Intel announced Intel Arc, a new brand of graphics technology that looks to compete with the likes of Nvidia and AMD on its own website in 2021, showcasing a video teasing what to expect from the first graphics card in the series at launch in early 2022. Since then, we've got various bits of information about the upcoming graphics card, including an update during Intel's CES 2022 presentation.

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 graphics card be released?

Intel initially confirmed that the first of many Intel Arc graphics cards, codenamed Alchemist, was set for release sometime during Q1 2022, which runs from January until March 2022. 

While Intel focused on the 12th generation Intel Adler processors at CES 2022, it did tease that the upcoming GPU has started shipping to OEMs including Asus, Acer, Dell, Samsung and MSI for inclusion in 2022 laptops and desktops, suggesting a release isn't too far away.

However, just days after the CES 2022 announcement, Intel removed all mentions of a Q1 2022 release from its Intel Arc page on its website, suggesting that the release could potentially slip later into the year. For now, we've still got our hearts set on a Q1 2022 release, but the removal means we might have to wait a little longer. 

How much will the Intel Arc graphics card 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 desktop GPU 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.

But what about laptops? It'll likely depend on available power, but with Acer teasing comparable performance to the RTX 3070 or 3080 in its upcoming Intel Arc-enabled Acer Swift X 16, we could be looking at fairly mid- to high-end laptop prices. 

If Intel manages to somehow circumvent the shortages and can get enough stock ready for launch, 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.

The company shared a second update at its InnovatiON event in late October, confirming that the upcoming graphics card will pack 32 Xe Cores, with each Xe core packing 16 Vector Engines and 16 Matrix Engines for a total of 512 Execution Units (EUs) overall. 

As mentioned earlier, the graphics card will support top-end features including raytracing, AI supersampling (dubbed XeSS), 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.

We got our first look at Intel XeSS - the company's answer to DLSS and FSR - at InnovatiON, with the company showcasing the tech running on survival game The Riftbreaker. While there wasn't a frame rate counter present on the short demo, the AI-powered upscaled 4K image certainly had more detail than the standard upscaled image. 

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.

Related content