Intel Arc Alchemist is finally here. Debuting first on mobile, Arc GPUs will be available in laptops starting from today with many more to come as the days go along. But Intel didn’t just unveil a bunch of new GPU hardware today. At the launch event for its Arc mobile graphics, Intel also showed off and released a brand new software suit dedicated to Intel Graphics.
Intel Arc Control is a new all-in-one hub for discrete Intel Arc and Iris-Xe integrated graphics that will allow users to control various parts of their graphics along with enhancing the overall experience of using an Intel GPU. It comes with a modernized user interface designed to be easily accessible to everyone. Essentially, Arc Control is to Intel what GeForce Experience is to NVIDIA and what Radeon Software is to AMD.
Seamless driver updates with a bunch of extras
The primary function of Arc Control is to deliver driver updates. These updates would be seamless and download automatically with the installation process fully integrated within the software itself. Again, similar to how NVIDIA driver updates are carried out through GeForce Experience. Drivers are an integral part of the Arc Alchemist family and Intel certainly knows how important driver integration is to get the best out of any GPU hardware.
Arc Control will also include an Modern Overlay easily accessible from anywhere by pressing Alt + I (this shortcut can be changed in the settings). The overlay will offer similar functionality to NVIDIA’s In-Game Overlay in GeForce Experience. Intel has mentioned that you will be able to capture clips of your gameplay automatically that you can save to your computer using Arc Control.
Moving on, Arc Control also comes with Performance Tuning capabilities that will allow you to monitor real-time performance metrics, bring up a Telemetry Overlay (HUD) displaying hardware statistics such as current FPS, and even adjust advanced settings like power, fan speeds, clock speeds and the likes, though this last option is available only for desktop so it cannot be used right now.
Moreover, Arc Control will bring various features aimed at content creators as well. There will be a built-in Creator Studio offering a whole host of neat tools like an AI-powered Virtual Camera that allows you to remove the background of a live video capture, change the background with one of your choice, or even add artificial background blur, all in real-time. Creator Studio also enables you to go live on multiple third-party platforms easily making streaming a piece of cake.
Arc GPUs have hardware-accelerated support for the AV1 video codec, which will certainly be put to use when streaming via Arc Control. Intel even showed a demo of how the AV1 codec can produce a much sharper image at the same bit rate. This is because AV1 is extremely efficient, in fact 50% more efficient than H.264 and 20% more efficient than HEVC.
Lastly, a shining highlight of Arc Control is that it does not require any user login, similar to AMD’s Radeon Software. NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience does ask you to first login with an NVIDIA account in order to use the software. This will be huge relief to users who don’t want to give away their personal information just to be able to get the most out of something that they purchased.
Intel Arc Control is here to stay as the third big GPU software suite after offerings from AMD and NVIDIA. Intel realizes that software is just as important as hardware when it comes to graphics, and with hardware seemingly locked down, Arc Control was just the thing Intel needed to strengthen its GPU launch even more. With all the essential features plus no bloat, it seems like a solid package overall.
Arc Control is available starting today as part of the latest Intel Graphics Driver for Intel Arc and you can get it download it from here, though do note that there is a long list of known issues with many games and the software itself at the moment. Laptops equipped with Intel Arc graphics are also available starting today with a starting price tag of $899, you can check out everything unveiled at the launch event here.