Intel’s Arc graphics cards are, despite apparent delays, likely to launch this year. And not just with the expectation of being good GPUs, but with the hope that they can fix one of the biggest vexations in PC gaming: a years-long component shortage that’s made all of the best graphics cards nearly impossible to buy at fair prices.
Intel graphics chief Raja Koduri is at least well aware of the pressure, tweeting that the company is “working hard to find a path towards the mission - getting millions of Arc GPUs into the hands of PC gamers every year.” Koduri was responding to an open letter from our friends at PC Gamer, calling on Intel to finally toss an escape rope down the hardware hellmouth we’ve all found ourselves trapped in. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger also responded, claiming “We’re on it.”
In theory, any non-paper GPU launch should have some degree of alleviating effect: the whole situation ultimately comes down to the yawning chasm between demand and supply, so increasing the latter is the only realistic solution. In practice, sadly, the new batches of AMD and Nvidia cards that have released in the past year-and-a-bit – from occasional RTX 3080 restocks to brand new models like the Radeon RX 6500 XT – have been just too small in number to avoid being instantly overcome by resellers and cash-rich cryptocurrency miners.
I am with you, @pcgamer. This is a huge issue for PC gamers and the industry at large. @IntelGraphics is working hard to find a path towards the mission - getting millions of Arc GPUs into the hands of PC gamers every year https://t.co/bknQOvUMti— Raja Koduri (@Rajaontheedge) January 29, 2022
The Arc series could still avoid this, but available stock would indeed need to number in the millions. And Koduri, pointedly, hasn’t actually committed to that – only to making an effort to “find a path” in that direction. That may be tricky, given Intel are all but certain to face similar production problems to the ones that have slowed AMD and Nvidia’s GPU output; for instance, the first Arc Alchemist GPUs will use chips from TSMC, who also supply AMD, and have themselves warned of silicon shortages continuing on into 2023.
We’ll see, I suppose. These Arc GPUs definitely have the potential to form one of the biggest hardware launches in 2022, alongside the likes of the Steam Deck, and I’m particularly curious to see how Intel’s XeSS upscaling tech compares to DLSS. But now the promises have been made, it’s all on Intel to keep to them.