What you need to know
- Intel has been working away on DX11 performance in its Arc graphics drivers and the gains are noticeably impressive.
- On average DX11 games are now performing 19% better over launch drivers, with better frame rates and smoothness.
- Intel PresentMon beta brings the company's monitoring tool to the masses for the first time as an easy-to-use alternative to apps like MSI Afterburner.
Intel Arc continues to get better and better as every month passes, and as a user myself, I can attest to that. I was impressed from day one, really, given that it's hardly easy to enter a space dominated by NVIDIA and AMD already, but Arc offers a true value alternative to gamers.
Arc has always been a decent performer with newer graphics APIs like DX12, but its hiccups have usually been linked to older versions like DX11 and DX9. While the latter was a focus earlier, DX11 is now in the spotlight with the company highlighting the work it has been doing to make those games better.
It isn't complete yet, initially focusing on a smaller subset of titles, but with average gains around 19%, all DX11 titles should begin to benefit over the next few months. Some titles have benefitted as much as 33%, though, so there's plenty on the table.
Besides just "numbers go brr" Intel has focused on balance, since it has its own position of dominance when it comes to CPUs. The idea is that Intel CPU and Arc GPU are working in better harmony, and the result is both better frame rates and better smoothness. The latter shouldn't be taken for granted, since ironing out issues here removes janky areas in games and more significant frame dips. Improvements in the 99th percentile frametimes are anywhere between 9% and 45% better compared to Intel's launch drivers.
Drivers were one of the main concerns when Arc first launched, and it was fairly warranted. But Intel has been working none-stop and put out a huge number of updates since late 2022 when the cards launched. The work is no more notable than in the DX9 performance improvements, which is especially impressive when Arc has no hardware support for DX9 at all.
Aside from highlighting the work done for DX11 games, Intel is also today launching PresentMon beta, a tool that has, until now, not really been pushed as a consumer product. If you've ever used something like MSI Afterburner, you'll be familiar with the sort of thing you're getting here.
"This overlay can run while your game is on the screen to show your performance, GPU telemetry like voltage and temperature, and analyze a heap of information, all in real time. Want to see your 99th percentile frame times charted against your GPU utilization just above a chart of memory of utilization? We’ve got you! Maybe you really love histograms (like TAP does!) or maybe you are just tech-curious and want to see how your system is behaving – Intel PresentMon will impress."
PresentMon beta is free, open-source, and works across Intel, AMD and NVIDIA graphics. It's designed to be simple to use, while offering full system monitoring while playing games with clear graphs, and a huge range of options that can be tweaked to your needs. It also adds a new metric, "GPU Busy," which in simplest terms will show you how much time your GPU spends rendering versus idling.
It's available to download for free from today on Intel's website.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine