Intel's Xe HPG Scavenger Hunt has finally concluded a year after its initial announcement. Now, two of the 300 winners have gone public with their upcoming prizes. Evan Stenger (@TheMalcore on Twitter) is one of the 100 Grand Prize winners and claimed $900 worth of products. La Frite David (@davideneco25320 on Twitter) is one of 200 winners in the first-place prize category, winning $700 worth of products. Both prizes include an unknown Arc Alchemist desktop graphics card.
Back in late March of 2021, Intel kicked off a Scavenger Hunt in celebration of its future Xe HPG GPUs, starting with a teaser video. Several months later, in October, Intel officially released details of the prize pool for the scavenger hunt.
The Grand Prize is valued at $900 and comes with one "Premium Intel Arc Graphics Card," Intel Arc-branded merchandise, and six months of Xbox Game Pass for PC. The first 100 winners will receive the Grand Prize reward.
Next in line are the final 200 scavenger hunt winners who will receive the "1st Place Prize award." This reward is valued at $700, featuring a "Performance Intel Arc Graphics Card," Arc-branded merchandise, and three months of Xbox Game Pass for PC.
yea pic.twitter.com/ikl0WN8pnUApril 28, 2022
Excellent @IntelGraphics pic.twitter.com/ceU4Fgs14FApril 28, 2022
The biggest takeaway from the prize pool value is that we have our first significant clue into Intel GPU pricing for its future desktop Arc Alchemist gaming graphics cards. Intel already released its mobile lineup of Arc discrete GPUs, but its desktop lineup isn't planned for release until later this year. As a result, Intel has left us in the dark with official GPU pricing.
In our previous article discussing the Arc scavenger hunt prize pool, we guessed that the "Premium" Arc graphics card costs around $825, with the "Performance" model coming in at $650. This was assumed after taking out the price of the three and six months worth of Xbox Game Pass, as well as assuming a $45 product value for Intel's Arc merchandise and deducting its price from the equation. However, we had no real indication at the time of Intel's Arc performance targets. We now have much more concrete evidence as to what performance could like with the "Premium" and "Performance" GPUs.
The "Premium" GPU Intel is talking about will undoubtedly be the flagship Arc Alchemist GPU in Intel's lineup. We believe that GPU will be called the A780 and come with a fully unlocked G10 die featuring 512EUs, along with higher clocks and perhaps power limits. We believe the "Performance" model will be the runner-up to the A780 known as the A770. However, contrary to the A780, we have actual benchmark leaks of the A770, giving us more perspective into its potential performance.
According to previous benchmarking leaks of the A770, the GPU's performance falls somewhere in the range of an RTX 2070 up to an RTX 3070 Ti. That's quite the gap, and the potential performance is largely dependent on the application. In SiSoftware, the A770 performed similarly to Nvidia's RTX 3070 Ti. Meanwhile, in Geekbench 5, the Arc A770 had the performance of a RTX 2070, Nvidia's previous midrange GPU that launched in 2019. It's important to note that both SiSoftware and Geekbench are synthetic benchmarks and not actual games, which makes their performance figures less useful.
At best, we can assume the A770 will perform around the RTX 3070/3070 Ti range. If this is true, its theoretical MSRP of $650 is high considering its performance — and that's if it launched today. Those prices from last year might also reflect what Intel hoped to charge at the time, and with GPU prices falling and some cards selling at close to MSRP, Intel may need to revise its pricing.
We don't have benchmark data on the A780, but the A770 is believed to feature the same 512EU GPU configuration. If true, this would make the A780 simply a higher clocked part, possibly also with faster GDDR6 memory. That could mean the A780 might perform similarly to a 3070 Ti or potentially even the RTX 3080 10GB. Its theoretical price would be $100+ more expensive than the 3080s MSRP, but drivers and gaming performance remain big question marks.
The Bad News
Prices are already looking to be quite a bit more expensive than Nvidia's current RTX 30-series counterparts from an MSRP perspective. With prices already nearing MSRP for AMD's GPUs, and concerns over potential performance and drivers, we would expect Intel to price things to compete with AMD rather than Nvidia.
The other big concern is that all signs indicate AMD and Nvidia will launch brand new GPU architectures later this year. We've already discussed the Nvidia Ada and RTX 40-series, and there are juicy (but probably fake) rumors of AMD RDNA 3 core counts as well. If those prove even close to accurate, Intel Arc will likely be severely outgunned by the competition.
We should find out more in the July to August timeframe, which is when we expect desktop Arc GPUs to launch. The leaked benchmarks and predictions may be off, so everything is subject to change.
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Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.