Intel has already shaken up the world of mobile graphics with its first batch of Arc Alchemist GPUs for laptops, so there have been high hopes for the desktop versions to arrive with a bang.
But it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer, as the discreet graphics cards that had been tipped to launch this month. Yet now, according to information from Igor's Lab (opens in new tab), the Arc desktop GPUs won't arrive until the summer, likely later on in the season.
Apparently driver problems have meant that the Arc graphics cards now have a vague launch window of July 1, 2022 to August 31, 2022.
Where expecting to see a whole range of Arc graphics cards when the launch does take place from the top-of-the-range A780, aimed at completing with the best cards from Nvidia and AMD, to the A380 and A750 cards that are supposed to be in the same ballpark as Nvidia’s GTX 1650 and RTX 3060, respectively, and Wccftech (opens in new tab) predicts pricing to match with MSRPs of around $150 and $350.
Two big hurdles for Intel Arc Alchemist
There are, of course, two elephants in the room that we need to confront.
The first is that, as anybody who has tried to buy an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in 2022 will know, MSRP doesn’t bear much relation to the price on store shelves. The great chip shortage has hit graphics cards especially hard, and even now it’s pretty hard to find Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 stock — even with the GeForce RTX 40 series that are reportedly just around the corner.
As such, MSRP estimates may well mean nothing if demand remains high. True, the signs are that this won't be the case of much longer, but things can change rapidly as the last few years have told us. Though it's worth noting that Intel has its own chip foundries, so could bypass the some of the challenges that AMD and Nvidia have encountered.
The second is that while we talk in vague terms about equivalent cards for the benefit of the reader, early signs from Intel’s laptop GPUs suggest that the company has a long way to go for game performance to be on quite the same page. When compared with the mobile GTX 1650, the A370M was about 15-20% weaker in every benchmark.
True, we're talking about only one chipset for laptops so far. And no doubt there's plenty of room for improvement with driver optimization.
All the same, anybody searching for a desktop GPU would do well to wait and see how the Intel Arc Alchemist performs in the real world before putting down any money — especially if the MSRP turns out to be pure fantasy when faced with the brutal realities of real-world supply and demand.