Intel’s new Arc desktop graphics cards, the A770 and A750, are now tantalizingly close to their October 12 release date (a day they share with Nvidia’s RTX 4090 launch). Also taking place that day is Microsoft’s Surface showcase and the Amazon Prime Early Access sale. Don’t even talk to me about the looming specter of Black Friday.
You can expect our reviews of the Arc GPUs to land soon, but early testing from other sources has painted a mixed picture. Sure, they’re not terrible and the pricing is solid, but after such a long wait, it seems many are feeling a little disappointed that Intel’s A7 cards didn’t blow them away.
Still, Intel is not discouraged. Raja Koduri, executive VP and the man in charge of ‘Intel AXG’ (the company’s discrete graphics division), confirmed in a recent roundtable that his team are already working on the next two generations of Arc GPUs, codenamed ‘Battlemage’ and ‘Celestial’.
He’s confident that things are looking good, too. “We are in the second generation,” he stated, adding that Battlemage is “substantially better at this point in time than where Alchemist was”. While that might not be a high bar to clear, it's still good news.
Analysis: Intel could hit hard with its second-gen GPUs
While the first-gen ‘Alchemist’ Arc GPUs might have had no end of trouble in development, this is certainly reassuring to hear. Koduri was also keen to stress that the software side of the team was hard at work refining the Arc drivers, which have reportedly been shaky with the Arc A770 and A750.
“I'd just like to be clear: we're not going anywhere," said Intel’s Tom Petersen about the brand’s discrete graphics line. “The bulk of our design team is on Battlemage”. Intel is visibly aware that Nvidia and AMD are raking in cash in the discrete GPU market, and intends to become a genuine competitor. They’ll have the advantage of retrospect this time around, as well as being able to directly compare their new GPUs to next-gen offerings from
The race to be crowned the best graphics card maker is a marathon, not a sprint. Intel has already secured partnerships with Acer and Lenovo, who look to be breaking into the discrete GPU market - this is a vital step on the path to Team Blue becoming a legitimate thorn in the sides of Nvidia and AMD.
Intel’s first step with the A770 and A750 hasn’t exactly been a huge stride forward, but it’s progress. The company has a clear roadmap for its GPU arm: Battlemage comes next, followed by the third-gen Celestial and then the entirely new Druid, which will be built on ‘Xe Next’ architecture. Intel still has a long way to go, but we’re excited to see what it does next.