As the release of Intel’s Arc Alchemist series approaches, it seems like every day brings a new piece of information. Today brings another nugget. During a recent interview, Intel graphics colleague Tom Petersen briefly teased a desktop graphics card. For a second, a card was shown with three eight-pin PCIe power connectors.
The provocation came through a YouTube Interview with HotHardware (opens in new tab), which you can see above. We don’t know if this is a pre-production sample of just one engineering board, but it would be a little unusual to show the latter in a press interview. If a real Arc card comes with 450W of power from the PCIe connector plus another 75W through the slot, we could be looking at a hot, high-power card, even if it doesn’t use all the 525W available.
A TDP close to this level would mean that it will be comparable to a RTX 3090 Ti (opens in new tab) in energy consumption. Unless Intel has performed a miracle of breaking the market, it is unlikely that an Alchemist generation card will be able to achieve this kind of level of performance. We hope this was just a tease and that true Arc cards don’t need that kind of power.
If – and it’s a big if – Intel is able to deliver 3080 or 6800 XT class performance at around 450W, even if its performance per watt lags behind Nvidia and AMD, it could still appeal to gamers. But only if they are available at attractive prices. Of course, we’re only talking about cutting edge cards here. Entry-level and mid-tier products are where the real volume is and these markets are going to be very interesting battlegrounds.
It won’t be long until we have all the answers. Rumors point to a Launch in May or June (opens in new tab) for table-top Arc boards. For every bit of information, it’s the performance we’ve all been waiting for. No one really expects Intel to beat the competition on its first try, but if Arc cards can deliver competitive performance at various price points, have a mature driver, and deliver good performance per watt, then Intel is likely to hit its targets.
Intel marketing is on the rise (opens in new tab) as we approach the release of the cards. It’s a little different than what we see from AMD and Nvidia in particular, when we’ve barely received official acknowledgment that a new generation of cards is just around the corner. It looks like Intel is confident in the performance of its cards, or wants to generate recognition as a new market entrant, or both.
It’s the successor generations that may be competitive (opens in new tab). Intel is hard at work on its Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid generations. It is with these cards that Intel hopes to compete at the top with AMD and Nvidia. Any bets on what an ‘E’ generation card will be called? charming? Eldar? Check back in a few years.