Intel Claims Arc GPUs To Offer “Competitive or Better” Ray Tracing Than NVIDIA’s RTX, Prices To Be Very Competitive, Work Began on Battlemage & Celestial

Intel Talks Arc GPUs: Ray Tracing Performance Better Than NVIDIA RTX, Competitive Prices, Future Arc GPUs 1

Talking to PCGamer, Intel has revealed that their Arc GPUs will be priced very competitively against the competition & even offer better ray tracing performance. The company has also revealed its plans for the next generation of Arc GPUs that come after Alchemist and its commitment to the roadmap.

Intel Talks Arc GPUs: Ray Tracing Performance Better Than NVIDIA RTX, Competitive Prices, Future Arc GPUs

PCGamer's Senior Hardware Editor, Jacob Ridley, went on a trip to Berlin where IFA 2022 is taking place. There, he sat down with Intel's marketing gurus, Tom Peterson and Ryan Shrout who gave away some meaty info regarding their Arc GPUs. There's a lot to cover but to sum it up, we get a few details on Intel's RTU (Ray Tracing Unit) and its performance, what the prices of Intel Arc GPUs would look like, and where Arc goes from here in the future.

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Intel Arc GPUs To be Competitively Priced Against NVIDIA

Once again, it looks like Intel has NVIDIA in sight more than AMD. Talking about their pricing strat, Intel said that their Arc GPUs will be positioned very competitively against its rivals. The company has already shown us 50 game benchmarks for its Arc A750 graphics card which ends up around 5% faster on average versus the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060.

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Intel reaffirms that they will offer killer DX12 & Vulkan performance while DX11 and older titles will be a hit or miss. There's also legacy DX9 support being added via the D3D9on12 wrapper API which is being handled by Microsoft at Intel's request.

When you have a title that is optimized for Intel, in the sense that it runs well on DX12, you're gonna get performance that's significantly above an [RTX] 3060. And this is A750 compared to a 3060, so 17%, 14%, 10%. It's going to vary of course based on the title.

We're going to be a little bit faster but depending on your game and depending on your settings, it's trading blows, and that's the A750. Obviously, A770 is going to be a little bit faster. So when you add in DX11, you're gonna see our performance is a little less trading blows, and we're kind of behind in some cases, ahead in some cases, but more losses than wins at DX11.

I was hoping that we would be coming in with a little bit higher performance, but the truth is, this is where we are today.  The good news for consumers is that we're going to make sure that this product is very competitive. All of that is going to be factored into what is our introductory pricing,

And so from my perspective, the gamer says, 'Okay, if I want to play DX12 right now, I'm gonna get an amazing value.' You're gonna get a card that's faster than 3060, at prices that are lower. If you think you're playing DX12 and DX11, and you're splitting it, you're still gonna get amazing value. Because we're gonna price it for the performance that we're delivering today.

It's to be a very competitive perf per dollar entry.

Intel's Tom Peterson viia PCGamer

Intel is also keeping things really fair by saying that they won't have the same power efficiency as NVIDIA's GPUs with Alchemist products but their prices will be much lower to reflect that. Based on one of our previous reports, we expect the pricing to follow the table provided below:

 A770A750A580A380A310
SegmentPerformance +Performance+Performance -Mainstream -Entry
TDP225W225W175W75W75W
Memory 16/8 GB8GB8GB6GB4GB
Tentative MSRP$349-$399$279-$349$200-249$125-$149~$100

Intel Claims Arc's RTU Is Better Than NVIDIA's RTX at Ray Tracing

In addition to the pricing strategy, Intel also pointed out the superior Ray Tracing capabilities of its Arc RTU or Ray Tracing Unit. As Tom Peterson states, the RTU is very capable of delivering "Real" Ray Tracing performance and that the Arc A770 & Arc A750 will fair really well versus NVIDIA's RTX 3060 graphics card in this department.

Tom even goes as far as to say that their implementation of Ray Tracing will be competitive or better than NVIDIA's RTX technology. Do keep in mind that RTX is on its 2nd Generation and a 3rd Generation core is on the horizon but Intel being on par with RTX in its first attempt is great to hear. We will definitely have to verify this claim in our own tests.

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The RTU [ray tracing unit] that we have is particularly well suited for delivering real ray tracing performance. And you'll see that when you do ray tracing on comparisons with an [RTX] 3060 versus A750 or A770, we should fare very, very well.

Yeah, we're definitely competitive or better than Nvidia with ray tracing hardware.

We tried to make ours generic because we know that we're not the established GPU vendor, right. So all of our technology pretty much has to work with low dev rel (developer relations) or dev tech engagement. And so things like our cache structure and our hierarchy, you know, our thread sorting unit, which are the two techs that we're going to talk about in this video, they work without any dev rel or dev tech work.

I'm kind of torn on this one. Because to your point, there's some things that you would normally expect to lag. And the reason you would expect them to lag is because they're hard, and they need to come after you have a solid base. But for better or worse, we just said we need all these things. And so we did XeSS, we did RT, we did AV1, we kind of have a lot on the plate, right? I think we've learned that maybe, you know, in this case, we have a lot on the plate and we're gonna land all the planes, and that's taken us longer than we would have expected.

So maybe next time we would have broken this up a little bit differently.

Intel's Tom Peterson viia PCGamer

The company has showcased some competitive performance figures in various titles with ray tracing enabled along with its XeSS technology.

Intel on Arc GPU Roadmap: We Aren't Going Anywhere, Fully Committed To Arc

Tom also reaffirms that Intel's Arc GPUs aren't going anywhere and Alchemist is just a beginning of a far greater and longer journey. Last month, Raja Koduri squashed all the rumors floating on the web that the Arc brand was getting canceled and it looks like instead of cancellation, the reality is entirely different with Intel's design teams already working on the next-gen Battlemage DG3 and Celestial GPUs.

We're not going anywhere on our discrete business. And our discrete business is the basic technology development that goes both into the data center and integrated GPUs. I feel like there's a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) out there. I'd just like to be clear: we're not going anywhere," he continues.

The thing I happen to believe—Pat, and I, and Roger, and Lisa, and Ryan, everybody is aligned on the idea—that graphics is a critical technology to the client, is a critical technology to the data center, and we want to start competing in the mainstream area where our competitors are making a tonne of money. So all three of those things are critically important for Intel.

Most of our ASIC team is on Battlemage. A small portion of it is on our future, which is Celestial. And then there's a very small portion on Alchemist today, but they're kind of different function sets. So like a board and, what I'll call, chip teams are on Alchemist right now. Kind of think of it as getting our board just right, getting our BIOS just right, making all the final tuning. But the bulk of our design team is on Battlemage.

Our plan is to start here. And then we add on top and then we add on top. And it's not a really hard strategy to understand because we're starting with the volume segment of the market, and then we'll grow into more high-performance segments over time.

Intel's Tom Peterson viia PCGamer

Intel also lays out its plan of reaching out to the mainstream and volume market first with Arc Alchemist GPUs then heading into the high-performance and enthusiast segment with the Arc Battlemage GPUs and beyond. Of course, we first have to wait and see the Arc 7 series in action before we get to talk about next-gen stuff but it is exciting for gamers and content creation that Intel has a lineup that aims to bring more competition to the graphics market.

What are your thoughts of Intel's Arc graphics cards so far?

Intel ARC Gaming GPU Lineup

GPU FamilyIntel Xe-HPGIntel Xe2-HPGIntel Xe3-HPGIntel Xe NextIntel Xe Next Next
GPU ProductsARC Alchemist GPUsARC Battlemage GPUsARC Celestial GPUsARC Druid GPUsARC E*** GPUs
GPU SegmentMainstream Gaming (Discrete)Mainstream / High-End Gaming (Discrete)Mainstream / High-End Gaming (Discrete)Mainstream / High-End Gaming (Discrete)Mainstream / High-End Gaming (Discrete)
GPU GenGen 12Gen 13?Gen 14?Gen 15?Gen 16?
Process NodeTSMC 6nmTBATBATBATBA
Specs / Design512 EUs / 1 Tile / 1 GPUTBATBATBATBA
Memory SubsystemGDDR6TBATBATBATBA
Launch20222023?2024?2025?2026?

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