Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Intel reveals staggered release schedule for highly anticipated Arc GPUs

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Intel has given more details on the release roadmap for its highly anticipated discrete Arc GPUs in a new blog post† The company plans to take a distributed approach where system builders and OEMs in China will prioritize its desktop graphics cards. Meanwhile, the laptop chips are currently exclusive to Samsung laptops in South Koreabut the hope is to expand to other manufacturers and markets soon.

Intel says it is working with other laptop makers such as Lenovo, Acer, HP and Asus to release their laptops with entry-level Arc 3 GPUs as soon as possible. Laptops with the more powerful Arc 5 and Arc 7 GPUs are scheduled for “early summer”. The company says it had hoped availability would be “more generous” at this point, but blamed software development and supply chain issues for the delay.

As for the desktop, Intel is sticking to Q2 as its rough release window. It says the first desktop GPUs will be the entry-level A3, initially made available to Chinese system builders and OEMs (so it won’t be available as a ready-made part to fit into a home-built machine) before it launches. is being expanded worldwide and for self-builders. “Later this summer,” Intel plans to release its more powerful Arc A5 and A7 desktop cards, starting over with professional system builders before expanding.

It is a much more nuanced step-by-step plan than what the company announced in February when it simply said the GPUs would come to notebooks in Q1, desktops in Q2, and workstation machines in Q3. But Intel gives a number of reasons for this staggered approach. First, by starting with system builders, it can focus on running its GPUs with a select few other components, rather than whatever a home builder throws at it. And second, the Chinese market apparently has “strong demand” for these types of entry-level GPUs, and it’s physically closer to the factories that make the components for the boards at a time when transportation costs are skyrocketing.

Reasoning aside, the upshot is that home PC builders in the US and EU probably won’t get their hands on Intel’s new desktop graphics cards until late summer. With Nvidia expected to release a new 4000 series graphics cards later this year, that could mean Intel’s fledgling GPUs will face stiff competition from a very established player at launch.

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