Intel announced this morning that it would bundle its new high-performance graphics hardware, software, and services under a new 'Arc' brand, with the first discrete gaming graphics cards and new GPUs for notebooks coming to market in Q1 2022. The company also launched a new arc website with some additional info (not to be confused with its "Ark" spec site), along with some videos of its newest Alchemist GPU playing a few games.
The new Arc branding will persist across several generations of Intel's discrete GPUs, with the first graphics cards, previously known as 'DG2,' now codenamed Alchemist. Intel's first high-powered discrete gaming graphics cards will be based on Intel's Xe-HPG (High Performance Graphics) architecture. Future generations of Intel's discrete graphics cards will be named Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid.
We can’t keep it a secret any longer! So excited to introduce the brand for our High-Performance Graphics: Intel Arc. Find out more. https://t.co/GzGcM8KDq1 #IntelArc pic.twitter.com/OWFbdTyLZyAugust 16, 2021
|Intel Discrete GPU Arc Codename||Release Date|
Intel will continue to fold all of its graphics solutions under the broader Xe Architecture umbrella, which signifies that these GPUs all share a similar underlying graphics microarchitecture. In addition, other variants, such as Xe-LP for lower-powered client GPUs, Xe-HPC for high performance computing (HPC), and Xe-HP for the server market will continue to serve their respective markets.
Intel's plans for the hardware side of the Alchemist GPUs remain to be seen. However, the press release does note that the cards "feature hardware-based ray tracing and artificial intelligence-driven super sampling," with the latter implying there could be some sort of hardware-accelerated AI functionality baked into the gaming cards to improve performance.
Intel recently poached Anton Kaplanyan, an ex-Nvidia engineer that pioneered the company's DLSS technology, signaling that the company could be planning a longer-term development cadence for this type of technology. Of course, any technology in Intel's GPUs that would ship in the Alchemist GPUs would have been in development for years already. Still, Kaplanyan is obviously already well underway at Intel, tweeting (as you can see below) that Alchemist will come with full DX12U support, including mesh shading and high-performance ray tracing. He also says that neural supersampling will be announced separately.
In case you were curious, Intel Arc GPUs will come with full DX12U support, including mesh shading, and high-performance ray tracing. Bonus, high-quality neural supersampling deserves a separate announcement. https://t.co/HIBJ8tWhwrAugust 16, 2021
We don't have any official information on specs yet, but the cards are rumored to feature 512 execution units and come fabbed on a TSMC process node, delivering far more performance than the lower-end discrete DG1 graphics card we recently tested.
We're sure to learn more in the coming months as the company works to build up some hype around its coming launch. For now, we're left with the video in the tweet above and a quote from the Intel press release:
"Today marks a key moment in the graphics journey we started just a few years ago. The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere. We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year.” –Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions.