Intel announces ARC high-performance GPU brand with ray tracing + more, coming Q1 2022

Today, Intel gave us a look at its upcoming high-performance graphics brand, Arc. Arc will encompass hardware, software, and services from the well-known processor brand as its first foray into graphics in many years. Sure, most Intel processors have integrated graphics, but that’s nothing compared to high-end GPUs. So, to combat the increasing pressure from NVIDIA and AMD, Intel is focusing on a scalable graphics and compute architecture for multiple product launches, including those that support hardware-based ray tracing and supersampling, as well as full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate. What all does this mean for computing, and when can we expect these products to hit shelves? Find out more below.

Intel’s first graphics cards under the Arc branding are slated to launch in Q1 2022

Intel’s new Arc brand is slated to launch its first product line, Alchemist, in first quarter 2022. These products will be part of the consumer-focused high-performance graphics portion of the brand. This will cover hardware, software, and services. The first generation is based on Intel’s new Xe HPG microarchitecture. Intel also revealed codenames for future generations under the Arc brand, including Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid.

“Today marks a key moment in the graphics journey we started just a few years ago. The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere. We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year.”

Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions

Intel is aiming to deliver real-time hardware-based ray tracing with Intel Arc graphics for high-end gaming experience

Intel wants to take on both NVIDIA and AMD in the graphics space. Right now, Intel’s integrated graphics are better than ever, but not quite at the level of what AMD delivers for integrated, and absolutely nothing close to NVIDIA or AMD’s dedicated GPUs.

Intel Arc’s Alchemist graphics cards will have the capability to handle real-time hardware-based ray tracing, as well as AI-driven supersampling for a high-quality gaming experience. This is something that NVIDIA has only been doing for two generations, and AMD only got into this year. So, to see that Intel is already on the ball with it is quite impressive. Not only that, but there’ll be full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate, and Intel even showed off some in-game footage from titles like Forza Horizon 4, PUBG, Metro Exodus, and more to showcase the power of its new graphics brand.

Intel Arc is also aimed at creators, not just gamings

Also, in the showcase, Intel talked about how many gamers are also creators. In the video, there’s a clip showing AI upscaling going from 480p to 4K, helping showcase the power that Arc will bring to the table. Intel’s integrated graphics are already a great choice when it comes to hardware transcoding, so hopefully, this new Arc brand will take that to the next level when it comes to streaming and recording.

9to5Toys’ take

I’ve long been an Intel user up until recent years when AMD started making strides again in the space. Well, with Intel turning things up to 11 it seems, I’ll be watching the brand closely from here on out. Arc seems like it can be a substantial leap forward in gaming simplicity and building, similar to AMD’s new APU lineup launched last week. We’ll learn more “in the coming weeks and months” leading up to a release that’s only half a year away.

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