Intel has announced its new Intel Arc brand for high-performance discrete consumer GPUs, along with associated software and services, largely aimed at gamers. The first models for desktops and laptops will launch in 2022. Additionally, the company has disclosed the first of its genre-themed codenames referring to upcoming products. ‘Alchemist’, formerly known as DG2, will be based on the Xe HPG architecture and will launch in early 2022. The series will progress alphabetically, with Battlemage, Celestial and Druid to follow. The company will launch a marketing campaign including promotional videos, previews and branded products available on Intel’s website.
Intel has previously confirmed that Xe HPG will support hardware ray tracing and GDDR6 memory. GPUs will be manufactured by a third party foundry. The new promo videos showcase demos of variable rate shading, mesh shading, video scaling, and AI-accelerated game upsampling. Gameplay demos included Forza Horizon 4, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Psychonauts 2, Riftbreaker, Crysis Remastered, Metro Exodus, although details of the test environment and settings used were not immediately available.
Intel has been working on graphics for several years now, and had previously promised to deliver discrete GPUs by 2020. It will face Nvidia and AMD, which have so far enjoyed a duopoly, although the GPU market has been rocked. in recent times by huge demand from cryptocurrency miners, as well as a global manufacturing shortage of microprocessors driving up prices. No specifications or pricing has yet been announced, and it’s also unclear how many models there will be in each generation, or which player segments Intel will target. Intel has yet to name any graphics card or OEM brand selling partners that will ship laptops and PCs with these GPUs.
The company has hired former AMD Radeon chief graphics officer Raja Koduri and several other big names in the industry. Xe’s architecture and branding is intended to evolve directly from integrated GPUs to data centers and high-performance exascale computing implementations.
At CES 2020, Intel showcased its DG1 demo board, which was only released to developers. The Iris Xe Max discrete GPU for laptops was launched in late 2020, and the Xe architecture has also been used for integrated GPUs on some recent Intel Core processors.
Intel recognizes that there are over three billion gamers in the world, many of whom are also power users, content creators, and multitasking. Over a billion hours of game content have been posted on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and other platforms, and over 28 billion hours were viewed last year.