Get ready to ignite your gaming experience as we bring you an exclusive interview with Zachary Hill from the Intel Arc marketing team that dives deep into the world of esports and the powerful impact of Intel Arc GPUs. In true CGMagazine fashion, we’ll explore the unique features that make Intel Arc an affordable yet formidable contender in the gaming industry, opening up a world of possibilities for aspiring esports competitors and content creators alike.
Taking time out during the Intel Extreme Masters 2023 in Rio, Hill walks us through what makes Arc so exciting for gamers and creators. From partnerships with major developers like Valve and Riot to cutting-edge features like AV1 hardware encoding and dedicated ray tracing engines, Hill provides valuable insight into the world of Intel Arc GPUs.
With more OEMs and PC manufacturers jumping on board, the future looks bright for Intel Arc, with the promise of more customization and better image quality on the horizon. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn how Intel Arc is changing the game for esports enthusiasts and content creators worldwide.
I want to get into what makes Arc so uniquely qualified to kind of be part of esports. Why is it such a good partner?
Zachary Hill: Esports, in particular, are a great fit for Arc because we have integrations with Intel CPUs, which are already the preferred choice for esports. This integration, along with our partnerships with software developers, such as our close collaboration with Valve for Counter-Strike at IEM, sets us apart.
Furthermore, many esports have mass appeal, and Intel Arc graphics are designed to be affordable. Being able to offer gamers the opportunity to achieve 350 frames per second in CS:GO at a more attractive price point than competitors is indeed valuable.
Does Arc have any part of the Intel Extreme Masters? Are you outfitting the computers you were playing on?
Zachary Hill: At this point, no. The professionals require an incredible amount of performance. I’ve been told that the threshold is 500 frames per second. As I just mentioned, in CS: GO, we achieve about 350, which is great for casual gamers like me. However, until we reach that 2-millisecond frame time, they’ll be relying on Team Green. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to collaborating with them in future generations.
I’m seeing more and more options with Arc and where you can find it. For people looking to jump into esports, is Arc a good choice?
Zachary Hill: Absolutely, because we’re testing all esports. We work with almost every developer that has an esports title out there, whether it’s Valve, Riot, or others. Specifically, if someone wants to make a name for themselves and share content on social media, YouTube, or in the Arc Control software, we have auto highlights that automatically capture. There’s a limited list of applicable games, but it includes any esports title.
For people who know that Arc is affordable, what else does it offer besides just being the cheaper option?
Zachary Hill: Not only is it the cheaper option, but it’s also a very modern one. We were the first to introduce AV1 hardware encoding. While others now have it, we still provide the most affordable option. So, if someone targets content creation specifically, the A380 is an affordable card that has the same media engine as the A770. Other modern features include dedicated ray tracing engines, full DirectX 12 Ultimate support, and the ability to run very high resolutions on a mid-range card using XCSS upscaling. It’s available in about 50 games now and will be coming to many more.
I just want to go back to content creation for a second. You mentioned that you were one of the first cards to have AV1. What do you think that brings to people who cannot afford a more expensive GPU?
Zachary Hill: It definitely lowers the barrier to entry in terms of internet capabilities. Not everyone has a fibre connection, so being able to work with a codec that offers higher quality at the same bitrate or equivalent quality at a much lower bitrate is a huge advantage. Also, because it’s open source, it’s much easier for any software of their choice to integrate with it and for content providers to incorporate that into their platforms.
Do you see more OEMs and PC manufacturers, including Arc, in the future? Do you see it becoming a more ubiquitous option?
Zachary Hill: I would hope so. I don’t do much OEM work; I’m usually just involved with the discrete cards themselves. But I know we’re looking to work with more local OEMs. For example, Intel Gaming has a good relationship with Nave in Brazil. When I was in Poland for IEM Katowice, I can’t remember the name of the European OEM—it was PC Specialist. They worked with us to create an Arc build that we showcased. It’s one of those beautiful full RGB LED skin PCs similar to what we have over here.
Well, I know that Acer Predator makes a discrete GPU. Do you want to work with more board partners to create more options? Or do you want to stick with that for now?
Zachary Hill: That’s not my area of expertise, so I can’t say how many more OEMs we’re working with or how many other add-in card manufacturers we’re partnering with. But I hope we expand. There have been some good manufacturers that gamers have lost recently, and I hope we’ll be able to fill some of those gaps.
Is there is anything we can look forward to in the future with Arc?
Zachary Hill: One thing happening right now is we’re rolling out the next iteration of XESS, XESS 1.1. It offers more customization. It’s not particularly faster, but it has better image quality, which is always a concern with upscaling. I think that’s about all I can say at this point.
Thank you very much. Is there anything else you would like to add before we close?
Zachary Hill: Just that I’m happy to be here. I think I’m a gamer first and an Intel employee second. Even if I weren’t at Intel, I believe Intel Arc is the most exciting thing happening in PC hardware. This new competition and value is very exciting for me, and I hope it’s exciting for other gamers.