If you were looking forward to the release of Intel Arc desktop graphics cards this summer, we have some disappointing news to report. According to an Intel blog post attributed to Vice President and General Manager for the Visual Compute Group Lisa Pearce, Intel's long-awaited graphics cards have been delayed due to software snags and supply chain troubles. As things stand, most of the world won't begin to see Arc desktop GPUs hitting the market until late summer.
Arc mobile GPUs for laptops are releasing a little sooner than their bigger, beefier desktop card siblings, but those of us in the U.S. are still in for a wait. Samsung has already begun selling the first laptops with Intel graphics cards before the devices see global distribution, and while Intel partners like Lenovo, Acer, HP and Asus have announced laptops with Intel Arc 3 graphics, those have been delayed and are only beginning to become broadly available this month. Notebooks with the more powerful Intel Arc 5 and Arc 7 GPUs should become available this summer.
As for the more exciting desktop GPUs, Intel plans to release its entry-level Intel Arc A-series (A3) products for desktops in China through system builders and OEMs in the second quarter (aka summer) of this year. Intel claims that proximity to board components and strong demand make China the natural starting point for the rollout of its desktop cards, which will continue throughout the year.
The more powerful Intel Arc A5 and A7 desktop GPUs will begin to roll out worldwide later, in late summer, but again they'll go first to OEMs and system builders. If you want to buy one for your personal rig, you may well be waiting until fall.
As The Verge notes, this staggered launch approach allows Intel to focus on making GPUs work with a select number of other components used by OEMs instead of what regular customers may use. Considering how Arc GPUs will go head-to-head against the established Nvidia and AMD line of graphics cards, this cautious approach makes sense.
With that said, Intel missed a major opportunity to have the desktop GPU field effectively to itself. Had Arc graphics cards for PCs begun launching this summer as intended, they wouldn’t have faced much competition in the way of new graphics cards from Intel's rivals. However, given the reported fall release of AMD Ryzen 7000 and Nvidia RTX 40 series GPUs, Intel Arc cards won’t have such a luxury when they launch in late summer or early fall. This is potentially bad news for Intel, but perhaps good news for consumers if it means having three major GPU manufacturers pushing supply into the market makes it easier to obtain graphics cards.