Update: The Future of Intel Arc (Discrete Desktop Graphics)

This story is a short update and a follow up to my editorial posted yesterday. If you have not read that already, I would highly advise you start there. This is a summary update of the Arc discrete desktop situation based on my talks with several sources well-placed inside Intel. As always, I will point out that roadmaps, especially Intel's, are never set in stone and always subject to change without notice - so keep that in mind while reading this.

Key points raised during my chat about the future of Intel Arc for desktop

  • "As long as there is a market for desktop graphics cards, we will continue selling desktop graphics cards". Some of my sources believe that the GPU market will enter into a severe glut over the next year which will significantly affect volumes of all three GPU manufacturers - including AMD and NVIDIA.
  • Because of this Intel will be reassessing supply volumes for Alchemist (and Battlemage) during the remaining year as well as 2023. This is primarily due to the cryptocurrency GPU-demand collapse and the market becoming flooded with used GPUs that will bring down ASPs significantly over the next few months. NVIDIA and AMD will be doing the same and reevaluating the volume of new cards that will enter the market. Anyone that wants to buy an Arc discrete GPU will still be able to do so.
  • Intel will internally decide on whether an Alchemist refresh is appropriate or not by 2023 - before introducing Battlemage. This decision has not been made yet. This does not constitute a cancellation of Arc anymore than it constituted a cancellation of AMD Radeon (AMD utilized the Polaris chip for multiple generations: 4xx, 5xx, 6xx).
  • Intel insiders have told me in no uncertain words that *no* decision has been taken yet about the future of Arc discrete desktop graphics and they remain committed to the roadmap through 2024 at the very least.
  • Delays aside, *as of right now* Intel remains committed to bringing Battlemage to discrete desktop graphics. Barring any black swan event, you should see Battlemage in discrete desktop format by late 2023 or early 2024 depending on how fast the R&D goes.
  • The big, full-fat Battlemage actually cannot actually fit on any reasonable sized mobility platform - so is purely a desktop product.

Does this prove the rumors wrong?

Yes and no. MLiD was the first leaker to show actual pictures of Arc prototypes and I have no doubt what he heard came from authentic sources and that Intel actively and seriously considered this. That said, it is almost impossible to predict this kind of shake up before the official announcement as even the top brass at Intel do not know what will eventually be decided.

So while I can safely say that this has not happened *yet*, there remains a non-zero chance that it still could happen in the future. This is also why I think the wider industry, gamers and tech press need to be a bit more responsible and encourage the entry of a third player in the GPU industry instead of assigning extremely unrealistic expectations of a miraculous first launch to Intel - which, frankly speaking, no company in the world can deliver to.

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