Finally, there’s some news about the Intel Arc Alchemist release date, but not the kind anyone outside of Nvidia and AMD really wanted to hear: Arc Alchemist and Battlemage could end up with the incorrigible hardware glitches that are hurting your performance, and is threatening to scrap Intel’s entire Arc discrete graphics lineup.
This report comes from YouTuber Moore’s law is dead (opens in new tab)and it’s a doozy, full of internal politics, bitterness and recriminations at Intel over the company’s graphics unit being unable to deliver the discrete graphics cards that have been hyped for over a year.
I suggest you watch the video for all the tea, but the main takeaway is that Intel’s internal sources told Moore’s Law is Dead that there is a potentially incorrigible hardware glitch in the Arc Alchemist GPU that the graphics unit was hoping to resolve using a bug fix. driver but this fix is not working. That’s the hardware challenge, supposedly, and it could extend to Battlemage as well. If that’s true, it would definitely explain why the Intel Arc launch was, well, weird.
Where things get really messy is that the Intel Arc graphics unit has been doing PR for the Arc Alchemist boards that Intel told investors they would launch in western markets by the end of the second quarter of this year. We’re now in Q3, the cards haven’t been released, and Intel members outside the graphics unit are annoyed that the graphics unit is doing PR saying that the cards are ready when they don’t look like they are.
Also, there are apparently issues with Intel AIB partners who, according to a supposedly leaked presentation, were lined up to produce Intel Arc boards starting in late July. Moore’s Law is dead is saying that none of the board members he’s spoken to have any idea what’s going on, and the AIBs aren’t happy about the situation.
Finally, leave Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who is reportedly now looking into whether the entire Arc discrete graphics project should be cancelled. As Moore’s Law Is Dead highlights in the video, there were strong indications of this frustration during Intel’s earnings call this week, where Gelsinger acknowledged the disappointing results and said that while global chip shortages were still an issue, problems of ” execution” by Intel also contributed to Intel falling far short of earnings expectations for the second quarter (opens in new tab).
So this is more or less the report that Moore’s Law is dead, and we have not independently confirmed anything, although we have reached out to Intel for comment and will update this story if and when we receive a response from the company.
So when exactly are we going to see these cards? asking a friend
It’s still too early to say what exactly is happening with the Intel Arc, but the Moore’s Law is Dead report isn’t coming out of nowhere. Intel Arc Alchemist is more than a month behind its expected US release date, and the handful of boards we’ve seen in the wild have been bizarrely inconsistent, with performance down from single lines of code to the head scratch that Intel’s first discrete graphics card would be released first in China and India.
Fair enough, these are two of the biggest consumer markets in the world, and China has more than enough tech heads who also want to get their hands on some Intel boards, but there’s no getting rid of an uncomfortable feeling about it all. This doesn’t seem like a well-planned product launch, and recent PR appearances by some Intel representatives on the graphics card team invariably fail to answer the question everyone is asking, when will these cards be released?
Sure, they’re available in China and India, so they’re technically “out there”, but I mean globally. That’s a question Intel can’t answer right now, and it’s a shame if there ever was one.
Budget builders can’t take a break
Earlier this week, I wrote about the problem with semiconductor makers like Nvidia, AMD and, yes, Intel, seeking out increasingly powerful hardware in an arms race with rivals, and how this is having very real real-world consequences. The complete abandonment of any pretense of energy efficiency in all but the most basic Chromebook processor is disturbing.
Not too bad, but still awful, is the price tag for a growing number of people, mostly gamers, but also academics and researchers who really need high-performance GPUs for scientific work and who are simply not the target consumers of these cards anymore.
Rumor has it that Nvidia’s RTX 4090, when it launches later this year, will cost less than the RTX 3090. It’s a good start, but the RTX 3090 costs $1,499. Will the RTX 4090 cost $1,449? $1,299? You know what else costs $1,499? A 3-credit-hour graduate course at the City University of New York-Brooklyn College. The cost of the RTX 3090 was obscene, frankly, when it was released, and still is.
In the past, you could count on AMD to offer a low-cost option for the rest of us who could no longer afford a GeForce card, but that ship is sailing too. There’s still value to be found among graphics cards, which is why the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti tops our list of best graphics cards, but that herd is rapidly dwindling.
That, ultimately, was my hope for the Intel Arc. As a newcomer to the graphics card cold war between Nvidia and AMD, there was room for Intel to come in with a solid budget for the midrange lineup and clean up this cost-friendly market. I hope Moore’s Law is dead is dead wrong about this, but it looks pretty dubious here for all you gamers stuck on old hardware like the RTX 1050 and AMD RX 470.
If Intel ends up shelving or eliminating the Arc altogether, it will be a real blow to budget-conscious gamers and builders, and the budget side of things could actually get a solid win these days.