Intel won’t be troubling Nvidia this year, because the Arc A780 GPU never existed

The Intel Arc logo against a blue and purple backdrop
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Arc GPUs are slowly rolling out around the world, and with the initial launch in China now in Team Blue’s rear-view mirror, speculation is rife about where and when we’ll see the Arc graphics cards next. Most of what we’ve seen so far has been about the Arc A3 series; cheaper, lower-powered cards to compete with budget offerings from Nvidia and AMD.

But of course, the most exciting GPUs are always the most powerful ones, so the Arc A7 series has been quite hotly-anticipated, with speculation that Intel’s ACM-G10 GPU die would do battle with Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series. But it turns out that the expected Arc A780, which would’ve been the most powerful Arc GPU, was never going to be released.

Ryan Shrout, who handles Intel’s graphics marketing, has confirmed via Twitter that there isn’t an incoming A780 card - and not only that, but he also claims that Intel never even had plans to make one.

This means that the top-end offering of the initial wave of Arc GPUs will be the A770 and A750, which have been officially announced and are believed to compete with the RTX 3060 (although exact specs have not yet been published). Intel showed off these cards recently, revealing a minimalist reference design with two fans, but we’ve yet to see them properly in action.

Opinion: Nvidia really doesn’t need to worry about Intel now

Currently, the only discrete desktop GPU Intel has on sale is the budget Arc A380. We know that the A770 and A750 are coming; driver leaks also suggest that we’ll see an A580 and a low-profile A310. It’s not an especially impressive list, and the absence of an Arc A780 to combat Nvidia’s excellent RTX 3070 is a blow.

It’s no secret that Intel has had difficulties in getting the Arc series off the ground; delays due to COVID-19 and the global chip shortage slowed things down massively, and even after release the Arc A380 encountered performance issues. There’s no public roadmap - to me, it seems like Intel doesn’t have much of a plan.

Although there’s no way to confirm this, I personally suspect that Shrout’s statement might contain a half-truth. It seems unlikely that Intel had never planned to make an RTX 3070 competitor; even if it wasn’t going to be called the A780, to target the RTX 3060 as the highest end of your new GPU range feels a bit weak. It’s possible that Intel simply realized that they couldn’t squeeze enough performance out of the ACM-G10 GPU to compete with Nvidia’s more powerful cards.

To top it all off, Intel now really needs to get these desktop GPUs out the door fast. Nvidia’s Lovelace and AMD’s RDNA 3 next-gen graphics cards are expected to launch as early as September, so Intel desperately needs to complete its first-gen Arc rollout within the next month or so if it wants to secure any significant amount of market share.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.