Here's When Intel Will Release Its Arc 3 Graphics

Intel has finally offered an update on the status of its Arc series discrete GPUs for laptops as well as desktops, and it's not a very optimistic one. Intel's Vice President and General Manager for the Visual Compute Group, Lisa Pearce, wrote in a community post that the broader rollout of Arc GPUs was delayed due to some software snags and the pandemic squeezing the supply chain resources. But there's some hope at the end of the day.

Intel's mobile Arc GPUs are currently limited to Samsung's laptops in its home market, but the chipmaker is working with more OEMs such as Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo to bring laptops with Alchemist graphics engines to the market. But do keep in mind that we're talking about the entry-level Arc 3 series mobile GPUs here, which come in two flavors — A350M (six Xe cores and six ray-tracing cores) and A370M (eight Xe cores and eight ray-tracing cores).

As for the more powerful Arc 5 and Arc 7 series GPUs. Intel says they "will start becoming available in early summer." The Arc 5 lineup currently has a single member, the A550, which offers 16 Xe cores and an equal number of ray-tracing units. Coming to the Arc 7 series, the A730M model fits in 24 Xe cores and 24 ray-tracing units, while the A730M bumps those numbers up to 32 each.

Desktop GPUs will be tricky to buy

On the desktop side of things, Intel is following a staggered release format that will limit the number of CPU and GPU combinations hitting the shelves, at least in the initial stages. In order to limit the number of CPU + GPU + memory combinations, Intel says it "will launch working with system builders and OEMs with specific configurations."

To start, Intel will initially push the Arc 3 series desktop GPUs in China in the second quarter of 2022 by partnering with OEMs as well as system builders. Intel cites high regional demand for entry-level desktop GPUs and accessibility to board components as the reasons for prioritizing the Chinese market. Global expansion will follow after a debut in China, but there's no official window for that happening.

As for the more powerful Arc 5 and Arc 7 series desktop GPUs, they will be released worldwide in partnership with OEMs and system builders this summer. Component-level sales, however, will commence later. So far, the performance of these desktop GPUs against their respective NVIDIA and AMD rivals has remained a closely guarded secret, but it would be interesting to see a third player challenge the team red and team green's duopoly in the global GPU market.