Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs rumored to launch in March, will take on the RTX 3060 and 3070

In context: The PC community has long waited for the release of Intel’s first truly dedicated gaming GPUs, and now, that day is just around the corner. Given that competition from AMD and Nvidia is likely to arrive later the same year, a launch window in early 2022 seems likely for the first generation of Intel’s upcoming Arc GPUs (codenamed Alchemist). But how will Alchemist’s GPUs stack up against the existing competition?

Thanks to new rumors supposedly published in the ExpReview forums, we might finally have an answer to that question. ExpReview, for the unfamiliar, is a Chinese tech news site that emphasizes coverage of PC hardware, including reviews, benchmarks, and leaks.

According to the site, Intel’s Alchemist architecture will launch with multiple models sometime in March 2022; a January release was reportedly planned but had to be delayed for a couple of months. In any case, Q1 is still on the table, apparently.

Intel’s planned offerings include three discrete desktop GPUs and five laptop GPUs (mostly variants of the desktop cards).

The desktop lineup will house Intel Xe HPG 512 EU, 384 EU and 128 EU.

The 128 EU is rumored to launch with 1024 ALUs, 6GB of VRAM, a 75W TGP, and a 96-bit memory bus. Intel expects the 128 EU to be able to take on Nvidia’s GTX 1650, but with RT support, something that both the 1650 and 1650 Super lack. That is understandable, given the performance hit that comes with enabling such features. Base clock speeds will likely be limited to 2.5Ghz here.

The 512 EU is configured to ship with up to 16GB of VRAM, 4096 ALUs, a 256-bit memory bus, a 225W TGP, and clock speeds are rumored to top out at around 2.5Ghz as well. The Blue Team is positioning this model as a competitor to Nvidia’s RTX 3070 and 3070 Ti.

The 384 EU, on the other hand, will take on the lower-end 3060 and 3060 Ti with a 192-bit memory bus, up to 12GB of VRAM, a TGP of around 200W, and 3072 ALUs.

The portable version of the 128 EU cuts VRAM to a measly 4GB and cuts power consumption to around 30W. The other low-end notebook chip, the 96 EU, drops the ALU count to 768, while keeping everything else pretty much the same.

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Intel’s high-end Alchemist laptop GPUs differ from their desktop counterparts primarily in power consumption, with a lower TGP across the board (up to 150W for 512 EU and up to 120W for 384 EU). The mid-range 256 EU is a laptop-only card with 2048 ALUs, 8GB of VRAM, a 128-bit bus, and up to 80W TGP.

As you can see, Intel is primarily targeting current-gen cards from AMD and Nvidia with their first GPU release for gaming. As such, Blue Team fans will likely have to wait for the company’s next GPU architecture, codenamed “Battlemage,” for an Intel alternative to AMD’s RDNA3 and Nvidia’s Lovelace cards.

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