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In news that is both surprising and yet completely unsurprising at the same time, Intel may be delaying its highly anticipated desktop GPUs. As you may recall, at the end of its recent launch of the mobile version it released a teaser for its desktop card. The text just said “Summer 2022” which predicts a vague June – August timeline. The latest leaks now say the cards might either arrive at the tail end of that window or be pushed back to Q3.
The latest report comes from notable leaker Enthusiast Citizen via Wccftech, which states Intel might be having driver issues. Rather than have a bad launch, it’s decided to just push the launch back. This sounds plausible only because it was supposed to launch its mobile Arc GPUs in Q1, but that was also delayed. Even now, despite the fact that the mobile chips are officially launched, they’re still not widely available. Intel itself posted on Twitter that Arc mobile will appear in Korea first, then roll out to other regions in the future. That means it was a paper launch here in the States, which was not expected or communicated clearly. The company also previously experienced issues with drivers for its OEM-only DG1 Arc GPU, so it is not unreasonable to believe Intel is grappling with this on the desktop as well.
The leaks detail five GPUs in the hopper from Intel. They will use a similar 3-5-7 naming convention found on the company’s CPUs. There will be the A380, A580, A750, and A770. As for the fifth model, when Intel teased its discrete cards previously the text read “limited edition.” That could be the fifth GPU, which would assumedly be a flagship A780 model or even a 9-series GPU. The A770 is rumored to be equivalent to an RTX 3060 Ti and will have 8GB or 10GB of VRAM. The two SKUs below it will have 8GB of VRAM, and the last one — the A380 — is an entry-level GPU. That indicates it might have 4GB or possibly 6GB of VRAM.
Delays like this are not good news for Intel. The window seems to be closing on the period where the company could have theoretically had the market all to itself. That’s assuming it would have launched with high volume and reasonable prices. Back in Q1 when they were supposed to launch, the GPU market was in a horrible state. There was no supply, and the cards that were on offer were being sold at scalper prices. It was bad enough that PCGamer penned an open letter to Intel pleading for help. Since neither AMD nor Nvidia GPUs were even remotely available, this was Intel’s time to shine. The company replied that it was “on it” and very aware of the situation.
Now, several months later, times have surprisingly changed. Not only are GPU prices continuing to fall month-after-month, but Nvidia GPUs are actually back in stock now. Also, a late Q2 or Q3 launch puts Intel’s fledgling effort right in the crosshairs of upgraded AMD RDNA2 GPUs (RX 6950XT, etc), and possibly even Nvidia Ada Lovelace GPUs. That will be some stiff competition, no doubt, not to mention RDNA3’s late-year launch. Obviously, we hope these rumors are incorrect. Given the history of Intel’s Arc project though, they seem rather believable.