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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Intel debuts a real Arc graphics card at its IEM 2022 tournament

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We’re still waiting for Intel to launch its long gestating Arc Alchemist series of graphics cards. There was a real flurry of leaks and information earlier in the year, but the last few weeks have been eerily quiet. That’s surely intentional on Intel’s part, as it either seeks to temper expectations, or perhaps push the launch back even further.

Recently, news around the launch of Nvidia’s RTX 40 series of cards has taken a lot of the GPU spotlight. Arc might be delayed, but it is coming, and Intel has shown an actual example of an Arc card at its Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Dallas, Texas. Twitter user @theBryceIsRt took some happy snaps of the card. 

Admittedly its just one static demo of a single card. An actual demonstration or benchmarks will have to wait for another time. In fact, given the positioning of the card we can’t even see what display outputs it has, but if you look closely, you can see six and eight pin power connectors.

Personally, I think the card looks good. It’s subtle and discrete, with no sign of rave party laser lights. I’m reminded a little of Nvidia’s RTX 20 series Founders Edition cards. The Arc card almost looks like a black FE version when looking at the fans.

Intel @ @IEMLook at what made an appearance! 👀Come by the ARC booth and check it out in action pic.twitter.com/vrscP08rHGJune 3, 2022

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We still don’t have a firm release window for desktop arc cards. Currently, August is looking likely. Intel will surely want to get desktop Arc out of the door to avoid running head first into next generation Nvidia and AMD cards later in the year. It’s believed that the hardware is all but ready, with the delay being attributed to software or driver issues. It’s no leap to say that a card is only as good as its driver.

Delays give Intel more time to iron out any kinks and perhaps allow the Siru Innovation team to contribute to driver and software development. Intel has a huge task ahead of it if it is to compete with the likes of Nvidia, with its huge software development and testing team.

Even if Intel is unable to compete with Nvidia or AMD, if its cards are priced right, and are able to offer reasonable performance per watt, then there’s definitely a market for them. Not everyone can afford or justify an RTX 3090 Ti. Mainstream gaming is where the bucks are, and a company like Intel definitely has the ability to carve off a slice of this market for itself.

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