Rumor mill: Intel’s window of opportunity for gaining some momentum on the desktop GPU market is closing, and the company knows it. Industry insiders claim Team Blue has been reaching out to its supply chain partners to accelerate the launch of its desktop Arc A-series GPUs. And best of all, the pricing could be low enough to steal some thunder from rivals Nvidia and AMD, at least in the mainstream performance segment.
In less than a week, AMD will make one last push for the RDNA 2 generation of GPUs 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 more than a month ago are missing in action.
Intel’s official release window for desktop Arc GPUs is the “end of Q2,” so given the paper launch of the mobile versions, you’d expect the same to happen with the rest of the Alchemist family. In other words, Intel could announce the new products in June and allow a few months for them to trickle down through various release channels.
However, new reports suggest 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 to May 27. Several industry insiders from Taiwan claim that Intel wants to ride the wave of media coverage surrounding the Computex trade show, where multiple announcements are expected from companies like AMD, Arm, Asus, IBM, Microsoft, MSI, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Supermicro, Zotac, Acer, Gigabyte, and Kioxia.
Intel has yet to settle on 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 break cover in late June and hit the market in July, while the flagship Arc A780 model would land sometime in the August — September timeframe.
Keeping the high-end Intel Arc Limited Edition graphics card for later does present some challenges as there will be no halo effect to engulf the rest of the lineup. At the same time, Intel will be launching its desktop Arc GPUs when GPU pricing and availability are improving considerably every month.
Judging by early benchmarks, the performance of the upcoming desktop Arc GPUs will be nothing spectacular, so asking for a premium over equivalent offerings from Nvidia and AMD would be a mistake. The latest rumors point to MSRPs ranging from $150 for the Arc A380 (RX 6500 XT/GTX 1650-like performance) to $350 for the Arc A750 (RX 6600XT/RTX 3060-like performance).
If true, this could be a boon for gamers who can’t wait for next-gen lineups from Nvidia and AMD and are perfectly happy with running modern games at 1080p and medium-high details. It could also be argued that Intel missed an opportunity by waiting this long to launch its desktop graphics cards. However, the slow driver development suggests Team Blue has likely hit a snag or two in the software department.