In news that is both surprising and completely unsurprising at the same time, Intel may be delaying its highly anticipated desktop GPUs. As you may recall, it released a teaser for its desktop map at the end of the recent launch of the mobile version. The text just said “Summer 2022,” predicting a fuzzy June-August timeline. The latest leaks now say the cards could either arrive at the end of that window or be pushed back to Q3.
The latest report comes from notable leaker Enthusiast Citizen via Wccftech, stating that Intel may be having driver issues. Instead of having a bad launch, it was decided to just push the launch back. This only sounds plausible as it was set to launch its mobile Arc GPUs in Q1, but that was also delayed. Even now, despite the fact that the mobile chips have been officially launched, they are still not widely available. Intel itself posted on Twitter that Arc mobile will first appear in Korea and 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 clearly communicated. The company has also previously experienced driver issues for its OEM-only DG1 Arc GPU, so it’s not unreasonable to believe Intel is struggling with this on the desktop as well.
The leaks describe five GPUs in Intel’s hopper. 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 previously teased its discrete cards, it read “limited edition”. That could be the fifth GPU, which would presumably 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 either 8GB or 10GB of VRAM. The two SKUs below it have 8GB of VRAM, and the last – the A380 – is an entry-level GPU. That indicates that it may have 4 GB or possibly 6 GB of VRAM.
Such delays are not good news for Intel. The window seems to be closing for the period when the company could theoretically have the market all to itself. That’s assuming it would have launched with high volume and reasonable prices. In the first quarter, when they were due to launch, the GPU market was in a terrible state. There was no offer and the cards on offer were sold at scalper prices. It was bad enough that PCGamer wrote an open letter to Intel begging for help. Since neither AMD nor Nvidia GPUs were even remotely available, now was Intel’s time to shine. The company replied that it was “on it” and very well aware of the situation.
Now, a few months later, times have surprisingly changed. Not only do GPU prices continue to drop month after month, but Nvidia GPUs are now back in stock. Also, a late Q2 or Q3 launch puts Intel’s fledgling efforts in the crosshairs of upgraded AMD RDNA2 GPUs (RX 6950XT, etc.), and possibly even Nvidia Ada Lovelace GPUs. That will no doubt be some stiff competition, not to mention the launch of RDNA3 at the end of the year. Of course, we hope these rumors are not true. However, given the history of Intel’s Arc project, they seem rather believable.