Since a recent update, Intel seems to have largely remedied the high consumption of Arc GPUs with multiple screens.
Intel’s first top segment of Arc GPUs (Arc A7) often struggled with high consumption around its launch, but the remarkable efficiency in idle mode in particular created friction. An Arc A770 would consume approximately 11 watts without load, but when a random second monitor was connected, that consumption suddenly rose to approximately 40 watts.
After mentioning (and further exploring) on GitHub, it was found that the Arc GPUs can no longer activate their ‘low-power’ mode as soon as more than one monitor is connected to the video card. Intel is now working on a solution, of which driver version 18.104.22.16846 is the first step.
With the arrival of the new drivers, gamers would in any case be able to use two screens with lower consumption, although the current solution is not without pitfalls. Arc GPUs can now only enter their low-power state as long as one display doesn’t exceed 4k/60hz, or two displays at 1080p/60hz, according to an Intel programmer on GitHub .
The same Arc user who initially raised the problem now reports that the 4146 drivers do indeed have a positive effect on consumption. With one screen (2560 by 1080 pixels), the Arc A770 currently consumes approximately 7 to 8 watts. If you add another screen (1600 by 900 pixels), the idle consumption rises to only 8 to 9 watts.
It is unclear whether Intel wants to further improve the resting efficiency from here. The original GitHub post has since been closed, suggesting that Arc GPUs with, say, three or more displays may never be able to enter their low-power phase.