Intel Arc Alchemist Gaming Cards Allegedly Incoming From ASUS, Gigabyte And MSI
Hey, have you heard? Intel is releasing its first modern discrete graphics card next year! Of course you've heard, because Intel has not kept its high-level plans a secret, not by a long shot. Lower-level details have been a bit tougher to source, though Intel has shared some additional info in recent weeks, and of course the leaks and rumors scene is as active as ever. And as it pertains to the latter, it's said ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI are all prepping Alchemist cards.
In case you have managed to dodge the flurry of information regarding Intel's discrete GPU plans, Alchemist will get the party started in the desktop graphics card arena. Intel is tapping TMSC's 6-nanometer node for its first run of GPUs, a decision that came down to evaluating cost, performance, and capacity—the three factors Intel considers regardless of whether it decides to build chips in-house or externally.
This was mentioned by Intel's graphics boss, Raja Koduri, during a recently published interview by a Japanese news outlet. During the interview, he confirmed that Intel's hardware partners will get in on the Alchemist action.
"Partners and I think there will be a differentiation of ODM [original design manufacturer], and that will lead to the ultimate customer interest," Koduri said.
The implication there is that add-in board (AIB) partners are likely to veer off from the reference blueprint and offer up custom-cooled and perhaps overclocked models. Which would not be surprising—they do the same for most graphics card models from AMD and NVIDIA. It's only a question mark here because this is Intel's first discrete GPU effort since Larrabee, which it scrapped over a decade ago.
What he did not reveal, however, is a list of add-in board (AIB) partners that will be cranking out Alchemist cards. To that end, multiple Chinese news outlets report that ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI are all on board, and possibly others.
To what extent, that remains to be seen. But it's nice to see that the major players are bringing Alchemist into the fold, rather than leaving Intel to go at it alone with reference designs. It's also not surprising. After all, ASUS and Palit had both already built a card around Intel's early DG1 Software Development Vehicle (SDV) for testing among developers.
Also worth noting is that Alchemist gaming GPUs will have baked-in overclocking support. It is extremely plausible, then, that ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI will employ factory overclocks to their custom models, or at least some of them.
Final specs and other details will have to wait, though if previous rumors end up being correct, Intel's performance target is around the same level as a GeForce RTX 3070 or Radeon RX 6700 XT. That wouldn't be class-leading, but perhaps good enough to make a splash.
Additionally, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is on record saying he expects the company is "gonna start being in a position to really put pressure on NVIDIA for the first time in forever." Would that be nice!