While Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs are no longer heralded as a potential savior from the long-lasting GPU shortage, there’s still plenty of reason to be excited for their upcoming release.
The timing may seem a bit odd, given that both Nvidia and AMD’s latest graphics card lines—the 30xx and 60xx lines respectively—have proven to be immensely successful despite their shameless price gouging.
This may lead some to wonder whether that leaves Intel a place within the competitive GPU market, but the chances are that it simply doesn’t matter- the end result of greater competition will either prove to be a net neutral, or will benefit consumers in the long run.
This has been proven by Intel themselves—after years of being the only option for “high-end CPUs”, AMD’s generational leap pushed them to release their own groundbreaking 12th Gen series of CPUs. In short, competition among manufacturers will prove beneficial to consumers in the long run. Even if you don’t intend on purchasing an Alchemist GPU yourself, its potential effects on the existing market is something to look forward to.
At the time of writing, Intel’s laptop dGPUs, the Arc A350M and A370M have officially released in Korea, though they have yet to be released internationally.
Intel themselves stated that their faster mobile GPUs—A550M, A730M, and so on—will be released “early summer”, meaning that these models should hopefully be available soon.
Most users, however, are interested in Intel’s leaked desktop GPUs, which begs the question: When will they be released? The answer—unfortunately—is that we don’t know. Despite Intel themselves claiming that their desktop GPUs would be available starting in Q2, there are rumors that we won’t be seeing these GPUs until Q4 of 2022. Considering the fact that we’re already in June, and news is scarce about the desktop models specifically, this is more than possible.
Overseas, though, it’s a bit different. In China, Intel recently released their first discrete GPU—the A380. Costing 1030 Yuan (~153 USD), while it’s undoubtedly an entry-level card, Intel has advertised it as a gaming-ready card that’s supposed (more on that later) to be 25% faster than AMD’s RX 6400. Following this China release, the current rumors suggest that the A380—as well as the rest of the lineup—won’t be available for international purchase until August.
Just to get it out of the way, we have yet to get our hands on any of the upcoming Arc Alchemist desktop GPUs. While this is largely due to the fact that they simply aren’t out yet, thanks to frequent leaks, we can still piece together a guess as to what their performance will be. In January of this year, a leaker by the name of TUM_APISAK found benchmarks of Intel’s flagship GPU on SiSoftware.
(Intel DG-512 on top, Nvidia 3070ti on the bottom)
As you can see, Intel’s GPU scored considerably higher than Nvidia’s own 3070ti, making it ~7% faster on average. This isn’t surprising—considering that Intel is boasting up to 3080 levels of performance—but it should be noted that this is not representative of in-game performance, as we have yet to see this GPU used in a live game setting.
Unfortunately, this idea is mirrored by the aforementioned A380. While Intel claims 25% increased performance compared to the RX 6400 is backed up by the A380’s higher specs, 3DCenter’s benchmarks suggest that the A380’s performance is only 4% greater than the RX 6400. Still, despite the lower price point of the A380, its performance is still impressive.
On the other hand, Intel’s mobile GPUs have proven to be within arms reach of a typical mobile 1650 model- which has been something of a golden standard for mobile GPUs. This leaves Intel’s claims as something of a mixed bag.
What Should You Expect?
While Intel’s claims should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, there’s no doubt that they understand how seriously consumers take it when companies lie about their product. Given that, it’s reasonable to assume that Arc Alchemist GPUs are capable of hitting their advertised levels of performance, but that Intel has some ways to go to work out the kinks.
This is nothing new, considering that AMD’s 50xx series of graphics cards were downright infamous for being plagued with driver issues for much of their lifespan. Even their new 60xx series have been steadily increasing their performance through constant driver updates.
Given this trend, it remains a reasonable assumption that even if Intel’s cards aren’t at their advertised performance, it’s feasible that they could get there given time—though most would strongly advise not spending your hard-earned money on what is essentially a roll of the dice.
While the Arc GPUs rumored performance is appealing, the largest boon to consumers remains the fact that a new competitor is joining the fray.
Even with Nvidia’s 4000 series and AMD’s RDNA3 cards on the horizon, competition remains the lifeblood of the market. After all, if something similar or better is available at a similar or lower price, other manufacturers are forced to adjust their own prices, or suffer losses.
Even if you personally have no interest in Intel’s line of cards, the effects it will have on the market is still something that can’t be ignored.