Intel Explains Arc GPU Delay And Updated Desktop Graphics Card Launch Schedule

Intel Arc Alchemist Graphics Card Hero
As recently as yesterday, we've posted rumors regarding the eventual release of Intel's Arc graphics cards. Sure, they've already appeared in laptops—at least in low-end form—but the higher-end cards, as well as any desktop parts at all, are nowhere to be seen yet.

Almost as if in response to the rumors going around yesterday, Intel's VP and GM of its Visual Compute Group, Lisa Pearce, posted a blog entry that offers answers to what are apparently "the top questions that [Intel has] received from the community over the past few weeks."

Naturally, two of those three questions are about availability. The top question is regarding mobile Arc graphics parts, and the company says it planned to have more Arc parts in customers' hands by this point, but COVID-19 along with "software readiness delays" for the slow launch disrupted things. Pearce also states that laptops with Arc 5 and Arc 7 graphics will start appearing in "early summer."

alchemist original render
We're going to be bummed if we can't buy a card that looks like this.

Question 2 is the big one: where is desktop Arc? Intel says they are indeed coming in Q2, but that availability is going to be limited to low-end parts, at OEMs in China, at first. Pearce cites "proximity to board components and strong demand for entry-level discrete products" as the reason.

After the Chinese launch of lower-end parts in Q2, Intel says says that it will focus on moving those parts global before then rolling out Arc A5 and A7 desktop cards worldwide, again focusing on OEMs and system integrators. Based on Intel's comments, it sounds like we won't see standalone Arc A7 GPU sales until Q3, perhaps late in the quarter.

We probably don't need to reiterate what we said yesterday, but we will anyway: this puts Arc in a rough position, with its product stack likely tightly-compressed at the lower- and perhaps lower-midrange part of the market. It's possible, of course, that Arc could be much faster than we expect, or that AMD and NVIDIA could suffer delays in the launch of their next-gen parts. We wouldn't put money on either option, though.