Today, technology tester and commentator Igor Wallossek of Igor's Lab has suggested that the fate of Intel's Arc graphics cards is "on the brink." His report (originally in German) suggests that Intel has managed to get on the wrong side of system integrators, board partners, and even retailers.
However, some of the most serious trouble noted is with its board partners. At least one major AIB is shutting down production of Arc graphics cards completely "due to quality concerns," according to Wallossek's sources.
We have reached out to Intel Graphics for comment, and will update this story when we get a reply about the revelations in the Igor's Lab report.
Intel's journey into discrete GPUs, with the Arc Alchemist graphics card range, hasn't had the most auspicious of starts. Most tech commentators have been fairly measured and accommodating with this new consumer venture for Intel, wishing to give it the best of chances--especially as it unfolded at a time when graphics cards were extremely difficult to buy.
With such a positive perspective, it is easier to forgive a brand new GPU architecture and driver set having its fair share of bugs, flaws, and quirks. But has Intel's Arc juggling act started to drop too many flaming torches for some to continue with their support? Igor's Lab shares murmurings of discontent from multiple sides.
First, we will concentrate on the most serious and pressing-sounding issues now facing Intel Arc, the problems with its branded manufacturing or add-in board partners, AIBs. One of the first problems AIBs have faced, according to the report, is that Intel suggested they concentrate first on system integrator and OEM customers. This business is inherently lower margin, and doesn't let a big-name graphics card maker make the most of its brand of extensive range of models.
There is a further serious issue for AIBs, if another revelation by Wallossek is correct. He states that "many of the larger board partners are still sitting on massive amounts of inventory." Of course, as time and technology marches on, the value of these inventories are dropping. Graphics cards are currently widely reported to be sliding down a very steep slope, with regard to market pricing.
The last, and another very serious issue for AIBs, is our headlining pick that "at least one" major AIB has decided to cease production of Intel Arc graphics cards completely. Wallossek says the reasoning behind this drastic action isn't related to the other complaints, outlined above. Instead, the AIB reckons they must stop production "due to quality concerns." Hopefully more about these concerns comes to light soon, and Intel addresses them, along with rumors of both hardware and software issues plaguing Intel Arc.
Which AIB (or AIBs) have decided to stop production of Intel Arc graphics cards isn't disclosed, but we still haven't seen any products from the big three: Asus Gigabyte, or MSI. Only yesterday, ASRock joined Gunnir with official Arc A380 product pages and China retail availability.
Intel published a new Arc A750 promo video yesterday, embedded above, but much of this performance information was revealed previously. Also, remember that Raja Koduri Tweeted about being "very much committed to our [graphics] roadmap," a couple of days ago.
In other words, we don't think Intel is considering giving up on discrete graphics already, but there does seem to be more than a little trouble brewing right now.