Intel is having serious problems preparing for the release of its Arc Alchemist graphics cards. It wasn’t difficult to guess, since their release had already been postponed more than once. Now rumors are circulating on the web that the company will completely close this direction and will not produce video cards for the desktop segment.
At the CES 2022 earlier this year, Intel announced that it would release the first discrete graphics cards in the first quarter of this year. Later in February, Intel promised to release discrete graphics cards for laptops in the first quarter of 2022, for desktops in the second, and for workstations in the third. In April, the Intel boss promised to release Desktop Arc within two months.
Formally, it met these deadlines: in the first quarter, the company actually managed to launch five mobile Arcs and immediately announced the availability of two younger models: Arc A350M and Arc A370M. But initially they came out only in Samsung laptops and only in South Korea. Not the most impressive debut. A similar situation happened with the desktop Intel Arc A380. The presentation of this graphics card took place in mid-June, that is, in the second quarter. Sales started in July, i.e. in the third quarter, and so far only in China. Yes, and it came out only in the Chinese GUNNIR version.
However, this is not the problem at all. As the first tests showed, the Arc A380 graphics card has huge performance and driver problems. In some games it shows itself to be quite worthy, but in many places there are friezes and simply extremely low performance. Also, browsers have encountered a large number of critical errors, due to which the system freezes or restarts.
After that, it became clear why Intel is delaying the full release of the Arc series graphics card – there are big problems in their work. And new rumors claim that the root of these problems is not in the drivers at all, but in the architecture of the GPUs themselves. Supposedly there isn’t enough scheduler bandwidth, which is exactly what leads to friezes and other performance issues. The problem is most pronounced with the high-end cards, so their release is delayed.
And the main problem is that since it’s an architectural issue, it might prove relevant for future generations of Intel graphics cards. Rumor has it that engineers are now trying to fix everything and create updated versions of Arc Alchemist, some sort of Alchemist Refresh that is said to be ready for release early next year. However, according to rumors, Intel could limit itself to releasing only mobile graphics cards and completely close the desktop direction.
More sinister rumors even claim that Intel management is fed up with the troubles of manufacturing discrete consumer graphics cards and will shut down this direction entirely. Allegedly, the company only wants to continue to develop computer accelerators for servers.
However, official statements from Intel are far more optimistic so far. At its most recent quarterly event, the company announced that the Intel Arc A5 and A7 series of desktop graphics cards will begin shipping in the third quarter. And the company attributes the delays to problems in the supply chain due to the coronavirus, as well as difficulties in software development.