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Intel Arc Alchemist A730M falls flat once again — Should you be worried?

The past few days have not been great for Intel Arc Alchemist, at least not where benchmarks are concerned. Intel’s laptop A730M GPU was compared to Nvidia’s mobile GeForce RTX 3060, both found in very similar systems.

The results, to put it mildly, are not in Intel’s favor. Nvidia’s RTX 3060M is a clear winner yet again, proving to be up to 62% faster than the Intel Arc A730M. Is it time to start worrying about the future of Intel’s first discrete GPU line?

Intel Arc A730M benchmarked against Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 mobile.
Golden Pig Upgrade

Once again, the news comes from a Weibo leaker known as “Golden Pig Upgrade.” Ever since obtaining the A730M GPU inside a Mechanike laptop, the leaker had really put it through its paces in a number of tests and benchmarks. While the initial benchmarks placed the performance of Intel A730M somewhere between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3070 Ti, it’s all downhill from there. In gaming tests, the GPU failed to impress — and this downward trend continues with the latest round of testing.

Golden Pig Upgrade published a video on the Bilibili social media platform, where the Intel Arc A730M is being directly compared to Nvidia’s RTX 3060 in its laptop version. Both the graphics cards were paired with a 14-core Intel Core i7-12700H CPU. Moreover, they both have a similar TDP. The mobile RTX 3060 used in these tests is the top version with a 115-watt TDP that can gain an extra 15 watts through Dynamic Boost 2.0. The Intel Arc A730M maxes out at 120 watts. The leaker also took care of the driver side of things by using Intel’s latest A730M-supporting graphics driver, released just yesterday.

Before we delve deeper into this (fairly disappointing) portrayal of the Intel Arc A730M, we have to remind you that it’s still early days. Performance figures might, and hopefully will, change in Intel’s favor — although that’s not a guarantee. One thing still remains uncertain that could perhaps shift the performance numbers around quite a bit, and that is the question of Dynamic Tuning Driver (DTT). DTT is Intel’s technology used to allow the laptop to move power between the processor and the graphics card based on what you’re currently doing. It’s nice for battery life, but for gaming purposes, it really brings down the performance. If the leaker used DTT in these tests, the figures won’t be accurate, but if they haven’t used it, then it truly is a sad day for Intel Arc.

This time around, Golden Pig Upgrade tested the graphics card in a number of games and then compared the results to the platform with  Nvidia’s RTX 3060M. Tom’s Hardware calculated the average framerates based on all the tests, and while the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile managed to hit 109.58 frames per second (fps) on average, Intel Arc A730M is lagging behind with just 67.63 fps.

An Intel Arc Alchemist laptop with the Arc logo displayed.

In other words, the Nvidia GPU proved to be up to 62% faster than the Intel Arc Alchemist, although figures vary from game to game. As an example, in Boundary, Nvidia hit 76.2 fps while Intel only scored 20.7. In Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, the numbers fall in Intel’s favor with a victory of 77 fps versus 72 for Nvidia. Things go south in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive where Nvidia hits 404 fps compared to Intel’s 135. It’s worth noting that Nvidia’s GPU has access to DLSS. That’s yet another thing that could put it at an advantage.

With all that said — should you be worried about the performance of Intel’s discrete GPU? If you’ve been hoping to get yourself a laptop with Intel Arc, this might seem like bad news indeed. The answer depends on whether you’re hoping to do any AAA gaming on your future machine. If you are, everything points to the fact that Intel A730M might just not cut it. If you’re more of a casual gamer, there is no reason why it wouldn’t suffice. It won’t be one of the best GPUs on the market and you won’t find it in high-end laptops, but depending on pricing, it might end up being a reasonable choice.

As more benchmarks begin to surface, we’ll be able to more accurately pinpoint the performance of Intel Arc Alchemist.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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