Intel Arc GPU Driver Hauls Another Round Of Big Performance Gains Up To 34%

intel Arc gaming truck in a parking lot.
Intel deserves some kudos for maintaining a regular driver update schedule for its Arc GPU family. Even more impressive, though, is the effort its driver team has put into delivering chunky performance gains, with the biggest to date being a massive 750% improvement in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Intel's newest Arc GPU driver doesn't ascend into triple-digit percentage territory, but it does boost performance in games by up to 34%, according to the release notes. It's also labeled as a 'Game On' driver for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, which means it's optimized for the new game (similar to how NVIDIA release 'Game Ready' driver updates).

It's getting to the point where we almost expect to see eye-popping gains with each new Arc GPU driver release. Naturally that can't and wont be the case forever, but as Intel picks and chooses which older games to optimize for, as well as making general DirectX 11 and 12 improvements, we'll continue to see impressive performance claims.

The latest batch of optimizations comes by way of the beta (read: non-WHQL) release. Don't be too put off by the beta designation, though, Here's how Intel explains the difference between WHQL and non-WHQL drivers.

"Drivers labeled as WHQL Certified have been thoroughly tested by Intel, have passed Windows Hardware Lab Kit testing on various platforms and configurations, and are signed by Microsoft as compatible with Windows* operating systems," Intel states.

"Drivers that do not have WHQL Certification are also thoroughly tested by Intel, are of the same functional quality as WHQL Certified drivers, and are signed by Microsoft. The key difference is that Non-WHQL drivers have not completed the full Windows Hardware Lab Kit testing prior to release. This is known as an attest-signed driver," Intel continues.

For those who decide to install the 101.5074 beta driver, they can expect the biggest gain in Train Sim World 3 (DX11), with Intel claiming up to 34% faster frames per second on average when playing at 1080p at Ultra settings. After that, the next biggest uplift is up to a 31% FPS increase in Dying LIght 2 Stay Human (DX11) at 1080p with High settings.

Here are the other metrics provided in the release notes...

Riding a creature in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.
  • Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (DX12): up to 8% average FPS uplift at 1080p with Ultra settings
  • Battlefield V (DX11): up to 23% average FPS uplift at 1080p with Ultra settings
  • Crossout (DX11): up to 5% average FPS uplift at 1080p with High settings
  • Dishonored 2 (DX11): up to 16% average FPS uplift at 4K with Ultra settings
  • Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition (DX11): up to 12% average FPS uplift at 1080p with Highest settings
  • For Honor (DX11): up to 14% average FPS uplift at 1080p with Extreme settings
  • Phasmophobia (DX11): up to 5% average FPS uplift at 1440p with High settings
That works out to double-digit percentage gains in six of the nine optimized titles. Most of those are representative of playing at 1080p, except for a couple that apply to 1440p and 4K resolution gaming.

Beyond the performance gains, the newest Arc GPU driver splatters a handful of bugs. Fixed issue listed in the release notes include...
  • Total War: PHARAOH (DX11) may exhibit corruption after changing resolution in game on certain displays.
  • Alan Wake (DX9) may experience application crash when starting a new game.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12) may exhibit colorful pixel corruption during gameplay.
  • Counter-Strike 2 (DX11) may exhibit flickering pixels during gameplay with Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode set to 4X MSAA.
  • Ghostrunner 2 (DX11) may experience sporadic application crash during gameplay.
  • Far Cry 3 (DX11) may experience application crash during gameplay.
In case anyone is wondering, here's where pricing stands at the moment on Intel's Arc A770 and A750 graphics cards, with some holiday discounts in play...
You can head over to Intel's Arc GPU driver page to download the latest release.