Intel plans to launch its long-awaited Arc Alchemist graphics cards for desktop PCs ‘very soon,’ the company said in an interview and revealed some more details about its upcoming boards.
The very first Intel Arc graphics card in years designed for gamers will be its own Arc A770 Limited Edition add-in-board (AIB) with 16GB of GDDR6 memory, reports PC Games Hardware citing Intel’s Tom Petersen, and Intel Fellow, and Ryan Shrout, the company’s marketing specialist. This product will co-exist with custom offerings from the company’s partners carrying the same graphics processing unit. Those custom Arc A770 AIBs will carry either 16GB or 8GB of memory as Intel has approved configurations with 8GB of RAM. In addition, makers of graphics cards will also offer Arc A750 boards with 8GB of GDDR6.
Intel considers its Arc A770 offerings as competitors for Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, whereas the Arc A750 are positioned against Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060. Last week Intel already published benchmark results showing its Arc A770 better in ray tracing than Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060, so perhaps this is the company re-emphasizing its performance-related thesis, which obviously needs to be put to independent test.
Some of the Arc A700-series boards from Intel’s AIB partners will come factory-overclocked and with increased power limits, so these boards will offer higher performance when compared to models with default clocks. Will those boards be among the best gaming graphics cards available this fall? Only time will tell.
It is noteworthy that Intel strongly recommends using its Arc graphics cards with newer systems supporting resizable base address register (BAR) as without this technology Intel’s Arc GPUs may experience an up to 40% performance drop. However, a good thing is that Arc graphics processors will fully support Microsoft’s DirectStorage technology, so expect performance of systems featuring these devices (as well as compatible SSDs) to improve once games that use this application programming interface (API) emerge.
While it is evident that Intel’s Arc A770 graphics cards will not be competitive against next-generation offerings from AMD and Nvidia in high resolutions, Intel hopes that its four XeSS upscaling modes (performance, balanced, quality, and ultra quality) will provide a decent balance between performance and quality, which will to some degree compensate for lower performance in resolutions like 4K.
Speaking of high resolutions output in general, Intel says that its upcoming ACM-G10 GPUs do not support native HDMI 2.1 output, which is why to add an appropriate connector to an Arc A700 graphics card, an onboard DisplayPort 2.0 to HDMI 2.1 converter is needed. Interestingly, despite the fact that Intel enabled DisplayPort 2.0 with UHBR 20 support in drivers, it looks like for now only UHBR 10 will be supported. If this is accurate, this means that the Intel’s Arc A700 boards will not support a ‘native’ 8K output and will have to use two DisplayPort connections to handle an 8Kp60 monitor. For now, 6Kp60 and 8Kp60 displays are not exactly common, which justifies lack of DP 2.0 UHBR 20 support, but it is still a bit odd to see Intel dropping one of the potential advantages of its GPUs.
While Intel is eager to talk about performance and features of its upcoming Arc A700-series discrete graphics cards for desktops, it does not disclose another key characteristic of these boards: their price. Keeping in mind that these products are set to launch ‘very soon,’ we are going to find everything out shortly. So, stay tuned.