From June 3-5, the DreamHack gaming expo took place in Dallas, Texas, hosting the Intel Extreme Masters, Intel’s esports league. After all the cosplay competitions, esports showdowns, and merchandise stores, Intel was running a booth dedicated to their new Arc GPUs, and brought our first real look at the Arc Alchemist external GPU.
While the physical design of the graphics card was revealed in an Intel teaser, this is the first time the GPU has been physically presented. We don’t know exactly which model it is, although our best guess is the Arc 7770 model. It’s a dual fan card powered by an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe connector and presumably offers both DisplayPort and HDMI video outputs.
The card was discovered by the Twitter user @theBryceIsRta supporter of the Intel Arc community, who posted pictures of the new GPU (as well as the deeply haunting Intel CPU mascot, Chippy).
Intel @ @IEMSee what came up! 👀Come to the ARC booth and see it in action pic.twitter.com/vrscP08rHGJune 3, 2022
Intel first announced its intention to enter the GPU market years ago, but the pandemic and global chip shortages have hampered those plans. The manufacturer is currently pushing its Arc GPUs for OEMs to use in new laptops, so discrete GPUs for desktop PCs will likely not be available to consumers anytime soon.
Still, it’s good to see that these graphics cards aren’t just a myth. The desktop version of the Arc 7770 is expected to compete in the current midrange GPU arena, taking on boards like the RTX 3070 and RX 6700 XT. These cards do not yet have a set release date, but are currently expected to release in late 2022.
Analysis: How will Intel’s Arc GPUs shake the market?
While Intel still holds the largest market share for consumer CPUs, AMD has been steadily gaining, with Intel losing over 10% of the market to Team Red over the past three years. Intel’s integrated GPU technology (seen in many productivity laptops and Chromebooks) remains strong, but the discrete GPU market has long been the domain of AMD and Nvidia.
Despite Nvidia still holding a massively larger share of the consumer graphics card market than AMD, it appears that Intel may also be targeting its CPU competitor in the GPU stakes. The introduction of a third party to the GPU market will be a big change, as Arc has the potential to further dilute the market, which could be more problematic for AMD than Nvidia – a boon for Intel, with certainty.
Arc GPUs have been floating around in laptops for a few months now, although so far they’ve only been low-end Arc A3 series cards. The most impressive features of the Arc line (like XeSS and Deep Link) are not demonstrated to their full potential in these thin and light GPUs, but a Gaming notebook with Arc A7770M technology is on the way, so we hope to hear more about high-end GPU features soon.