AMD and Nvidia are your only options right now if you want the best discrete graphics card. With the advent of Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs however, this may change. A new entrant to the market with the potential to raise the level of competition and provide consumers with more options. So it’d be a great help right now, given the state of the market.
What Is Intel Arc Alchemist?
It is Intel‘s first foray into “discrete graphics solutions,” which include hardware, software, and services. The implication is that other solutions will be provided in addition to the graphics cards, such as a “cloud gaming” service, a function similar to Nvidia’s “GeForce Now” that does not necessitate the purchase of specialized hardware could be in the works.
The Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs are the first discrete graphics cards from Intel with nicknames. Intel’s multi-year roadmap showed four GPU codenames, Alchemist being the first generation which will be available in the near future followed by Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid for the second, third and fourth generation respectively for the coming years. Intel has chosen the codenames that make it sound like it’s planning a D&D party to take on the GPU market. It does, however, represent the company’s commitment to continuing to provide service and products for many years to come.
However, some early rumors state that Battlemage in 2023 will be when Intel will truly take a shot at the high-end GPU market, going up against GPUs codenamed Ada Lovelace from NVIDIA and RDNA 3 from AMD.
The cards have no intention of being reserved, and they intend to become a popular option. On the launch, they will have a lot of features that are currently available on NVIDIA and AMD, so that they won’t be at a disadvantage from the start. Xe Super Sampling (XeSS), Deep Link, and Ray Tracing are all available in Alchemist. It’s positioning itself to be a direct rival to whatever that’s already available.
How Powerful Will Intel Arc Alchemist Be?
It looks that some of the best gaming laptops on the market will soon be powered by Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs, in addition to what is presently available. Intel Arc Alchemist has been reported to be as powerful as RTX 3070 Ti, although this claim hasn’t been officially confirmed. Alleged specifications suggest that the new GPU will have 4,096 GPU cores, 16GB GDDR6, and a boosted clocks of 2.2 to 2.5 GHz, as well as a 256-bit memory bus.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was running inside the ‘Beast Canyon’ compact form factor custom gaming PC at a recent Intel Investors event. It’s worth noting that this title was designed for optimal frame rates and performance using the XeSS supersampling technology, implying that the now four-year-old title will get the company’s answer to DLSS and FSR.
Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs Specs
When it comes to Alchemist’s functionality, we want to match what’s already available on the market. Based on the Xe-HPG (high-performance graphics) microarchitecture, it offers new levels of performance and capabilities. 16 vector engines and 16 matrix engines each have 256 or 1024 bits of processing power, respectively, built into the Xe-cores used.
Alchemist also has ray tracing components in order to keep up with the current market. With full support for DirectX and Vulkan so that you don’t lose out on anything at all. For Xe Super Sampling, this is likewise the case. When it comes to artificial intelligence-enhanced scaling, Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR/RSR are competitors for Intel. A technique for improving the upscaled image’s quality by applying post-processing. With Intel Deep Link Technology, which is designed to leverage the combined Intel CPU and GPU power similar to Resizable BAR and Smart Access Memory, Intel is aiming to improve performance by keeping to one ecosystem.
As each architecture has a unique design and layout, it is not easy to compare the performance of compute units from one brand/architecture to another. Though, performance should match the competition’s cards’ specifications, making this an exciting release. With limited supplies and expensive prices, GPUs from Intel is going to be a viable choice in the present marketplace. In conjunction with Intel CPUs, they are gearing up for a very strong stand.
Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs Benchmarks
According to SiSoftware, a new set of OpenCL benchmarks for the Arc A380 has been leaked. In the meanwhile, gamers will have to wait for reviews and benchmarks to see how well it performs in games—a place where leaks are inevitable on a heated product.
Based on these early benchmarks, the card appears to be a close competitor to the RX 6500 XT, with a slight advantage over the RTX 3050 and GTX 1660 Ti in gaming performance. They aimed to target the current generation’s entry-level cards. Intel will have a chance if the price and performance remain competitive.
Intel Arc Alchemist Architecture
Arc Alchemist is a high-performance graphics processor built on Intel’s Xe-HPG Microarchitecture and incorporating the company’s unique software and hardware innovations. For gamers and content creators alike, the Xe-HPG has been “designed from the ground up to deliver unprecedented performance, efficiency, and scalability.”
As previously mentioned, the Alchemist GPUs will be powered by Intel Xe-core chips with 256-bit Vector engines for graphics and compute acceleration and 1024-bit Matrix engines (also referred to as Xe Matrix extensions) for pushing AI capabilities. This technique is similar to Nvidia’s RTX CUDA and Tensor cores (for AI accelerated processes) in that it is not exactly one-to-one. These Intel-designed GPUs will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on their new N6 (6nm) process node.
Rasterization and ray tracing, as well as other fixed-function rendering techniques like geometry processing, texture sampling, and pixel processing, will be included in Intel’s Xe HPG GPUs, much as they are in the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Intel Arc Alchemist supports both DirectX 12 Ultimate and Vulkan.
The Cost of Intel GPUs
At this time, there is no word on the cost of the Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs. The Arc Alchemist series is Intel’s first discrete add-in card; hence there is no historical data to draw upon.
When using the leaked specs and performance as a standard, we can expect competitive pricing within that range. RTX 3050 and RTX 6500 XT are the closest competitors for the A300 series. These two items have MSRPs of $249 and $199, respectively. We compare the A500 series against the RTX 3060 and RX 6700 XT, which are expected to retail for $329 and $479, respectively. Finally, the A700, which is compared to the RTX 3070 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards. They are available for $499 and $649, respectively, with a wide range of pricing options.
We expect Intel’s GPUs will be priced competitively in the current market, given the lack of specifics. At a price point between $250 and $500, it’s in the same ballpark as its competitors. DG1 GPUs are already available in China for between $90-$100. We’re hoping that they’ll be able to overcome the reason why graphics cards are so pricey.
The Release Date for Intel Arc Alchemist
Intel had initially predicted a release date of Q1 2022. However, as the deadline approached, there was no word on a date yet several reports of delays. ARC desktop GPUs will come in Q2 of this year, revealed in a tweet in February. According to recent reports, high-end SKUs are rumored to be due in May from Igor’s lab.
Availability Of Stock
Discrete GPU shipments to reach more than 4 million units per year are also expected by 2022, according to the company’s release. There is no mention of whether or not those are expressly added into graphics cards or whether laptops and workstations are also included in that target list. The GPU market shipped 37 million AIBs in the first three quarters of 2021, according to research. On a year-round basis, that translates to a total of just under 50 million cards sent out. So, if Intel ships 4 million chips in 2022 and the market share stays at 13.5 percent (unlikely given the influx of new GPUs), it will have a 13.5% share.
In general, there is still a great deal of information to be revealed about the Intel ARC Alchemist-based graphic cards, which is still to come. Considering that it is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2022, we should have lots of information shortly. The debut will be exciting, as Intel will bring a breath of fresh air to a stale market with its launch.