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It’s been an odd few months for those following Intel’s move into discrete graphics. Among the usual rumors of specs and performance, of price and release schedules, it’s been tricky to get a cohesive sense of what the plans are. Now there seems to be a real possibility that Intel Arc is canceled altogether.
There’s been the A380 card not being released in the West. Then there were reports of a top-end Alchemist SKU (A780?) that now doesn’t exist. But for a variety of reasons, the move towards any launch of Intel Arc A-series cards has felt unusually turbulent.
In a 24-minute video highlighting ongoing delays and issues, YouTube channel Moore’s Law is Dead details the current situation at Intel – and it doesn’t sound good.
MLID kicks off by highlighting Intel’s initial desire to create an RTX 3070-competitor; with performance levels that top Alchemist cards can sometimes meet.
Hardware issues have reportedly hamstrung the would-be A780 and also have the potential to cause ongoing issues throughout the series. In fact, it seems Intel may even be that Intel Arc is canceled before Battlemage (the next series) is even released.
Conversely, while driver issues have impacted performance, Intel’s recent press tour has showcased cards. Intel Engineer Tom Petersen even told Gamers Nexus that the Arc A750 would arrive “sooner than you think”.
However, MLID’s video shows leaked documents suggesting they should be here already. The documents show several SKUs were planned for global system integrator releases in July. Then they would be available “in channel to AIB’s (on Newegg, for the lay-man), mid-August”.
Intel Arc A-series cards haven’t appeared with integrators though. And an August arrival seems highly unlikely. Particularly because Intel’s card partners like Asus and MSI, don’t know what’s happening.
“To this day, we don’t know what’s going on”, one source told MLID.
A second is quoted as saying, “Why do you keep asking is Arc launching this month? We have no evidence it’s this quarter!”.
Finally, a third source offers: “We are going to sit this gen out as much as we can without entirely burning bridges.
“It’s just taking too long, and we resent being strung along like this”.
So AIBs do not know when they will be able to release cards, and it’s still not clear when integrators will get them. But there’s more.
A further leaked slide from the graphics division suggests there will be an “Arc story (not launch)” in September. Intel’s partners reportedly don’t know what that is. And neither, according to MLID, do Intel executives.
Will Intel Arc be canceled?
None of this shows any cohesive plan for Intel Arc A-series cards, and it could get worse.
Combined with recently released financial results, showing a 22 percent decline in revenue (as reported by CNBC), it’s clear Intel will be looking for internal changes.
Whether that impacts Intel Arc directly or not, quotes MLID has attributed to internal sources aren’t encouraging.
“There are high-level discussions going on regarding the cancellation of dedicated desktop Arc cards”.
A second quote states: “Datacenter stays for now, but the dedicated gaming card line may be canceled before Celestial even gets a chance.”
The final quote offers: “I cannot confirm the cancellation of discrete gaming Arc, but I also can’t say it isn’t being considered. It could be.”
What happens next we cannot know. While there are suggestions in the video that the Alchemist range could get a refresh in H1 2023, the initial Arc A-series cards could release in some manner ‘soon’.
For users, whether or not Intel’s Arc A-series cards are to be invested in seems to be an odd question. Assuming they do launch, and even at competitive prices, users would be right to consider potential issues with long-term support.
For now, it is likely best to wait and see what Intel’s own decisions may be. And whether or not Arc is canceled.