A preliminary review of the Intel Arc Alchemist A380 entry-level graphics board has arrived via SiSoftware, but hidden inside this review is the bigger news — we now have the concrete specs of the full DG2 GPU family from a reliable source. SiSoftware's review of the entry-level Arc A380 is less than stellar, but the specs of the other cards hold out hope for Intel's discrete gaming GPUs for desktop PCs.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||A300 Series||A500 Series||A700 Series|
|Memory Speed||14 Gbps||16 Gbps||16 Gbps|
|Memory Bus Width||96 Bit||192 Bit||256 Bit|
|API Support||OpenCL 3.0, DirectX 12 Ultimate support||OpenCL 3.0, DirectX 12 Ultimate support||OpenCL 3.0, DirectX 12 Ultimate support|
SiSoftware has yet to review the other cards in the family, and it’s worth noting that the A380 review is an OpenCL review. In addition, the review was conducted under Windows 10, looking at things like hashing, cryptographic analysis, and image processing rather than measuring DirectX performance in gaming.
The A380 regularly comes in third place in SiSoftware’s tests, beaten by cards such as the GTX 1660Ti, and RX 6500 XT, putting it in roughly the same place as an earlier leak that placed the A380 neck-and-neck with the GTX 1650 Super, as well as one that saw it beaten by an RTX 3070 in OpenCL. Some of this falls at the door of the A380’s lack of support for FP64 double-precision floating point math, though it makes up for it with tensor cores used for matrix multiplication and lower precision work. We have yet to see how the A500 and A700 will compare to these cards, but we can be sure that they will beat the entry-level A380.
The full specs of the A380 card tested are 128 compute units capable of processing 1,024 threads and running at 2.45 GHz, 16 tensor cores, 6GB of GDDR6 with a bandwidth of 192 GB/s, 32 render output units, 64 texture mappers, and a power draw of just 75W. The memory bandwidth, in particular, is poor compared to Nvidia cards - the 1660 Ti and 3050 manage 288 and 224 GB/s respectively - while the power draw is low compared to the two Nvidia cards’ pull of 120 and 130W.
Transfer of data across the PCIe bus also appears slow, with the A380 managing a download figure of 3.06GB/s and an upload of 2.88GB/s, while the Nvidia cards’ figures are much closer to 12GB/s in both directions.
This is a low-end card, however, and the modest power draw may attract builders of small form-factor, low-powered systems who aren’t looking for remarkable hashing abilities as long as the price is competitive. Gamers looking for one of the best graphics cards will want to wait for the inevitable DirectX figures, where the double-precision FP64 operations the A380 doesn’t support are an optional feature, so may make less of an impact on the scores.
It has to be <$200 to be viable. Intel is unproven in the field of long term support on hardware ventures. Larrabee/Knights Corner, Itanium, and XPoint come to mind. (Yes yes, I know Itanium had a long life considering, but Intel pretty much admitted defeat after adding x64 extensions by AMD. Any SERIOUS resource money stopped after x64 extensions were added to x86)
Given the choice between A380 and the RX6500 at $200, I'd probably pick the A380 mainly for the extra VRAM and not having to worry about 4.0x4 becoming a major bottleneck later. 50W lower TDP doesn't hurt either.
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I don't think Intel threw in the towel with XPoint, considering it still performs much better than flash memory in terms of IOPS, which is a much more useful spec than raw bandwidth. But if it's going to die, it'll be because Intel doesn't want to share the technology.
Intel still has a extensive NIC lineup. And if anything, Intel can "convince" system builders to use their GPUs anyway.
Itanium budgets disappeared after x64 extensions took off. The only thing keeping it afloat was like sun sparc systems and hp that had clients dependent upon it.
You're claiming prices went up over 50%. Sorry I'm not buying that. That's like the aib's claiming they had to raise the prices because aluminum went through the roof. They use like $3.00 in Aluminum on most heatsinks. That's not an exaggeration. Even if you doubled the price it would not justify $50 price hikes.
The import tax alone is a $60 price increase for a $220 GPU before accounting for any of the cost increases.
The whole product line had actual hardware refreshes until 2017. You don't create new hardware from an "afloat" budget.