Intel Arc Graphics Cards

Hi everyone,

Has anyone used Intel Arc graphics cards to run studies with Psychtoolbox? I’m interested in learning how these cards work especially under Linux systems. Thanks!


That would be a bit difficult, given those cards are only on sale since about 4 months afaik, and production quality driver support has only now become available with Linux 6.2, which is not yet in any official Linux distribution. You could get it installed manually on Ubuntu 22.04.2-LTS via the mainline kernel upgrade tool. I assume Ubuntu 23.04 in April might be the first distro with out of the box support.

I don’t have any practical experience with modern Intel graphics, the severe lack of funding by our short-sighted users means no money for buying or testing such stuff. My most modern Intel chip is Intel Kabylake from 6.5 years ago, discontinued since almost 2.5 years.

Theoretically though, I can say that the following limitations apply compared to modern AMD on Linux:

  • No support can be provided in case of trouble, due to the lack of hw and funding.
  • Color output precision in current drivers is limited to 10 bpc, as opposed to up to 12 bpc on modern AMD cards - a driver software limitation. Hardware could do more.
  • No HDR with current Psychtoolbox. - a driver software limitation. Hardware could do it.
  • Status of VRR for fine-grained timing is unknown. Hardware and drivers can do it, but not tested with PTB.

If one doesn’t need any such advanced features, and stays aware that this is very new hardware where neither the hardware nor drivers had much time to mature yet, so potential bugs or limitations are to be expected, I guess it should work for standard use cases.

I read somewhere that the main charm of it is currently that they are relatively cheap for the performance they provide, compared to AMD or NVidia, ofc. this may have changed again since I read about it. Cfe. Intel Arc Graphics A750/A770 Performance Ahead Of Linux 6.2 + Mesa 23.0 - Phoronix

Let us know how it goes if you happen to buy one.

Thanks for the detailed explanation!

We might give Intel Arc GPU a try somewhere in the summer. Definitely will keep you posted regarding its performance. We don’t need such advanced features, such as HDR or VRR, at the moment. Using Intel Arc GPU shouldn’t be too risky for us.

Ok. Ubuntu 23.04, scheduled for release at 20th April 2023, is now confirmed to have all the ingredients for a hopefully good out of box / plug & play experience. See:

Edit: It is released now. Not tested by myself due to lack of funding → lack of time. Some Phoronix tests suggest potential performance problems in some graphics related cases though. Unclear if this would affect PTB applications performance or visual timing or not and how so, ie. is it a Wayland bug, or also affecting native X-Server, the latter being bad for PTB? Also suggests it may be a bug with the GNOME GUI / standard Ubuntu GUI, but not other desktop GUI’s:

I’d say better safe than sorry…

Update: Quick testing showed some spurious problems under standard Ubuntu desktop under X11. Sometimes works fine, sometimes pageflipping failure. So if one wanted to use Ubuntu 23.04, using the KDE desktop gui or other desktop not based on GNOME Mutter would be advisable (untested advice).

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Also relevant:

This little service from Intel should allow to stick to Ubuntu 22.04-LTS, a recommended LTS version, and still get modern up to date drivers for Intel Arc graphics.


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