Intel Arc Graphics A380: Compelling For Open-Source Enthusiasts & Developers At ~$139

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 28 August 2022. Page 1 of 8. 123 Comments

Last week I outlined getting Intel Arc Graphics running on a open-source Linux graphics driver when using Linux 6.0 and later (along with a currently-experimental module option override) and then Mesa 22.2+. Now that I've had more days with the Intel Arc Graphics A380 as the company's budget discrete GPU, here are more of my thoughts on this graphics card that has begun retailing in the US for $139.

The Arc Graphics A380 is Intel's entry-level DG2/Alchemist GPU that is manufactured on the TSMC N6 process, features eight Xe cores, two render slices, eight ray-tracing units, 128 Xe Vector Engines and 128 XMX engines, and features a 2000MHz graphics clock.

The Arc Graphics A380 is rated for a total board power of 75 Watts and features 6GB of GDDR6 video memory on a 96-bit bus. The A380 is rated to drive up to four displays simultaneously and can drive up to a 4K@60 via HDMI 2.1 and 8K@60 via DisplayPort 2.0. DG2/Alchemist does support Adaptive-Sync. For those without an Adaptive-Sync display, Intel is currently working on Smooth Sync support for Linux.

One of the very exciting elements with DG2/Alchemist is not only continuing to support GPU-accelerated AV1 decode but AV1 encode is also supported. The Intel Arc Graphics video acceleration functionality is supported with their Media SDK and the oneVPL project. I'll have oneVPL benchmarks hopefully soon once having the time to setup those components and facilitate some benchmarks. VP9 also continues to be supported for GPU-accelerated decoding along with the various popular proprietary codecs.

The Intel Arc Graphics A380 is designed for Vulkan 1.3, OpenGL 4.6, and OpenCL 3.0 support. On the Windows side, DirectX 12 Ultimate is supported. As mentioned in the earlier article, there is full open-source driver support. Vulkan is supported by their ANV Mesa driver, OpenGL is implemented with the Iris Gallium3D driver, and OpenCL 3.0 along with oneAPI Level Zero acceleration is with their open-source Compute-Runtime too.

The card being used for all this testing is the ASRock Challenger Arc A380. The ASRock Challenger Arc A380 has a single fan, dual slot design. This Arc A380 Challenger ITX 6GB OC model is also clocked at 2.25GHz compared to 2.00GHz for the reference Intel specifications. This graphics card is promoted by ASRock as being ITX-friendly with its small form factor design.

The ASRock Challenger A380 alongside Radeon RX 6400 and RX 5500 XT graphics cards.

The Arc A380 Challenger ITX 6GB OC features three DisplayPort 2.0 outputs and one HDMI 2.0b output. While there is the 75 Watt board power rating, a single 8-pin PCIe power connector can be found on the graphics card. This ASRock Challenger Arc A380 went on sale last week in the US via NewEgg for $139.99 USD but within a short period of time has been sold out. Presumably over the weeks ahead we'll see more robust A380 availability in the US followed by the higher-end Intel Arc Graphics models.

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