Rumor Factory: Intel’s window of opportunity to gain momentum in the desktop GPU market is closing, and the company knows it. Industry insiders say that Team Blue has reached out to its supply chain partners to speed up the launch of its desktop Arc A-series GPUs. And best of all, the price could be low enough to steal the show from rivals Nvidia and AMD, at least in the core performance segment.
In less than a week, AMD will give the RDNA 2 GPU generation one last push with updated RX 6000-series graphics cards. Meanwhile, Intel has been scrambling to get its desktop Arc Alchemist GPUs ready, but even the laptop versions announced over a month ago are not in action.
Intel’s official release window for desktop Arc GPUs is “end of Q2”, so given the paper release of the mobile versions, I’d expect the rest of the Alchemist family to do the same. In other words, Intel could announce the new products in June and wait a few months for them to filter through various release channels.
However, new reports suggest that Team Blue is exploring the idea of a reveal at Computex, which will host a mix of in-person and online events from May 24-27. Several Taiwanese industry insiders say that Intel wants to ride the wave of media coverage surrounding the Computex trade show, where multiple announcements are expected from companies including AMD, Arm, Asus, IBM, Microsoft, MSI, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Supermicro, Zotac, Acer, Gigabyte and Kioxia.
Intel has yet to agree the details with its partners, but the idea is to announce the Arc A580 and Arc A750 graphics cards later this month and have them on sale in early June. The entry-level Arc A380 would be released in late June and hit the market in July, while the flagship Arc A780 model would land sometime between August and September.
Keeping the high-end Intel Arc Limited Edition graphics card for later presents some challenges, as there won’t be a halo effect engulfing the rest of the lineup. At the same time, Intel will launch its desktop Arc GPUs when GPU prices and availability improve considerably each month.
Judging by early benchmarks, the performance of upcoming desktop Arc GPUs won’t be anything spectacular, so asking for a premium over equivalent offerings from Nvidia and AMD would be a mistake. Latest rumors point to MSRPs ranging from $150 for the Arc A380 (performance similar to RX 6500 XT / GTX 1650) to $350 for the Arc A750 (performance similar to RX 6600XT / RTX 3060).
If true, this could be a boon for gamers who can’t wait for Nvidia and AMD’s next-gen lineups and are perfectly happy running modern games at 1080p and medium-high details. One could also argue that Intel missed an opportunity by waiting so long to release their desktop graphics cards. However, the slow development of drivers suggests that Team Blue has probably had a snag or two in the software department.