Intel is eliminating native DirectX 9 support on Arc and Xe GPUs, opting for emulation instead

Intel is eliminating native DirectX 9 support on Arc and Xe GPUs, opting for emulation instead ...

Intel's entry into the discrete GPU market with Intel Arc hasn't exactly gone to plan, according to some, but after several delays and a rather subdued launch, this seems to be not the case.

Intel Arc's initial development began with a lower-end card, the Arc 3 A380. Even though expectations were low for a first-gen entry-level product, Steven Walton found it to be a stout package that can't stand up to older models like AMD's Radeon RX 6400.

Intel is making little effort with driver optimization, while its competitors have spent decades perfecting their software stack for a wide array of games. Some of its partners appeared to have dropped out shortly after receiving negative feedback from gamers and reviewers.

Team Blue appears to be determined to enhance Arc Alchemist GPU gaming performance and stability by putting an extreme emphasis on its efforts. For instance, the company recently moved 10th generation and older CPUs to legacy driver support and even dropped support for DirectX 9 for 12th-gen CPUs and Arc GPUs.

Intel intends to use an open-source mapping layer called D3D9On12 to emulate DirectX 9 devices, with similar or somewhat lower performance.

The same behavior will be applicable to systems equipped with an Intel Xe integrated GPU and an Arc GPU. The latter will take over the rendering of DirectX 9 games through the D3D9On12 unless it is disabled.

Intel is outsourcing the task of optimizing its DirectX 9 game drivers to Microsoft, so it can concentrate on improving DirectX 11 performance on Intel Arc. At least the media capabilities of Intel Arc silicon, such as AV1 encoding, are decent, and they also outperform current-gen Nvidia and AMD cards.

Intel is preparing the Arc 7 cards for release and even promoting their performance. These will be mainstream-level offerings on the same level as cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (at least in modern DirectX 12 titles), but there's no word on pricing or release date.

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