Intel Arc Alchemist Desktop GPUs May Have Just Been Hit With Another Delay

intel arc desktop gpu hero
Rumors of the desktop PC market's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, while laptops still outsell desktops, the majority of laptops sold don't have discrete graphics. Meanwhile, AMD's setting sales records with its Ryzen processors that overwhelmingly don't include an integrated graphics processor, putting heavy demand on an already-overloaded discrete GPU market.

For that reason, we've been waiting with bated breath for Intel's Arc Alchemist graphics cards for a long time. The influx of product from a third vendor, particularly one that intends to move a lot of graphics cards, could really help ease up pricing in a strained segment—although it seems like the market is already relaxing, if slowly.

Well, it looks like we might be waiting yet longer to see the debut of Intel's Alchemist GPUs on the desktop market. According to a report from good ol' Igor Wallossek, Intel's pushing its desktop Arc Alchemist cards back once again, this time toward late summer. Specifically, Igor says that the cards will arrive on the market sometime between the beginning of July and the end of August.

intel arc performance monitoring
A sneak peek of Intel's Arc Control.

That's not great news considering that the company has promised to bring Arc to desktops this quarter, and Arc is already behind schedule relative to when we initially thought it would release. Igor doesn't cite his sources, of course, so this is strictly in the realm of rumor territory. For its part, Intel has promised the high-end Arc Limited Edition card by the end of Q2, which means the end of next month, about seven weeks away.

At this stage, given that the launch has been delayed several times, and given that there is Arc silicon on the market in laptops, it's very unlikely that anything to do with the hardware or manufacturing side is involved in the delay. Instead, as Igor surmises, it's almost assuredly to do with the driver software. GPU drivers are enormously complex and difficult to maintain; just ask AMD's Radeon group.

intel arc desktop gpu
Intel's Arc Limited Edition cards are promised for this quarter.

To paraphrase what Shigeru Miyamoto once said, a late product could eventually be good, but a rushed product is forever bad. However, these delays could end up eating into Intel's margins a bit. Not only is the GPU shortage easing, meaning that Intel won't be able to mark up its cards, but AMD and NVIDIA are both gearing up to release monstrous next-generation graphics hardware that could steal considerable thunder from Alchemist.

Of course, we don't know that. Alchemist could be amazing, and competitive with next-generation parts. That's pretty unlikely given what we know about it, though. At this stage, the best Intel can probably hope for is that it can release Alchemist in a functional and stable state, thus saving performance competitions for the next-gen. Hopefully we'll see for ourselves soon.