Intel’s New Arc GPUs New Arc GPUs. They are selling high-powered graphics cards for PC gaming, and this week the company put a name on that business: Intel Arc.
Arc is potentially a big deal because AMD and Nvidia have been duking it out in this market for decades, and a new challenger with Intel’s expertise and market share could seriously shake things up. Plus, the ongoing chip shortage and elevated demand making high-powered graphics cards hard to find.
The prospect of Intel launching its own line of high-end GPUs could offer some relief to PC game enthusiasts exhausted by the hunt for restocks of popular cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 or the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT.
Intel’s New Arc GPUs with great power
Intel Arc is the new brand for their upcoming desktop and notebook high-performance graphics cards. Like other Intel brands, Intel Arc will host an array of Intel hardware, software, and services aimed at the enthusiast graphics market.
Hitherto, Intel’s upcoming desktop graphics card based on their Xe high-performance graphics microarchitecture has only been known by its “DG2” moniker.
It will carry the codename “Alchemist” and be the first generation of the Arc line of graphics cards. Future generations on Intel’s discrete GPU roadmap have revealed the codenames Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid. Desktops and notebooks featuring the new Intel Arc graphics solutions will reportedly hit retail markets in Q1 2022.
Before today’s formal announcement, the graphics architecture that will arrive with Alchemist has previously been known as DG2. The GPUs built on this architecture will be available in laptop and desktop variants, with Intel promising to compete with existing gaming GPU leaders AMD and NVIDIA.
“.Today marks a key moment in the graphics journey we started just a few years ago. The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere.
We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year,” said Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions.
Intel has previously confirmed that Xe HPG will support hardware ray tracing and GDDR6 memory. A third-party foundry will manufacture GPUs. The new promo videos show variable-rate shading, mesh shading, video upscaling, and AI-accelerated game supersampling. The gameplay demos included Forza Horizon 4, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Psychonauts 2, Riftbreaker, Crysis Remastered, Metro Exodus, though details of the test environment and settings used were not immediately available.
Intel has been working on graphics for several years now and promised to ship discrete GPUs by 2020. It will take on Nvidia and AMD, which have enjoyed a duopoly until now. However, the GPU market has been shaken up of late by huge demand from cryptocurrency miners and a global microprocessor manufacturing shortage driving prices up.
No specifications or prices have been announced yet, and it is also not yet known how many models there will be in each generation or which segments of gamers Intel will target. Intel has also not yet named retail graphics card vendor partners or OEM brands to ship laptops and PCs with these GPUs.
The company hired AMD’s former Radeon graphics chief Raja Koduri and several other high-profile industry names. The Xe architecture and branding are intended to scale from integrated GPUs to datacentres and high-performance exascale computing implementations.
The Bottom Line
Intel also provided a hype video to go along with today’s announcement that you can see in the embed above. The clip features an assortment of PC games that are said to be running directly on Arc hardware. Each of the games shown is known to be rather a hardware intensive and running smoothly at settings that appear to be set as high as possible or somewhere in the neighborhood.
At the end of the clip, we see what appears to be a real-time demo made for the Intel silicon that depicts some robotic figure slumped in a pile of trash and then standing in front of heavy equipment. The clip appears to be using ray-traced reflections and other high-end features. If Intel is set on making a dent in the discrete GPU market, it would seem that they came prepared to play.
At CES 2020, Intel showed off its DG1 demo card, which was circulated only to developers. It launched the Iris Xe Max discrete GPU for notebooks in late 2020, and the Xe architecture has also been used for integrated GPUs across some recent Intel Core CPUs.
Intel recognizes over three billion gamers worldwide, many of whom are power users, content creators, and multitaskers. Over one billion hours of gaming content were published to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other platforms, and then watched over 28 billion hours of that last year.
We’ll know more about the new Arc graphics lineup, including information on specific SKUs, memory configuration, power consumption, and more as the teased Q1 2022 release window draws closer.