Intel’s second-fastest Arc Alchemist GPU for laptops has witnessed some leaked benchmarks, and they’re a mixed bag of results – although we should be very cautious when interpreting them.
There are two sets of benchmarks that come from one Weibo User (opens in new tab) – supposedly for both real world gaming performance (opens in new tab)and synthetic tests (opens in new tab) – as flagged by HXL on Twitter (and identified by Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) and VideoCardz (opens in new tab)).
The inhabitant of the Chinese social media platform Weibo, who goes by the name ‘Golden Pig Upgrade’, apparently bought a Machenike gaming laptop (which became available very recently, but only in China) with an Intel Arc A730M and Core i7- 12700H (Alder Lake). As mentioned, the A730M is part of the high-end A7 family, but it’s the second-best offering next to the flagship A770M – these GPUs have 24 and 32 Xe-cores, respectively.
Let’s look first at the synthetic tests, which saw the A730M achieve a graphics score of 10,107 on the 3DMark TimeSpy, which is faster than an Nvidia RTX 3070 laptop GPU (and not far off the 3070 Ti).
Furthermore, the 3DMark Fire Strike scores were also shared for the Arc A730M – by the laptop maker in this case – and that put the Arc GPU a little lower, between the RTX 3060 and 3070.
Real-world game performance metrics turned out to be quite different, though, following this Weibo leak.
Golden Pig Upgrade tried out the Arc A730M with a small selection of games, seeing an average of 70 fps (frames per second) recorded with Metro Exodus at 1080p resolution (high details) and 123 fps with F1 2020 at 1080p (high details) ). Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, however, only managed 38 fps at 1080p (at very high details), only slightly shakier, dropping to blunt lows of 10 fps as the minimum frame rate recorded.
Also, speaking of minimal framerates, while Metro Exodus managed a good average framerate here, it dropped to some very bad lows of 9fps – even slower than Assassin’s Creed in that regard.
Clearly, the results here are a mixture of things and certainly put the A730M on a lower level than the 3DMark test. As Tom’s Hardware points out, the Metro Exodus’ frame rates are comparable to the RTX 3060, but with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the performance is more like the RTX 3050.
Analysis: A confusing overall picture of performance
There’s a lot to unpack here, but it’s all to be taken with big piles of assorted spices, that’s for sure. There are a number of caveats, among which we should be wary of the supposed benchmark results posted on Weibo (although admittedly, laptop maker Machenike also provided a 3DMark result, as noted).
The 3DMark scores certainly look impressive, and perhaps even too impressive when you remember that this is Intel’s second-best A7 GPU, and not even the flagship – but it’s apparently beating the RTX 3070 in a benchmark. However, synthetic tests like these aren’t as valuable a measure as actual gaming performance, and Intel may have significantly optimized their graphics driver for these types of tests.
On the other hand, the graphics driver was clearly not fully enhanced for some of the games we tested, given the drops to really low minimum framerates, which are indicative of ‘drivers in progress’. In fact, we don’t know which version of the driver was used here, but it’s clearly an early working version (one not officially supported – given that the Alchemist driver with A730M support was just released today). The Weibo user also noted that Shadow of the Tomb Raider proved to be impossible to run for benchmarking purposes, simply crashing and not loading.
There are also other possible variables in the mix with the game’s benchmarks, such as whether the Dynamic Tuning Technology (DTT) driver was enabled – this is Intel’s take on intelligent power allocation between the CPU and GPU, but it has been seen as still a little choppy and degrade performance.
Overall, the A730M’s potential performance remains a difficult picture to decipher from these early benchmark glimpses, but it all points to something we’ve been theorizing for some time. That is, Intel still needs to work on software for Arc GPUs, and the delays we’re seeing on the desktop graphics front are likely involved in this need for more work on driver optimization.
The obvious problem with the delay is that as Intel spends more and more time shaping the software, the launch of high-end graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia looms closer – and GPU comparisons will become a much closer area. difficult for Arc Alchemist products.