Intel reveals an Arc graphics card with three 8-pin power connectors, which is a first for the company. Was it a true power guzzler or was it merely a prototype?
As the launch of Intel’s Arc Alchemist series grows closer, it seems like every day brings a new tidbit of information about the upcoming title. Another nugget has been dropped today. In a recent interview, Intel graphics fellow Tom Petersen teased the possibility of a desktop graphics card, but only for a brief moment.
For a fraction of a second, a card with three eight-pin PCIe power ports was demonstrated. An interview with HotHardware on YouTube provided the tease, which you can watch in the video shown above.
We’re not sure if this is a pre-production sample or simply an engineering board, but it would be unusual for the latter to be displayed in a press interview. It’s possible that a real Arc card will have 450W of PCIe connection power and another 75W of slot power, which would result in a hot and power-hungry card, even if it doesn’t consume the entire 525W of available power.
A TDP in the vicinity of that amount would indicate that it will be comparable in power consumption to an RTX 3090 Ti. In the absence of an Intel market-shattering miracle, it is doubtful that a card from the Alchemist generation will be able to achieve such high levels of performance. We hope that this was only a tease and that the actual Arc cards would not require this level of strength.
If Intel is able to deliver 3080 or 6800 XT class performance at roughly 450W, even though its performance per watt would lag behind that of Nvidia and AMD, it has the potential to appeal to gamers. However, this is a very big if. However, only if they are offered at a competitive price will they be considered.
Of course, we’re only talking about the most expensive cards available. The main volume will be found in the entry level and mid-range products, and these markets will be highly intriguing battlegrounds in the future. We won’t have to wait long before we have all of the answers. Arc cards for desktop computers are expected to be released in May or June.
Despite all of the information seeps, it is the performance that we are all looking forward to. Anyone expecting Intel to completely destroy the competition on its first try will be disappointed, but if the Arc cards can deliver competitive performance at a variety of price points, have a mature driver, and provide good performance per watt, it is likely that Intel will have achieved its objectives.
As we approach closer to the debut of the cards, Intel’s marketing efforts are ramping up accordingly. It’s a marked contrast to the behavior of AMD and Nvidia, in particular, where we barely get an official acknowledgement that a new generation of graphics cards is on the way to market.
Intel appears to be either confident in the performance of its graphics cards, or it is attempting to raise awareness as a new market entry, or perhaps both of these things. It is the succeeding generations who may show to be competitive in the future. Intel is hard at work on its Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid generations, which will be released in the future.
Intel wants to compete with AMD and Nvidia at the high-end of the graphics card market with the help of these cards. Anyone want to place a wager on what the ‘E’ generation card will be called? Enchanter? Eldar? Check back in a few years to see how things have changed.