Intel has announced Intel Arc, a new brand of graphics technology that looks to compete with the likes of Nvidia and AMD. The reveal took place on Intel’s own website, showcasing a video teasing what to expect from the first graphics card in the series at launch in early 2022.
The question is, what should we expect from the tech giant? Will it truly be a competitor to the hugely popular Nvidia RTX 30 Series and AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series? We round up all the latest Intel Arc GPU rumours right here.
What is Intel Arc?
Intel Arc is intel’s new brand of graphics technology that the company claims will span multiple generations and cover not just hardware, but software and services too.
While Intel hasn’t gone into too much detail about what that might mean, it could be a similar approach to how Nvidia not only produces graphics cards, but software like Nvidia Broadcast that take advantage of the capabilities of the graphics cards and cloud-based gaming service GeForce Now too.
High-end graphics card features like mesh shading, real-time ray tracing, AI supersampling and 4K video upscaling will all be supported by the upcoming graphics card range, as teased by Intel on its own website.
Discussing the reveal of Intel Arc, Intel VP Roger Chandler describes how the announcement "signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere" and that the team has been working hard to "deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available".
The first graphics card in the range to be released is codenamed Alchemist, but Intel has already teased product codenames – including Battlemage, Celestial and Druid – that’ll appear later, showing that Intel has a multi-year (and possibly multi-generational) plan for the GPU brand up its sleeve.
When will the first Intel Arc GPU be released?
Intel has officially confirmed that the first of many Intel Arc graphics cards, codenamed Alchemist, is set for release sometime during Q1 2022, which runs from January until March 2022.
While Intel is yet to get more specific on a potential release date, a Weibo leaker has suggested it’ll make its debut at CES 2022 in January. The claim was made before Intel even confirmed that the Intel Arc range is real, citing industry insiders as the source, and it lines up with the official Q1 2022 window so there could be something to the claim.
If that’s when the cards will be available to buy, it’s likely that Intel will provide more information on the GPU range in late 2021. Intel ON tends to happen in late October every year, making it the perfect place to at least tease, if not fully reveal, the graphics card ahead of the early 2022 release.
How much will the Intel Arc GPU cost?
This is almost impossible to predict right now; not only is this the first Intel Arc GPU to be released so there’s no prior pricing to go by, but the graphics card industry is in a state of chaos too. The ongoing shortage of components used by graphics cards makers means that stock is limited and overpriced compared to the manufacturer MSRP.
Take AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT as an example; while it has an MSRP of £419/$479, the graphics card will likely set you back around £700/$800 if you were to buy one right now – and reseller listings can be even more extortionate.
If Intel manages to somehow circumvent the shortages and can get enough stock ready for launch early next year, it could be in a good position to swoop in with a readily available graphics card at an affordable price – but we’ll have to wait and see for now.
What to expect from the Intel Arc graphics card
While Intel has confirmed the existence of the Intel Arc brand and even confirmed that several GPUs are in the works under various codenames, we don’t know a lot about what the first in the range, due for release in early 2022, will offer just yet.
One tiny morsel of information that has been provided is that it’ll be based on Intel’s XE-HPG (high-powered gaming) microarchitecture, which the company claims should help the card more efficiently compute advanced graphical features like AI-based supersampling.
As mentioned earlier, the graphics card will support top-end features including raytracing, AI supersampling, mesh shading and 4K video upscaling, which suggests they’ll be a direct competitor to Nvidia and AMD, two companies that have dominated the graphics card scene for years.
Intel also teased back in March that the first Xe HPG – now confirmed as the Intel Arc GPU – would be "20 times" faster than the original Crystal Well integrated graphics design, but we’re yet to see anything in the way of specs or benchmarks appear online.