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Intel Arc Giveaway Reveals ‘Approximate’ Graphics Card Pricing

Intel Xe Graphics Arc Mockup
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel recently began the second phase of its ongoing official Xe HPG Scavenger Hunt, and it appears the company may have inadvertently tipped its hat on pricing for its forthcoming Xe Arc Alchemist discrete gaming graphics cards in the fine print. Depending on how they perform, these could compete with the best graphics cards, but we'll have to wait and see.

The giveaway details four sets of winners, with the grand prize and first place winners receiving a free Intel Arc graphics card along with Arc-branded merchandise and anywhere between three to six months of Xbox Game Pass for the PC. Most importantly, Intel describes the grand and first place prize winners as having an "approximate retail value" of $900 and $700, respectively, which gives us a good idea as to how expensive Intel's Arc GPUs will be when they come to retail in the first quarter of 2022.

Intel Arc Prize Winners and pricing

(Image credit: Intel)

The grand prize goes to 100 winners, with an "Arc Premium" graphics card and a value of around $900, including six months of Xbox Game Pass. The 200 first-place prizes include an "Arc Performance" graphics card and three months of Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass costs about $30 for three months, double that for six months, plus there's other merchandise included with the prizes. That gives us a theoretical Arc GPU price of around $650 for the "performance" model and $825 for the "premium" model, though there's certainly a bit of flexibility and we could see prices that are $50–$100 lower or higher given we're still a few months away from Arc's release.

We're currently aware of three SKUs split into high-end, mid-range, and entry-level products. The high-end trim will come with 4096 GPU cores (or ALUs) and feature up to 16GB of GDDR6 memory. Performance remains largely unknown, but according to TFLOPS calculations we've seen, it could be close to a GeForce RTX 3080. Drivers and other aspects of the design will also be important, however, so performance might be quite a bit lower. We shall see.

Intel's Arc GPUs will be the company's first serious attempt at diving into the discrete GPU after more than two decades since the i740, and more than a decade since Larrabee. These GPUs should deliver good compute performance, based on what we've heard so far, and they'll include all the modern features you'd expect. They're fully DirectX 12 Ultimate compliant, which means they support ray tracing, mesh shaders, sampler feedback, and variable rate shading. The Arc architecture will also have some form of tensor cores for machine learning applications, and these will be used for Intel's own version of DLSS called XeSS.

While Intel probably didn't mean to reveal pricing already, even in "approximate" form, the actual launch could end up rather different from these early numbers. After all, the RTX 3080 theoretically starts at $700 and the RTX 3060 starts at $330, neither of which you'll ever really find for those prices in the current market. But a lot will depend on how the cards actually perform — in our GPU benchmarks as well (sadly) cryptocurrency mining, the latter of which continues to have a major influence on retail GPU prices.

Intel is working with third-party AIB (add-in board) partners like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and others for the launch. As such, we don't know what the cards will actually look like, though the above early rendering from CES 2020 likely bears little resemblance to the final product. We'll find out more in early 2022.

  • InvalidError
    Whatever Intel's tentative pricing might be, street pricing will ultimately be dictated by how well it hashes relative to everything else as long as crypto-mining is still doing well.
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    It really doesn't matter what number they attach to it.
    If it performs like a 3080 it is going to cost 3080 comparable numbers in street price.
    Reply
  • VforV
    Intel top Arc will have 3080 performance?

    Pffft... ok, show me benchmarks then I'll believe. Until then "sweet dreams" everyone...
    Reply
  • jeremyj_83
    It doesn't matter if it has 3080 performance if the drivers are garbage. Who here can remember the Intel i740. Had adequate performance but the drivers were garbage.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Performance remains largely unknown, but according to TFLOPS calculations we've seen, it could be close to a GeForce RTX 3080.
    TFlops calculations are a terrible way to estimate graphics card performance for cards using a new architecture, especially for a brand new line of cards with no direct predecessor. Even going from Nvidia's 20 series to their current 30 series, there was a huge difference in how much gaming performance a given number of TFlops works out to. Going by advertised compute performance alone, one would expect a "20.3 Tflop" 3070 to be around 50% faster than a "13.5 TFlop" 2080 Ti, but in reality, the two typically perform quite similar in games, since the gaming-performance relative to compute performance was much lower for the 30-series. It's also hard to base any comparisons on the ultra-low-end Xe graphics hardware that's already been released, since it's unknown how well the architecture will scale to larger sizes with faster memory.

    Most rumors I've seen have suggested that their top-end part might get around 3070 performance or so. Without knowing more details, it's possible that it could manage to be more of a 3080 competitor, but a sub-heading that suggests "Potential RTX 3080 performance for around $650–$850" amounts to little more than complete speculation. And even the approximate value of the prizes doesn't tell us that much when they don't go into any detail about what the "Intel Arc branded merchandise" will include. At best, we can consider these upper limits for the value of each card.

    And as has been pointed out, suggested pricing doesn't mean much for the street prices of cards right now, and it's hard to say exactly how long it might take before pricing for a given level of performance gets back to where it was a year ago.
    Reply
  • vinay2070
    If it has a good mining performance (I have a feeling Raja would have tackeled it), then it does not matter what the price and gaming performance/bugs would be, they will sell like ... .
    Reply
  • hannibal
    I am very sure that it is good at mining! The best way to sell Intel gpus is to make it good at mining. Also Intels main market will be datacenter gpus, so having good calculation genes are needed for that!
    And yeah... msrp is meaningless, because ASUS will sell these with Asus own msrp, and Gigabyte will these with gigabytes own msrp and the resellers and middle mans also want to have their slice of the cake and eat it too.
    But interesting this is newer the less!
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Once again,

    Intel marketing has their head up their tail.

    Intel has an unproven history of dGPU graphics and support. In fact UHD graphics driver support for games is a joke.

    If intel is serious about this, they need to sell these direct via website to end users and refuse P.O. Boxes. 1 Per Customer. Verifying a shipping address is easy as there are address normalizers out there that filter out subtle variations in addresses.

    This is just a cash grab. Well done intel. You have proved your arrogance yet again.
    Reply
  • $h0nuff
    Am I the only one seeing all the bait posts here and at TPU? Everyone's up in arms about pricing. A third player is about to enter the market which should be good for flattening out the pricing spike but the posts don't seem to reflect the trend were all looking for? What am I missing? Can I play? Grumble, grumble, grumble... :)
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    $h0nuff said:
    Am I the only one seeing all the bait posts here and at TPU? Everyone's up in arms about pricing. A third player is about to enter the market which should be good for flattening out the pricing spike but the posts don't seem to reflect the trend were all looking for? What am I missing? Can I play? Grumble, grumble, grumble... :)

    Competition is supposed to breed better prices. It has not. They are all taking advantage of the situation
    Reply