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Is the Intel Arc A770 Worth Considering in 2024?

The Acer Intel Arc A770 continues to get better through driver updates and as the price falls this premium-feeling GPU starts to look attractive.

Published: 1/31/2024, Updated 2/23/2024

Acer Predator BiFrost Intel Arc A770 OC 16GB

3/5
Dislikes
  • Suboptimal fan curve
  • High power draw at idle
  • Predator Bifrost software does not work
  • Coil-wine

Verdict

A viable option If picked up on sale for gaming and content creators but erratic fan behaviour and high idle power draw may be a big compromise for some.

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review

Unboxing Experience

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The outer box exudes premium vibes, adorned with chrome decals that hint at what's inside. Upon opening it, a sleek black box houses the GPU, presented with high-quality foam and an anti-static bag. As a useful surprise, the inclusion of a 32GB ADATA USB Flash Drive adds a practical touch, doubling as an installation medium or a versatile storage device as it can be formatted and repurposed, I used it as my installation media for the Windows 11 installation.  

Contents

  • Leaflet
  • Graphics Card
  • 32GB ADATA USB Flash Drive

Closer Look at The GPU

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The GPU looks and feels premium with a unique aesthetic due to that distinctive fan design, featuring a unique combination of a blower-style fan at the front and a downward-firing fan at the rear. The innovative rear-mounted heatsink showcases a thoughtful engineering choice, optimising airflow for certain types of cases. Most of the hot air is exhausted out the front of the card which makes this ideal for smaller cases with sub-optimal airflow such as ITX/MATX ones as well as pre-built systems from OEMs such as Dell, Lenovo and HP.

The heatsink on the GPU extends to the rear, so the rear fan is doing some work and could allow for some nice airflow in certain types of cases. In my system, the air blows directly through my RAM providing them with additional cooling.

The blower-style fan is shifted away from the front of the card, so if you are populating an expansion card directly in front of it, you may be able to get away with not completely obstructing the intake blower fan. 

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In my system, I installed an Elgato PCIe Capture Card and it fits right up against the GPU and the blower fan still having access to airflow. 

My Test System

  • Kingston Fury Renegade 2TB NVME
  • Ryzen 9 7950X3D
  • 32GB Kingbank DDR5 Sharpblade Ram 6400MHz
  • MSI B650m Mortar (BIOS: 7D76vAB1)
  • Acer Intel Arc A770 GPU
  • Be Quiet! Dark Power 13 850W

Gaming Benchmark (1440p)

Please Ignore the 6400MHz indicator in the screenshots, this corresponds to the RAM speed which was used for another experiment you could find here 6400MHZ CL32 or 6800MHZ CL34 RAM in Ryzen 7000 series | VrtuhubTech Review

Assasins creed valhalla

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Ultra High Preset:

  • Average FPS: 61
  • Max FPS: 204
  • Min FPS: 36

Low Preset:

  • Average FPS: 90
  • Max FPS: 119
  • Min FPS: 60

A good-looking, modern game that I enjoyed playing. There is a noticeable difference in Ultra High and Low settings but you’re able to average 61FPS in Ultra High with Mins in the 37 FPS mark.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Highest Preset:

  • Average FPS: 84
  • Max FPS: 120
  • Min FPS: 66

Lowest Preset:

  • Average FPS: 151
  • Max FPS: 234
  • Min FPS: 121

This game looks incredible and performs well with the ARC A770. Seeing this level of performance on a game that looks this good is very promising and shows great potential in the GPU.

Avatar 

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Ultra Preset:

  • Average FPS: 29
  • Max FPS: 66
  • Min FPS: 66

Low Preset:

  • Average FPS: 45
  • Max FPS: 33
  • Min FPS: 35

This is the Newest Game on the list and is the most demanding game. It is tough to run at 60FPS+ on arc A770 even at the lowest preset without resorting to resolution scaling. When doing so, the game looks like crap. I am not sure why the performance is this bad, even during indoor scenes with less going on. I do not think it's the best-looking game here but maybe a lot is happening in the Avatar world.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition

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This is an intense Benchmark with the Enhanced Edition of the gaming coming with RayTracing support. There is a noticeable stutter during the benchmark and the GPU’s coilwine would sutter with it which was fascinating to see. This might be a GPU-related issue, the Intel Arc A770 isn’t the most well-optimised GPU but it may even be the Ryzen 9 CPU. I’ve seen suggestions on the forums on how to address this but for this review, I decided to leave everything as is.

Extreme Preset:

  • Average FPS: 41.55
  • Max FPS: 103.53
  • Min FPS: 19.76

High Preset:

  • Average FPS: 75.94
  • Max FPS: 119.59
  • Min FPS: 16.21

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

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On Ultra this game looks out of this world and it runs pretty well on the ARC A770. With Ray Tracing on it looks unbelievably good but for this review, I have kept it off as it defaults to off in the ultra preset. Seeing a game like this run above 60FPS on the ARC GPU makes me very optimistic about the potential. 

Ultra Preset:

  • Average 9
  • Max FPS: 116
  • Min FPS: 62

Low Preset:

  • Average FPS: 102 
  • Max FPS: 131
  • Min FPS: 69

Dirt 5

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An older title but for those who may still play it, as racing games have good replayability. This is quite a long benchmark at around 3 minutes and once started you cannot cancel out. RayTraced Vehicle Shadows and VRS were turned off with Dynamic Resolution Scaling turned on. The rest was at the default Ultra Low and Very High presets.

Ultra High:

  • Average FPS: 56
  • Max FPS:65.1
  • Min FPS: 42.1

Low Preset:

  • Average FPS: 208.7
  • Max FPS: 230
  • Min FPS: 184.7

DaVinci Resolve Experience

Beyond gaming, the GPU excelled in content creation. DaVinci Resolve showcased significantly improved video encoding times and the timeline is much smoother when scrolling through and effects and editing.

Setting the format to AV1, employing MP4, MKV or just AV1 as the container, and utilizing the AV1 codec. Uploading .MP4 files with the AV1 codec or AV1 files directly onto YouTube was a breeze. The speed of rendering using this method, compared to my previous encoding in h264/h265 on the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, yielded a monumental leap in performance.

Issues I’ve encountered

High Idle Power Draw is still a problem

Even at idle, the GPU's power draw remains notably high. Whether connected to my QHD Monitor at 140Hz or switched to the motherboard's IGPU, the idle power consumption hovers around 34W and 30W, respectively. Even reducing the FPS to 60 made no discernible difference. This persistent power consumption, especially during idle periods, seems excessive.

Weird fans

While the Arc Control Center allows the fans to be completely shut off, doing so causes severe throttling, even during idle desktop use. I find this partially strange as plenty of passively cooled GPUs do exist and if I’m just on the desktop I don’t understand why the GPU would hit 90 degrees Celsius with the fans off. This raises concerns about idle power consumption and thermal management.

Attempting to create a custom fan curve, such as setting the fans to 0dB until hitting 60 degrees Celsius, resulting in an unsettling pattern of fan spin-ups and spin-downs.

Adjusting the fan curve settings didn't grant full control over the fans. The minimum fan speed, aside from 0 RPM, surprisingly produced louder noise than the automatic fan profile. The automatic profile itself exhibited erratic behaviour lowering and increasing the fan speed for no apparent reason. Upon researching, it appears others are experiencing similar issues, potentially stemming from Intel's driver updates conflicting with the stock BIOS and fan curve of the Acer variant of the ARC A770.

The rear downward fan operates louder than I would like, especially during idle moments. Given its noise levels, it might benefit from spinning at a slower pace, particularly during idle periods.

Coil Wine when under load

Under load, the GPU emits a rather loud coil whine, noticeable even amidst the fan noise. I'm hopeful that it might diminish over time as sometimes this can be reduced or go away on its own after some use.

Predator Biforst Software Glitch

The Predator Biforst software, initially accessible after a fresh install, abruptly stopped working before I could utilize its RGB and fan curve controls. Despite attempts to uninstall and reinstall, the application fails to start beyond displaying a brief splash screen. This could be a consequence of the Intel driver automatically patching the card with the stock Intel BIOS, causing compatibility issues with the software.

Game Compatability

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy reported outdated drivers but this did not affect performance and the game still launched and ran well. This was good to see, that even a game without compatibility with ARC still ran and performed well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Acer Intel Arc A770 offers a generous 16GB of GGDR6 VRAM through a 256-bit memory interface, surpassing current offerings from Nvidia by price to memory capacity. However, this abundance doesn't necessarily translate to superior performance. While the A770 does leverage its VRAM effectively, its overall performance falls behind competitors like Nvidia and AMD.

Intel AI upscaling tech XESS has potential if adoption picks up in the industry and it seems Intel has not given up on the GPU market so we could expect to see more gamers support this tech.

Comparatively, the Nvidia RTX 4060Ti boasts a lower idle power draw, nearly half that of the A770, along with lower power consumption under load and superior performance despite its smaller RAM and 192-bit memory interface.

Should you find the A770 on sale, it presents a compelling option, particularly for individuals navigating both gaming and content creation. Yet, the persistently high idle power draw and the less-than-ideal fan curve leave a yearning for a more refined solution.

The gaming performance does deliver, and considering the sale prices, it’s a viable option. However, the 34W idle draw raises concerns about long-term electricity costs, and the inability to switch off the fans in idle due to this high power draw means you’re stuck with a constant hum during lighter tasks or idle periods.

Ultimately, the Acer Intel Arc A770 isn't without its merits, but the power consumption and fan behaviour might make one wish for alternatives, particularly for those sensitive to energy efficiency and noise levels during quieter computing moments.

Technical Details:
Tags:

Graphics Card, Intel Arc A770, GPU, Gaming, Benchmark

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Disclaimer: The following article reflects the personal viewpoint of the author Bilal Khan and is not intended to serve as professional financial guidance. Its primary purpose is to provide educational and engaging content. Please be aware that investing in cryptocurrency involves significant risks, and there are no assured returns. Always conduct thorough research before making any financial decisions.