Intel will release its pair of high-end Arc A7 graphics cards “very soon”, and Team Blue will also let us know some truths about these GPUs, including how performance will compare to Nvidia.
All this comes from recent interviews conducted by PC gaming hardware (opens in new tab) (a German technology site) and Digital Foundry (opens in new tab) (Eurogamer), with Tom Petersen and Ryan Shrout of Intel (as VideoCardz (opens in new tab) flagged).
Intel has shared a number of interesting things about what’s happening with Arc desktop GPUs, confirming that the upcoming Alchemist graphics cards – the high-end A770 and A750 offerings, which will join the budget A380 that already exists – will be here. “very soon”, maybe later this month.
There will be Intel reference boards, available directly from the Team Blue website, and custom boards from third-party board manufacturers will be released at the same time. The launch will incorporate “key” countries, one of which will be Germany (so this time it won’t just be Asia for an extended period).
When the flagship A770 does debut, will launch at a performance level roughly between Nvidia’s RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti graphics cards, with the A750 being roughly equivalent to the RTX 3060.
Of course, as Petersen points out in the Digital Foundry interview, the type of performance you’ll get will vary considerably between games depending on a number of factors (with one notable element being poorer performance with DX11 titles, a much talked about point. lately, compared to DX12 or Vulkan). But still, these are the rough performance guidelines to expect (on the AMD front, by the way, we’re talking about halfway between the Radeon RX 6600 and the RX 6650 XT for the A770).
Another topic covered, in terms of performance, is Intel’s Arc GPUs’ heavy reliance on ReBAR (Resizable BAR, a PCIe feature that allows the CPU to gain full access to the GPU’s memory for considerable framerate boosts). There is a recognized issue for older PCs without ReBAR support, and Intel is working on driver optimizations to help these systems, which suffer a huge loss in performance with Arc GPUs due to the lack of this feature.
Review: A refreshing move from Intel that gives us some hope
What’s refreshing about these Intel-transmitted nuggets is Petersen’s honesty. For example, we just mentioned the thorny ReBAR support issue, and while Intel is really working on optimizing for older PCs in that regard, for now, Petersen advises those users to simply go with GPU rivals from Intel, AMD or Nvidia. This kind of open and frank commentary is a topic of interviews here, which is nice to see.
Petersen freely admits that regarding the delay of the desktop GPU Arc release, while there were supply issues that slowed things down, the issues mostly revolved around ensuring game compatibility and a good experience for buyers in terms of that. And yes, with thousands of popular games out there, this would always be a headache.
Intel must have known this, of course, but reading between the lines, it was perhaps considerably more of a headache than anticipated, hence the prolonged delays.
What’s also become clear here is that the performance levels of the Arc graphics cards won’t line up for a big boost with the additional tweaking of the graphics drivers, but what we can expect is much better compatibility across a range of games and a better experience. general – this is mainly what Intel continues to try to define now.
So the bottom line is that Intel won’t up the ante on performance, and with next-gen GPUs on the horizon for AMD and Nvidia, the heat of competition in the graphics card arena is about to rise – seriously. The suggestion is that where Intel might compete is on price, and that’s what we expect – some high-priced A7-series desktop GPUs to take on rival products.
Petersen also points out that Intel isn’t just in it for a year, or a few years, or even a decade – it wants to be a player in the graphics card space for a long, long time, and as the months go by, we can expect those riders get better and better and in better shape overall.
While the release of Arc Alchemist has been pretty disappointing so far, what isn’t disappointing is Intel’s attitude here, and it gives us some hope for a brighter, more competitive GPU world where three players are fighting rather than a duopoly.