Intel announced its first high-end consumer graphics brand as “ARC”. The Intel Arc brand will cover hardware, software and services, and will span multiple hardware generations. Probably it is like Nvidia’s “Geforce” and AMD’s “Radeon” branding we see.
The first Intel Arc graphics product will be available on desktops and notebooks in Q1 2022. First-generation of the products will be on the Xe HPG microarchitecture, code-named Alchemist (formerly known as DG2).
Furthermore, Intel also revealed the future generations code name, which are Battlemage, Celestial and Druid. The other variants of the Xe microarchitecture graphics solution are Xe-LP, Xe-HP, Xe-HPC.
- Xe-LP for low power variant.
- Xe-HP for high-performance server/data center variant.
- Xe-HPC for high-performance computing variant.
- Xe-HPG for high-performance gaming/ Enthusiast variant.
New Intel Arc Xe-Core
Intel introduced a new term, “Xe-Core”, to describe the GPU core. The Execution unit (EU)will not be used anymore. Each Xe-core contains 16 vector engines and 16 matrix engines (referred to as XMX – Xe Matrix eXtensions). In one render slice, four Xe-cores and four RT units are supported, and the first Arc GPU supports eight render slices.
Ray Tracing with XeSS
Intel specifies that the new ARC Alchemist GPU will support hardware-based Ray tracing and AI-based super sampling XeSS. And will also offer full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate. The ray-tracing unit will have both DirectX Raytracing (DXR) and Vulkan Ray Tracing.
Intel XeSS will use Alchemist’s built-in XMX AI acceleration to deliver a novel upscaling technology that enables high-performance and high-fidelity visuals. Games that are only playable at lower quality settings or lower resolutions can run smoothly at higher quality settings and resolutions. The XeSS will also work on integrated GPU as well.
As of now, Nvidia’s DLSS is matured enough and gives a great performance. For that, the DLSS deep neural network is trained on a supercomputer.
Intel could replicate the performance of DLSS in XeSS or deliver more it remains to be seen. Only two companies are in the GPU market despite the vast market. Let’s see what changes we could see with the entry of Intel.
XeSS in Nvidia and AMD Cards
Intel allowed XeSS to work on any hardware that supports DP4A or INT8 instructions. Most of the modern hardware does support these features. Intel played an open-source card for the XeSS to reach a maximum number of users and get more data to process. Also, game developers will try to integrate this feature more because of open source.
Made by TSMC
The company will use a third-party TSMC foundry to make these GPUs. So, Intel Xe Alchemist GPUs will be manufactured in TSMC N6 process node. Currently, we can’t comment on how long the company will use the external foundry.
Now, little sceptical about adequate stocks during shortages. Nvidia and AMD GPU silicones are also manufactured by TSMC. And now Intel will use the same TSMC, raising stock concerns during a shortage. Although billions of dollars have been invested to increase the number of fabrication plants.
How Against Nvidia and AMD
Yes, we know many of you are interested in the performance number. Unfortunately, we don’t have any detail on specs and no concrete info about performance.
However, Intel Arc needs to provide competitive performance and great value, as Nvidia and AMD are the old matured player. Also, another question arises that in which segment Intel will launch its first GPU. Like in the low/mid-budget or high-end segment.
Can Intel surpass Nvidia or something else we will see? On the other hand, if Intel Arc reached up to the level of its competitors with the first generation. Intel, a third player, will enter the market strongly, which will benefit the gamers.
As we all know, the graphics card shortage has made gamers desperate to get any capable card.
According to Intel, the new Arc Graphics Solutions will deliver high-performance gaming, immersive visuals, and seamless game streaming & creation experiences.
However, Intel has not released any official specification list like SKU type, process node, core counts, memory type, etc. But Intel said, over the coming weeks and months, we will get more information.
Availability and Price
Intel has not said anything about the price so far. But expecting, the price will match Nvidia and AMD or some unexpected we can see. Maybe Intel is planning to drop a pricing bomb on AMD and Nvidia.
The Xe HPG Alchemist Arc products are coming to the market in the first quarter of 2022.