Back in March 2021, when the Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards still went by their architecture title of Xe HPG, Intel launched a digital scavenger hunt to drum up interest in these upcoming desktop GPUs. This ran for so long and so quietly that I’ll admit I forgot it was happening, but it’s now concluded, and prize info sent to the 200 winners contains the first real hints at what these mysterious gaming cards will cost.
Hunt victor La Frite David, per Twitter, shared a screenshot of an Intel confirmation message that listed the approximate retail value (ARV) of their prize bundle. In David’s case this comprises a “Performance” Intel Arc graphics card, some Arc merch and three months of PC Game Pass, with an ARV of $700. Subtracting the value of the Game Pass access leaves $655, so you can probably expect this “Performance” model to land somewhere in the $600-$650 range, depending on how much the miscellaneous merchandise is worth. For comparison, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 – one of the best graphics cards for playing at 4K – launched with an MSRP of $699, though we all know how sideways the GPU price situation went upon release.
Grand prize winner Evan Stenger also revealed his haul, with a “Premium” Arc GPU, Arc merch and six months of PC Game Pass, for a total ARV of $900. Again, some informed estimation (y’know, guesswork) comes in here, but I’d wager the “Premium” card will end up around $750-$800. That's assuming the merchandise consists of things like T-shirts and keyrings, not a solid rhodium bust of Patrick Gelsinger’s head.
These price hints are precious crumbs of semi-detail that, when it comes to these long-awaited GPUs, Intel have rarely dropped in the first place. We’ve seen brief footage of XeSS, Intel’s DLSS competitor, seemingly running on Arc Alchemist hardware, but the hardware's initial Q1 2022 release window came and went without incident. A more recent event focused on Intel’s new laptop graphics, with only the briefest of glimpses at an apparent Arc Alchemist reference card design during the closing moments.
The desktop GPU launch, presumably including these Performance and Premium models, is now planned for summer 2022. Fingers and toes crossed for more concrete pricing and performance info before then, though in fairness the GPU market could use a few months to continue calming itself; Will has been finding some relatively decent graphics card deals recently, pointing towards prices climbing down from the ridiculous highs at which they've spent the last year and a half.