Intel’s discrete Arc GPUs have been the subject of a lot of speculation recently, including that the company may be preparing to cease its efforts on that front – or at least cut them substantially. However, this is not the case, a top Intel executive made clear on Twitter.
If you missed this one over the weekend, YouTuber Moore’s Law is Dead made the case that it looks like the Arc project, which started with first-gen Alchemist cards, is in serious trouble, with one source going so far as to use the word “finished” regarding the future of graphics cards.
Raja Koduri, chief architect of Intel’s graphics division, tweeted to express dismay at these rumors, and that they do not help the team working hard to bring Arc graphics cards to market.
we’re 🤷♂️ about those rumors too. They don’t help the team that is working hard to bring them to market, they don’t help the PC graphics community. we plan to overcome, but we persist…September 12, 2022
in one more tweet (opens in new tab), Koduri pointed to a roadmap for Discrete Arc shared in February 2022 and noted that Intel continued to execute that strategy as planned. That is, launching the second generation GPUs of Battlemage in 2023 to 2024, and then the Celestial, which will have a new architecture.
Analysis: A long Arch ahead of us, with any luck…
Interestingly, the Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID) video uploaded over the weekend commented on Koduri’s lack of mention of Arc gaming cards in recent times – and a focus on data center products – citing this as part of the reason for being doubtful around the future of these graphics cards. And the Chief Architect certainly fixed that in no uncertain terms, too tweet (opens in new tab) on the imminent release of high-end Arc A7 GPUs, showing a card undergoing volume validation in a Toronto lab.
Intel is obviously fighting what appear to be unfair rumors here, and the message – previously conveyed by Intel’s Tom Petersen just a few weeks ago – is that the discrete Arc isn’t going anywhere. Furthermore, Koduri makes it very clear that Intel’s plans and roadmap for the next two generations of GPUs after Alchemist have not changed.
Of course, we always need to add our own skepticism to not only what MLID and the other hardware leakers are telling us they’re hearing rumors, but also what Intel is telling us. But to be fair, Team Blue has been pretty open and honest about mistakes with Alchemist – Petersen’s interviews lately have been pretty candid – and Koduri has taken a strong stance here in the face of cancellation rumors. All of this adds weight to the positive outlook for the Arc’s future.
Ultimately, we don’t know how things will play out, and part of the problem is that the rocky launch we’ve seen with Alchemist so far makes it easy to fall prey to pessimism. But nobody wants the Discreet Arc to fail – not us, not the gamers out there, or the hardware leakers. Everyone wants more choice in the GPU market, because in recent years, we’ve seen how volatile it can be, prone to suffering from nasty out-of-stocks followed by the inevitable price hike.
A third player can only help alleviate that kind of pressure, even if the MLID is partially correct, and maybe only low-end GPUs come from Intel. Even that would still be a big plus point, as normally, the low-end GPU market is where Nvidia, in particular, ends up playing a weaker hand.
We’re certainly keeping our fingers firmly crossed for the future of Arc GPUs, and indeed we’ll see not just Celestial, but Druid and beyond – and Intel’s latest noises make us feel more hopeful than we did over the weekend.