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Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs – all the info on the A-series cards

Add another part member to your D&D group with an Alchemist GPU

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Looking for the best GPU you really only have two options to choose between, AMD or Nvidia. That may change with the introduction of Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs. An addition to the marketplace that can bring even more competitiveness and more stock to choose from. Which, in the current market situation would be highly appreciated.

The Nvidia AMD fight has been tougher than ever with the RTX 30 series trading blows with the RX 6000 series. Competition is tight so it’s great for consumers with the two pushing each other to give the best. But a third competitor would also provide another choice and something different, with its own stock injection and hopefully performance.

The performance of the cards may not be directly related to the other options but it will be their first installment in a long line of architectures. With their already mobile knowledge, they shouldn’t be starting from scratch so should be able to get up there for the most part. So let’s find out what we know so far.

Intel ARC Alchemist GPU

What is Intel Arc Alchemist?

Intel ARC is the companies venture into ‘graphics solutions’ ranging from hardware, software, and services. Suggesting it will not only be providing graphics cards but also another solution. Potentially the sort of feature Nvidia has with Geforce Now with users not required to buy hardware to use.

Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs are the first nicknamed graphics card selection to be released. With the likes of Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid planned for years to come. A naming choice sounding like Intel is preparing a D&D party to fight the GPU market. However, it signifies its dedication to providing support and products for many years to come.

The cards are not planning to hold back and aim to become a popular choice. They will feature plenty of the current features so that they don’t start at a disadvantage. With Alchemist containing Xe Super Sampling, Deep Link, and Ray Tracing. Setting itself up to be a direct competitor to anything out there now.

Intel ARC roadmap
Intel ARC multi-year roadmap

Intel ARC alchemist GPUs specifications

Alchemist aims to provide the same features as what the market currently has to offer. Based on the Xe-HPG (high-performance graphics) microarchitecture it promises breakthrough performance and capabilities. Built with Xe-cores featuring 16 vector engines, and 16 matrix engines, with 256 and 1024 bits respectively per engine.

To keep up with the current market, Alchemist also features ray tracing units. With full support for DirectX and Vulkan so as not to lose out on anything to start with. This is also true for featuring Xe Super Sampling. Intel’s own AI-enhanced upscaling is a competitor to Nvidia’s DLSS more than AMD’s FSR tech. Using processing to reduce the effect on the lower quality image being upscaled. As well as featuring Intel Deep Link Technology, which aims to harness the power of a combined Intel CPU and GPU. So like Resizable BAR and Smart Access Memory, aiming to boost performance to sticking to one ecosystem.

Intel Xe core
Intel Xe Core architecture

Recently, TechPowerUp has reported on leaks that show off the likely lineup of cards and their specs. 

Intel A300Nvidia RTX 3050AMD RX 6500 XT
Compute units128 EUs2,560 CUDA16 CUs
Shaders1,0242,5601,024
Memory size6 GB8 GB4 GB
Memory speed14 Gbps14 Gbps18 Gbps
Memory bus width96-bit128-bit64-bit
Intel A500Nvidia RTX 3060AMD RX 6700 XT
Compute units384 EUs3584 CUDA40 CUs
Shaders3,0723,5842,560
Memory size12 GB12 GB12 GB
Memory speed16 Gbps15 Gbps16 Gbps
Memory bus width192-bit192-bit192-bit
Intel A700Nvidia RTX 3070AMD RX 6800 XT
Compute units512 EUs5888 CUDA72 CUs
Shaders4,0965,8884,608
Memory size16 GB8 GB16 GB
Memory speed16 Gbps14 Gbps16 Gbps
Memory bus width256-bit256-bit256-bit

Compute units are hard to compare as each architecture has its own build and arrangement. It’s merely used to compare numbers and improvements between each card. Overall, looking at the comparisons, Intel looks to be aiming its cards at the lower end. It does have fast and large amounts of VRAM which can help with higher resolutions.

If the performance matches the specs of the other cards it can be a promising release. The GPUs are good alternatives for the current market which is lacking stock and with high prices. Especially in Intel CPU builds that will benefit from their linking.

Alchemist Benchmarks

Further leaks from SiSoftware show some performance benchmarks of the Arc A380 in more synthetic hardware tests with OpenCL. There’s no gaming performance as of yet and will be expected closer to release when reviewers and benchmarkers can get their hands on them. Where there will inevitably be leaks on such a hot product.

From these early metrics, the card seems to trade blows with the RX 6500 XT and nips at the RTX 3050 and GTX 1660 Ti. Aiming towards the entry-level cards of the current generation. Which, if the price and performance can still be competitive will give Intel a fighting chance.

Intel GPU pricing

There is no news on the pricing of the Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs as of yet. Given that this is Intel’s first discrete add-in card there is no historical data to go off of either, like our speculation on the RTX 4000 series.

If the leaked specs and performance are to be used as a benchmark, then we can expect competitive pricing in that range. The first on the lineup is the A300 family, which we compare to the RTX 3050 and RTX 6500 XT. These have MSRP of $249 and $199 respectively. For the A500 series, we compare it to the RTX 3060 and RX 6700 XT, which are supposed to retail for $329 and $479. Lastly, the A700, which are shown against RTX 3070 and RX 6800 XT. They cost $499 and $649 respectively providing a large range of potential pricing.

Given no certain details, we imagine the pricing of the Intel GPUs to be competitive with the current market. Close to the price of its competitors in the range of $250 for the low end up to a potential $500 for the higher end. They already have DG1 GPUs selling in the range of $90-$100 in China. We hope they can fight off the reason graphics cards are expensive.

Intel Arc Alchemist release date

Update: In a recent community post, Intel has said the desktop release is going to be delayed to the late summer. They will be releasing the A3 entry cards to Chinese OEMs and system integrators by the end of Q2. With retail following after. Whilst the rest of us waiting for a few more months for the same fate for the A5 and A7 higher models. The release is staggered in hopes of a better supply. But puts the release close to next-gen, competition that may prove too hard for the lineup that hoped to fight current GPUs.

In its original announcement, Intel suggested a release of Q1 2022. However, as the term drew closer, there was no news on a date and lots of rumors of delays. It was only in a tweet in mid-February that they confirmed that the desktop ARC GPUs will arrive in Q2. In a recent rumor from Igor’s lab, there is a suggestion that the high-end SKUs will be coming sometime in May.

Intel Arc Alchemist GPU release date
Intel ARC release date and GPU

There was no mention of the reasoning for the delay. But more than likely a sufferer of the chip shortage and delays in getting their supply. The die isn’t yet produced in Intel’s own fabs but also utilizes TSMC’s 6 nm process. Requiring it to fight for its allotment along with all its competitors.

Stock availability

Also in the announcement, Intel expects AXG to ship more than 4 million discrete GPUs in 2022. Not mentioning if those are specifically added in GPUs or if laptops and workstations also count in that target. A report suggests the overall GPU market had shipped 37 million AIBs in the first three quarters of 2021. Extrapolated it would suggest just under 50 million cards shipped through the whole year. So if shipping were to be the same for 2022 (unlikely with new GPU releases around) and Intel managed 4 million it would hold a 13.5% market share. 

If they achieve their target it will become a considerable feat and market entry. With a good supply for a starving market, it can find itself in an advantageous position.

Intel ARC Alchemist GPU
Leaked Intel Alchemist ARC GPU, Source: Videocardz

Arc Alchemist mobile GPUs

Intel has first announced its mobile lineup of Intel ARC Alchemist graphics cards. Bringing Intel’s own upgraded graphics solution over integrated graphics. Which will lead them to release its discrete lineup coming in the summer of 2020.

Overview

Overall there is still a lot of information to be released on the Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs graphic cards. With the release in the first half of 2022, we can expect plenty of news soon enough. We’ll be sure to keep the updates fresh and coming to keep you on top. The release will be an exciting one with Intel giving us a breath of fresh air in the same old market.

Product Benchmarker and Writer AT WEPC

Sebastian Kozlowski

After taking apart and tinkering with the home PC and other electronics, Seb went to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester to try and explore everything in parts. After he graduated he realised how different the adult world was and decided to pursue work in the tech industry after spending too much time playing games (mostly CS:GO), keeping up with everything tech, and being everyone's go-to for PCs.

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