High-performance, discrete Arc Alchemist graphics cards from Intel are expected to be released in a month. Intel’s planned performance-oriented Arc Alchemist has been delayed another further, according to Igor’s Lab. According to recent sources, this refers to the forthcoming performance models, which are expected to comprise the A700 and A500 series. The third entry into the high-performance discrete graphics cards market is now projected to occur between May 2 and June 1, 2022.
Engineering qualification samples (QS) for Intel’s Arc Alchemist aren’t scheduled to tape out for another one to two weeks, according to the source, which corresponds to the expected launch date. Meanwhile, Intel still has a long way to go in terms of driver and software support for its Arc Alchemist processors.
The company’s DG1 device was infamous for having poor compatibility issues, and there are fears that DG2 will have the same problems. However, the company’s recent failure to release day-zero drivers for From Software’s Elden Ring, despite a public promise to do so, is perhaps slightly more important. The situation hasn’t changed since then, which doesn’t bode well for the software and driver stack, which are at least as crucial as the hardware.
If Intel wants to break into the high-performance GPU market, it will have tough competition on its hands. Intel may have a competitive performance offering in its hands, even if it won’t be delivering an extreme-performance graphics card to compete with AMD’s RX 6900 XT or Nvidia’s RTX 3090, according to recent benchmark results. But AMD’s rumoured impending RX 6000 series upgrade — not to mention both AMD’s and Nvidia’s next-gen graphics cards, which are scheduled to arrive later this year, further separating both companies from Intel’s current push into the industry — might further erode Intel’s appeal.
Intel is targeting the entry-through-performance market, with rumours and roadmap inferences pointing to the debut of three distinct graphics card tiers, starting with the 128EU (1,024 shaders) A300, the 384EU (3,072 shaders) A500, and the RTX 3070/RX 6700 XT competition A700 series. Those categories, along with their estimated pricing, account for the vast majority of GPUs sold. Scaling to the high-end market is also easier than scaling to the extreme performance tier.
Intel is likely hoping to gain market dominance in the graphics area soon by attracting developer support for their hardware and software stack (we’re looking at you, XeSS). Future Arc products should help close the performance gap if all goes well, and drivers will hopefully iron out any creases in the meanwhile.