Intel’s Arc GPUs Redefine AI Acceleration, Surpassing Rivals in Performance and Affordability

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Intel's Arc GPUs Redefine AI Acceleration, Surpassing Rivals in Performance and Affordability

Intel showcased the highly accelerated AI capabilities of Arc graphics cards in image generation using Stable Diffusion. Collaborating with Microsoft, Intel is working on enhancing driver software for Direct ML, a library for hardware-accelerated AI functions. Alongside the upcoming Meteor Lake processors, Arc graphics cards prove to be suitable for AI applications.

Similar to gaming, Intel’s primary challenge remains providing the necessary software libraries and delivering a well-functioning package with the drivers. The relatively high theoretical computing power and 16GB of graphics memory at the purchase price make the cards particularly attractive for developers on a tighter budget.

Intel adapted the drivers for Microsoft Olive, an open-source tool for optimizing AI models. Olive is credited with doubling the performance of Stable Diffusion 1.5 on Arc GPUs, while Intel claims that driver version 4952 released on 1/11/2023 brings an additional 70% performance boost compared to the version 4900, which is just a month older.

More models in progress

Aside from Stable Diffusion 1.5, work is underway for Stable Diffusion XL and Llama-2. Additionally, Intel has published a comprehensive guide on its website detailing program installation and usage, reinforcing its position in productive applications—aside from gaming, a primary reason for investing in a dedicated GPU.

New graphics cards with 16GB of graphics memory from both AMD and Nvidia are not available for less than 400 Euros, whereas Intel significantly undercuts this price point. Similarly, in the used market, Intel offers the most budget-friendly entry points for 8GB and 16GB graphics cards.

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William Wylie
William Wylie, a tech writer with a penchant for future tech, shares his perspective on the ever-evolving world of tech, offering a glimpse into the next big breakthroughs.