Intel Arc desktop GPU pricing hints seem disappointing – but don’t panic yet

Intel Arc Alchemist GPU
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Arc desktop graphics cards are set to be unleashed in June, and we’ve just caught a hint of potential pricing which, on the face of it, looks disappointing news for those who were hoping that Team Blue might go for the throat of the dominant desktop duopoly. However, let’s not get carried away with any dismay (we’ll discuss why later in this story).

The clues about pricing came wrapped up in Intel’s scavenger hunt competition which was launched some time back, where the winners get a bundle of goodies including a shiny new Arc GPU (with the desktop flagship as the top prize, naturally).

Regular leaker La Frite David was one of those winners and posted the email detailing the prize on Twitter.

As you can see, the total prize value is pegged at $700 (US), which is for the bundle that carries the ‘performance’ Arc graphics card, some Arc-branded merch, and three months of PC Game Pass.

So, to get the approximate retail price of the GPU itself, we can simply guestimate and subtract the value of the other two bits of the bundle – that’s $45 for the pass, and, let’s say the same again or thereabouts for the merch goodies.

That leaves us with an approximate guess at a $600 price (that’s around £480, AU$840 – though currency conversions in the realms of GPU pricing are pretty pointless) for what should be the second-fastest Intel Arc GPU.

Rock Paper Shotgun spotted that another poster on Twitter (TheMalcore) won a flagship (‘premium’) Arc GPU bundle and again shared the estimated prize value of $900, so that would seem to suggest a price tag of $800 (around £640 / AU$1,120) for the graphics card on release.

Analysis: There are plentiful caveats around the pricing guesswork here

It’s certainly interesting to get something of a ballpark idea of pricing, but what we’ve glimpsed here could seem rather disappointing at first glance, as we mentioned at the outset. Remember, the rumor mill reckons that the flagship Arc graphics card could be roughly equal to Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti in performance terms – large heaps of condiments needed, of course – and that Team Green GPU has an MSRP of $600 (so Intel would be a third more expensive, in theory).

However, we need to take this potential Intel pricing with a great deal of caution for some obvious reasons. Firstly, the prize value is just an estimate and could overvalue (or undervalue) the bundle, perhaps by a fair bit, and we don’t know if, say, the merch might be worth more than a token amount.

Indeed, according to TheMalcore, the folks at Intel behind the scavenger hunt haven’t even decided what goodies will be included with the graphics card – again an indication that the prize value is very rough guesswork.

Furthermore, Intel probably hasn’t pinned down final pricing for these Arc GPUs just yet, as we’re still a month – or maybe almost two months – away from release. (The cards have been promised for Q2, though that could mean the very end of June, and that’s exactly what many of the more cynical gamers out there are expecting).

Given how the GPU market is changing quite rapidly right now, and prices are thankfully starting to normalize after a long period of relentless scalper-driven inflation and stock shortages, Intel will likely want to wait until the last moment to finalize pricing to slot its graphics cards competitively against AMD and Nvidia rivals.

So really, even though this appears to be a strong enough hint of pricing with Arc desktop GPUs being very close now, we really wouldn’t read much into it at all. In short, if you’re disappointed in this news, then don’t be – at the current time, it’s premature to be drawing anything other than very vague conclusions, which could easily turn out wrong.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).