Finally, there’s some news about the Intel Arc Alchemist release date, but not the kind that anyone outside of Nvidia and AMD really wanted to hear: Arc Alchemist and Battlemage might just get the ax due to unrecoverable hardware flaws hampering their performance, and that threatens them with line scrap. Fully discrete Intel Arc graphics.
This report comes from YouTuber Moore’s Law is Dead (Opens in a new tab)a game full of internal politics, bitterness, and mutual accusations at Intel over the inability of the company’s graphics unit to offer the discrete graphics cards it has been promoting for over a year.
I highly suggest you watch the video for All the Tea, but the main idea is that internal sources at Intel told Moore’s Law is Dead that there is a potential non-recoverable hardware defect in the Arc Alchemist GPU that the GPU was hoping to address with a fix. driver, but this fix does not work. This is a hardware challenge, reportedly, and may extend to Battlemage as well. If true, it would surely explain why the Intel Arc launch was so weird.
When things get really messy, the Intel Arc graphics unit has been doing the PR for the Arc Alchemist cards that Intel told investors investors were going to launch in Western markets by the end of the second quarter of this year. Now we’re in Q3, the cards haven’t been released, and Intel outsiders are angry that the GPU is doing PR saying the cards are ready when they don’t look ready at all.
Moreover, there appear to be issues with Intel AIB partners who, according to a leaked presentation, lined up to produce Intel Arc cards starting at the end of July. Moore’s Law is Dead says that none of the board partners he spoke with had any idea what was going on, and that AIBs were not at all happy with the situation.
Finally, cue Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who is said to be now looking into whether the Arc discrete graphics project should be scrapped entirely. Highlighting Moore’s Law is Dead in the video, there were some strong hints of that frustration during Intel’s earnings call this week as Gelsinger acknowledged the disappointing earnings and said that while the global chip shortage remains a huge problem, “implementation” issues from Intel’s side, Intel also contributed to Intel’s failure to meet its second-quarter earnings forecast (Opens in a new tab).
So, this is Moore’s Law report on death, and we haven’t independently confirmed anything ourselves, although we’ve reached out to Intel for comment and will update this story if and when we hear back from the company.
So when exactly will we see these cards? Friend request
It’s still too early to tell exactly what’s going on with Intel Arc, but Moore’s Law is Dead report doesn’t come out of thin air. The Intel Arc Alchemist was more than a month late from its US launch target, and the number of cards we’ve seen in the wild has been strangely inconsistent, with performance throttling from individual lines of code to Intel’s first scraper tool The discrete graphics card was due to launch in China and India first.
It’s fair that these are two of the biggest consumer markets in the world, and China has more than enough tech heads who want some Intel cards too, but there’s no way to get rid of the uneasy feeling about all of this. This doesn’t sound like a well-planned product launch, and a recent PR appearance by some Intel reps in the graphics card team always fails to answer the question everyone is asking, which is when are these cards released?
Sure, it’s available in China and India, so it’s technically “outside”, but I mean globally. This is a question that Intel doesn’t seem to answer right now, and it’s unfortunate that there is.
Budget builders can’t get a break
Earlier this week, I wrote about the problem of semiconductor manufacturers like Nvidia, AMD, and yes, Intel, seeking increasingly more powerful hardware in an arms race with competitors and how that has very real consequences in the real world. The wholesale abandonment of any pretense toward energy efficiency in all but the simplest Chromebook processors is annoying.
Not bad but still terrible is the pricing of an increasing number of people, mostly gamers but also academics and researchers who really need high-performance GPUs for scientific work, and who are simply not the target consumers of these cards anymore.
There are rumors that Nvidia’s RTX 4090, when launched later this year, will cost less than the RTX 3090. That’s a good start, but the RTX 3090 costs $1,499. Will the RTX 4090 cost $1,449? 1299 dollars? Do you know what else costs $1,499? 3 credit hour postgraduate course at City University of New York – Brooklyn College. The cost of the RTX 3090 was outrageous, frankly, at its launch, and still is.
It used to be that you relied on AMD to come up with a low-cost option for the rest of us who can’t afford a GeForce card anymore, but that ship is sailing too. There’s still value to be found among the graphics cards out there, which is why the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti is at the top of our list of best graphics cards, but that herd is dwindling fairly quickly.
This was, in the end, my hope for Intel Arc. As a newcomer in the graphics card cold war between Nvidia and AMD, there was room for Intel to sweep up with a solid budget for a low-midrange lineup and clean up this cost-conscious market. I hope Moore’s Law is Dead turns out to be completely wrong with this, but it seems somewhat questionable to all gamers who have stuck with older hardware like the RTX 1050 and AMD RX 470.
If Intel ends up suspending or canceling Arc altogether, it would be a real blow to budget-conscious gamers and builders, and using the budget side of things could really be a solid win these days.