Should You Upgrade to Intel?

Intel is now officially in the GPU game. It’s been a long time coming, but finally, Intel has a graphics card worth buying for gamers. Two, actually—the Arc A770 and the Arc A750. They’re not the best out there, and they’re certainly no match for NVIDIA or AMD’s new GPUs, but they’re good enough for a lot of gamers.

Many are comparing the A770, the highest-end of the two offerings, to NVIDIA’s RTX 3060, one of the company’s most popular mid-range offers.

How do both GPUs compare, and should you buy one over another?

Intel Arc A770 vs. NVIDIA RTX 3060: Specifications

Nvidia 3060 graphics card closeup

Let’s start with the specifications, and in this regard, at least, they’re less close than you would think—and they also have some fundamental differences.

Let’s begin with the newcomer. The Intel Arc A770, announced in 2022, is based on TSMC’s 6nm process, and it comes with 4,096 shading cores and 32 RT (ray tracing) cores. The GPU runs at a 2,100 MHz frequency and has 512 execution units, 256 TMUs, and 128 ROPs. We also get 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM in this bad boy, and if you’re willing to pay a bit more money, you can get a whopping 16GB of VRAM. As far as power consumption goes, this GPU guzzles up to 225W from your power supply.

Now, let’s have a look at the RTX 3060 itself. This card is much older, being announced in January 2021, and it is based on TSMC’s 8nm process, and it has a more conservative 3,584 shading cores (CUDA cores) and 28 RT (ray tracing) cores. It also gets 112 Tensor cores, which enable the use of things like DLSS, as well as 112 TMUs and 48 ROPs. And as far as VRAM goes, you get a single, 12GB GDDR6 VRAM option.

At first glance, you might look at these specs and wonder why the Intel card is being compared to the RTX 3060. After all, the Intel card is newer, and, at least at first glance, it seems notably more powerful. It has more RT cores, more shading units, more VRAM, and whatnot.

We’ll see if that’s true in the next section, but we can say that Intel is a newcomer to the GPU game, and as such, it has a lot of things to improve before it can actually be up to snuff against NVIDIA. And this is true even for the mid-range cards.

NVIDIA cards are better optimized and, in turn, perform better due to NVIDIA being a long-standing player. Of course, Intel will get better down the road, but for now, that’s an advantage NVIDIA has Intel doesn’t.

Intel Arc A770 vs. NVIDIA RTX 3060: Benchmarks and Tests

Now, we’ll check how both compare in real-life performance. For this, we’ll reference a video from the popular YouTube channel Testing Games, which compares how a handful of games run in the RTX 3060 versus the Intel Arc A770. And the result might surprise you.

In many games, the Arc A770 is on par, or better, than the RTX 3060. In games like Forza Horizon 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2, we see up to 20 fps more on average on the Intel card compared to the NVIDIA card. That’s an amazing prospect, especially given how both cards are priced roughly the same—with the Intel card being priced slightly better. There’s no clear winner in games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Cyberpunk 2077, as both cards perform roughly the same.

In a handful of games, such as The Witcher 3 and CS:GO, the RTX 3060 actually has the edge, but this is more of an edge case than anything. The trend normally favors the Intel card, and these two specific games are more CPU-intensive than GPU-intensive.

It also goes to show what we said earlier. NVIDIA cards are more mature; therefore, their drivers are better optimized for many games, including these. And while Intel’s hardware is promising, the software side of things still needs some time in the oven, and game developers need to start working with Intel cards in mind.

Basically, the card is roughly as good as the RTX 3060 in many games, while in others, you might see a tantalizing uptick in FPS from using the Intel card rather than the NVIDIA one. The opposite is true in some games, though, so you’ll need to figure out what works best for you.

It’s a toss-up but in a good way.

Which Graphics Card Should You Choose?

Intel Arc Limited Edition GPU
Image Credit: Intel

The answer is complicated, but I would argue that the Intel GPU would better serve most users rather than the RTX 3060.

Looking at horsepower alone, it’s clear that Intel intended this card to compete against an RTX 3060 Ti or even an RTX 3070. It’s really good, and in a good way. But it’s probably fairer to compare it against the RTX 3060, at least right now. Even then, it has the edge in many games, and for many others, it’s roughly as good. Of course, there are slim cases where the RTX 3060 is better, but even then, the Arc A770 still manages an impressive showing.

Then, we also have the fact that it’s cheaper. The Intel card retails for $329, whereas most RTX 3060 SKUs retail anywhere between $350 and $500. It can be worth it if the specific games you want to play are better on NVIDIA, but for most people, the Arc A770 is worth a shot. Plus, as Intel’s drivers keep maturing, games should perform better and better every time. It’s a really good option, and it makes us excited for what Intel can do in the future once it establishes itself as a household graphics card manufacturer.

One small thing to note: Intel Arc doesn’t support DirectX 9 at the time of writing, so bear that in mind if you’re a fan of older titles.

The Intel Arc A770 Is the Better Option

It’s hard to do things better than NVIDIA, but Intel seems to have done it. And in its first try, even. The Arc A770 is the graphics card to get in the mid-range segment right now, at least until a better alternative from NVIDIA or AMD comes around.

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