A hot potato: Intel did more than it could chew with Arc Alchemist, but the company seems determined to get the software side of things right before flooding the market with its GPUs. Suffice to say, that wipes out the little hype built around Team Blue’s discrete GPUs, but at least the company isn’t afraid to admit that its drivers aren’t up to par with those from Nvidia and AMD.
With Arc Alchemist, Intel wanted to dive into the discrete GPU market with a bang. However, it looks like the company will miss the current window of opportunity and instead launch most of its GPUs closer to when Nvidia and AMD show off their next-gen graphics solutions.
When Intel showed off its mobile Arc GPUs, it was clear from the moderated event that things didn’t quite go according to the original timeline. In a blog post, Lisa Pearce, who is vice president and general manager of Intel’s Visual Compute Group, sought to clarify why we don’t see as many Arc GPUs in the wild and probably won’t for some time to come.
As we suspected from the relatively chaotic driver development, Intel ran into a problem in this department. This, coupled with pandemic-related factory shutdowns, has forced Intel to delay the wider rollout of its Arc mobile GPUs. Still, the company promises that more laptops with Arc 3 GPUs will be available later this month, while laptops with high-end Arc 5 and Arc 7 GPUs will arrive in June.
This is a best-case scenario, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in the weeks to come. But more importantly, gamers who have been waiting to see if Intel’s desktop Arc GPUs can live up to Nvidia and AMD‘s offerings will be disappointed. Intel’s approach with the Alchemist boards is to launch them first in China and hopefully follow them with wider availability in a few months.
In other words, Intel will test its Arc 3 desktop solutions in China with system builders, as it believes lower-end offerings are better suited to this large, price-sensitive market. Arc 5 and Arc 7 will also debut in pre-built systems worldwide in July or August, so you probably won’t find standalone desktop Arc cards until late summer.
Pearce notes that Intel chose this staggered approach to “serve our customer base effectively,” resulting in a lack of preparation in the software department that was confirmed by the lucky few who were able to test the Arc A370M and A350M GPUs from entry level of the company. . Still, these graphics solutions are showing some potential in early gaming benchmarks, so the delay might be the right move if Intel can iron out the remaining software issues within a few months.