucks, we'll be watching developments carefully. Arguably, it's a little too soon to expect really major improvements. So, look out for our own re-testing of Arc performance early in the new year once Microsoft has had enough time to really go at those driver tweaks.


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Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.