Intel Arc desktop GPUs could be delayed – by quite some time

Intel Arc Alchemist GPU
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Arc desktop GPUs could be delayed until later in August, or that’s the latest word from the rumor mill.

Obviously take this with some skepticism, but if Alchemist graphics cards don’t arrive until August, then that’s somewhat disappointing, as Intel has recently said that its promised Q2 launch will be realized – meaning June at the latest.

Granted, later in August is a worst-case scenario going by the rumors piped through from Igor’s Lab, but the leaker’s sources seem to be fairly certain that the Arc desktop cards will be delayed – it’s just a question of how far they’ll slip, with some feeling that we could be looking at early July rather than August.

So, we might be talking about just a week or two of additional waiting, or maybe more like a delay of a month or so, or even two months.

The reason? As you might guess, the potential delay is likely due to Intel’s graphics driver still needing to be fine-tuned for the kind of performance gamers will expect when Arc products debut for desktop PCs.

Analysis: Drivers are proving problematic? It’s a possibility…

As Tom’s Hardware, which spotted this, points out, Intel recently missed its scheduled deadline for an Arc driver update, and this, to some extent, backs up the natural assumption that the Arc desktop driver is proving the delaying factor here. After all, the hardware must surely be nailed at this stage of the game, you’d think, and the rumor mill believes this to be the case.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, Intel obviously realizes how crucial it is to get the launch driver right when it comes to the new discrete GPUs, because a failure here could leave a lasting bad taste in the mouth of gamers in terms of the perception of the Arc brand – which just isn’t something Team Blue can risk when beginning this new venture to take on two very well-established desktop powers, AMD and Nvidia.

On the other hand, with GPU prices already dropping to MSRP levels – and predicted to maybe even dip below that soon enough – Intel is kind of missing the prime window for it to make a big splash with Arc.

Given the widely differing nature of the speculation from the unspecified sources that Igor’s Lab has been chatting to, it seems that things are still very much up in the air regarding the launch timeframe. A slight delay would be no shock, really; remember that Intel only just made its Q1 promise for the Arc laptop GPU launch – with products not available initially, either, and the first notebooks only going on sale in Korea. Given this, there has been an acceptance of the likelihood that when Intel says Q2 for desktop Arc, the chip giant means the very end of June.

It’d hardly be a big deal if that slipped, then, to the beginning of July, so we shouldn’t start to become overly concerned yet – but the general vibe of a delay is still something of a worry when some rumor peddlers are now mentioning August for the possible extent of the slippage.

Note that there is some confusion around recent speculation, mind, as we also just heard about the possibility of Intel pushing out the first Alchemist desktop graphics cards – mid-range and budget models – at the end of May or in early June, which just goes to show that we have to apply liberal condiments to all of this chatter from the GPU grapevine.

From what Igor’s Lab is saying though – and we’d be inclined to trust their sources more – an early launch sounds unlikely, although it could be the case that we get a ‘paper’ launch (maybe at Computex, which is at the end of May), followed by an on-sale date much later (as seen with laptops toting Arc GPUs, of course).

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).