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Intel just gave your Arc GPU double the frames-per-second performance

It’s no secret that Intel’s Arc graphics cards had a rough launch, with multiple delays and even cancellation rumors plaguing Intel’s efforts. But now the company finally has some good news: its latest drivers could more than double Arc performance in certain situations.

In a recent blog post, Intel explains that its latest driver (version v3959) can improve 99th percentile DirectX 9 frames per second (fps) by up to 2.3 times. Compared to the previous driver, average fps is increased by up to 1.8 times. Those are some major boosts if you play a lot of DirectX 9 games.

Intel tested the new driver on several of the best PC games, including CS:GO, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, and Stellaris. There were improvements across the board, from modest fps increases to huge performance jumps.

While testing League of Legends at 1440p Ultra, for example, the average fps increased from 228 to 346. In CS: GO using the same settings, the average fps flew up from 179 to 317.

The headline-grabbing 2.3x improvement also came in CS:GO. When run at 1080p and High settings, the game saw a 2.26x step up in 99th percentile fps compared to Intel’s previous driver.

As we found out in our Intel Arc A770 and A750 review, Intel’s graphics cards are already very well-optimized for Vulkan games and perform decently with DirectX 12 titles, so it’s good to see the older DirectX 9 API get some love too.

Intel had previously admitted that its support for older APIs was a “work in progress,” but it seems the company is making good headway in its efforts to improve its cards’ performance. Interestingly, it isn’t that long since Intel said it was dropping native support for DirectX 9, instead relying on Microsoft to ensure DirectX 9 support through DirectX 12 emulation tech. It seems the gamble paid off, judging by these latest driver results.

Encouragingly, Intel says that “further improvements for games based on legacy APIs and general driver enhancements are on their way and future drivers will continue our march to a refined and more performant product.” So, if you’re tempted by an Intel graphics card and play a lot of DirectX 9 games, there could be more good news in the pipeline.

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Alex Blake
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