Some benchmarks for Intel’s upcoming Arc Alchemist maps have been leaked, showing a markedly improved score over the benchmarks that leaked in August. While it looks like Intel Arc Alchemist is doing well, it likely won’t be the GPU shortage savior or a fierce competitor to AMD and Nvidia. At least at first, that is.
The latest benchmarks come from Geekbench (via Benchleaks) and show the flagship mobile variant of the Alchemist card scoring an OpenCL score of 7,943. That’s roughly the same score as Intel’s UHD 750 graphics or an Nvidia GTX 560. Needless to say, this is well below the bar set by graphics cards in recent years.
This result doesn’t say much about Alchemist at the moment. Firstly, this is from a mobile setup, so it doesn’t say much about the add-in’s desktop performance, and it’s way below what it should be, possibly due to poor optimization of the. pilot. Intel would not release a graphics product in this state, so you shouldn’t take the result as an indication of performance.
Still, some other leaks show that performance may not be at the level some people expect. Moore’s Law is Dead, a YouTube channel known for leaking hardware information, said the flagship desktop card’s performance currently sits around an RTX 3060. At the moment, it’s too early to say if it will reach the levels of an RTX 3070.
The person responsible for the leak says it’s hard to say where performance will be when the card is released because “the drivers are in terrible shape.” To be clear, the leaker suggests the bar is at least an RTX 3060, although the latest Arc Alchemist cards may scale higher.
Play the long game
Arc Alchemist is just one step in Intel’s graphics journey – there’s a reason the company has released information for four generations instead of just one. While the leaks suggest that Alchemist will be competitive with mid-range options from Nvidia and AMD, it likely won’t hit the levels of the RTX 3080 Ti or the RX 6800 XT.
Graphics are nothing new to Intel.
Intel hasn’t confirmed anything, but Alchemist is probably a stepping stone. It’s a generation where Intel can prove its prowess in gaming graphics, establish features like XeSS and real-time ray tracing, and work on delivering optimized drivers for the latest games. The generation is unlikely to compete with the flagship competition, and it is probably not destined to do so.
It should be noted that the graphics are not new to Intel. The company has been producing integrated graphics chips for years, so it’s not like Team Blue is starting from scratch. Intel is new to desktop graphics for gaming, however. In this space, Intel is starting with zero market share, and is probably well aware that building a customer base will take time.
The alchemist is the first step, but it will not be the last. For first-gen cards, Intel is likely aiming for benchmarking performance that resists Nvidia and AMD, not performance that can put flagship cards in the ground.
Shortages still apply
Bringing out more graphics cards is good for everyone – GPUs are still extremely expensive, and prices don’t seem to be going down. Arc Alchemist will not solve the GPU shortage. While Intel occupies an advantageous position with its manufacturing capacity and scale, component shortages and price spikes will continue to apply.
Intel announced that it was using chipmaker TSMC to make Alchemist, the same company that has been producing AMD RX 6000 cards for almost a year. We still have many months to go before the Alchemist boards are here, but warnings from executives of major tech companies suggest component shortages will be at their peak by then.
Next year Intel will fight an uphill battle to win one of the lowest points for graphics cards. While Alchemist cards will bring GPUs to the market that would not otherwise exist, we believe they will still fall victim to the high prices and limited availability that have plagued the graphics card market for nearly a year.
Given the rumors currently circulating, Intel Arc Alchemist appears to be somewhere between an RTX 3060 and an RTX 3070 Ti, but we’re not sure exactly where at this time. At least for the first generation of Arc cards, it looks like Nvidia and AMD will remain the go-to brands for high-end gaming performance.
Just because Intel won’t be the savior of the GPU shortage, or a flagship competitor to AMD or Nvidia, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Intel appears to be tackling the graphics problem from the middle, starting with mid-range cards and expanding outward as it gains a foothold in the desktop graphics market.
There’s a lot we still don’t know about Alchemist. Intel hasn’t detailed anything about performance yet, and price will play a huge role in how the cards stack up against the competition. While it doesn’t look like we’re getting any flagship performance, there are still plenty of reasons to look forward to when it comes to Arc Alchemist.
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