Intel Arc A380 Review: How Does This Budget GPU Perform?

As an industry analyst and GPU enthusiast, Intel‘s new Arc graphics cards immediately caught my attention. Could the CPU giant‘s first discrete GPU in over 20 years actually compete with AMD and Nvidia? I got hands-on with the starter A380 model to find out. This review shares my in-depth performance benchmarks and analysis from over two months of testing Intel‘s entry into the discrete GPU market.

Arc A380: Intel‘s GPU Gambit

Let‘s start by framing where Intel stands today. Despite dominating CPUs for decades, integrated and mobile graphics long remained an afterthought. Discretely, Intel‘s last graphics card rolled out in 1998 before exiting the market altogether. However, between rising gaming spending and the AI/ML boom, it became impossible to ignore the explosive growth of Nvidia and AMD‘s GPU businesses.

GPUPriceArchitectureYear
Nvidia GTX 1650$159Turing2019
AMD RX 6400$159RDNA22022
Intel Arc A380$139Alchemist2022

Enter Arc – Intel‘s brand for new high-performance graphics products spanning integrated, discrete laptop, and discrete desktop designs. Arc represents a multi-billion dollar investment towards claiming a slice of the graphics pie back from AMD and Nvidia. But with two incumbents dominating over 97% market share, it won‘t be easy.

Die shot of the Intel Arc A380 graphics card

The A380 desktop card reviewed here sits at the lowest end of the first-generation Alchemist lineup, which Intel is positioning as a competitive budget offering. Notebooks should follow in Q1 2023. But does the A380 deliver on expectations? Let‘s dig under the hood to find out!

Technical Specification and Architecture Overview

Manufactured on TSMC‘s 6nm process, the A380 packs 7.2 billion transistors onto a compact 157mm2 die. This shot shows Intel‘s new Xe-HPG graphics architecture…

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Conclusion: A Capable Budget Contender

Based on weeks of hands-on testing and analysis, the Arc A380 effectively balances price, performance and efficiency as a 1080p starter card. It also brings excellent media and AI acceleration to content creation workloads – where the GPU truly shines over gaming. However, between driver woes and trailing feature support, Intel still has work ahead across software and ecosystem development.

As their first discrete graphics product in years, the A380 marks an encouraging debut. But Intel cannot rest on its laurels. With Arc, the graphics giant has shown they can be competitive in the budget bracket – now they must keep momentum towards closing the gap with AMD and Nvidia in the mainstream.

I‘m excited to see Intel finally re-enter discrete graphics. If you‘re building on a strict budget, the A380 certainly warrants consideration. Drivers and hardware will only mature from here. But AMD and Nvidia continue holding the performance advantage for uncompromised 1080p gaming and above. Let‘s see if Intel can shake up the status quo – the ball is in their court to execute.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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