Intel Teases Arc Alchemist card With Three 8-Pin Power Connectors

Intel ARC GPU fans
(Image credit: Intel)

Speaking to HotHardware on YouTube broadcast (at around 01:03:50), Intel's graphics fellow Tom Petersen briefly demonstrated what he said was an Intel Arc Alchemist graphics card based on a GPU featuring the Xe-HPG architecture. The board had as many as three eight-pin auxiliary PCIe power connectors capable of delivering up to 450W of power to the device.

When Intel demonstrated a rendering of its Arc Alchemist Limited Edition desktop graphics card last week, it impressed observers with a lack of visible auxiliary PCIe power connectors on the board and caused speculations about power consumption of the product. We do not know for sure whether the card that Intel showcased was actually a prototype or just a render developed to showcase approximate design of an upcoming product, but the card Petersen demonstrated this week at the YouTube stream (thanks to VideoCardz for sharp eyes) implied the possibility of rather extreme power consumption.

If the card represents what Intel plans to sell (or wants its partners to sell), then its top-of-the-range discrete graphics card will likely have a power consumption of up to 450W and will probably run pretty hot. Whether or not it will offer performance akin to that of AMD's or Nvidia's graphics cards with similar power consumption remains to be seen, but from what we have learned about Intel's Arc Alchemist family so far, we have doubts about Xe-HPG's ability to compete against top-of-the-range products from its rivals.

The tiniest, quickest peak at the power connectors. (Image credit: HotHardware/YouTube)

One thing to note about the card Petersen demonstrated is that it does not look like a commercial product. Modern graphics boards (especially those with an up to 450W power consumption) carry a rather large cooling system that may be up to three slots wide and which definitely covers power connectors. By contrast, the card demonstrated by the Intel fellow does not seem to be equipped with a large cooler. While you can't make definite conclusions based on a demonstration that barely lasted seconds, but from what we have seen, it does not look like the card has a commercial-grade air cooler.  It is possible that the board uses a commercial closed-loop liquid cooling system, but they are not that common. 

All of the Intel Arc Alchemist discrete boards we have seen so far had either two eight-pin PCIe power connectors or a six-pin and an eight-pin PCIe power connector. Perhaps, there is a version of Intel's Arc Alchemist with three power connectors designed for development boards that need to be fed properly and demonstrate maximum performance the silicon is capable of. Yet this does not mean that all commercial boards will come with extremely high clocks and a power consumption of up to 450W. In fact, Intel openly demonstrated a dual-slot Arc Alchemist graphics card installed into a NUC 11 compact gaming desktop in February (and that desktop can barely power a board with three eight-pin power connectors anyway).

This early board may not paint a full picture, but it gives us a glimpse of what Intel is working on, and we imagine that if it's already being shown publicly, we may get more information in the near future.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.