Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs, rumored to launch in March, will take over the RTX 3060 and 3070.

In the context: The PC community has long awaited the launch of Intel’s first truly dedicated gaming GPUs, and now that day is just around the corner. With competition from AMD and Nvidia likely to come later that year, it seems likely that the launch window for the first generation of upcoming Intel Arc GPUs (codenamed Alchemist) will appear in early 2022. But how will Alchemist GPUs compare to existing competitors?

Thanks to new rumors allegedly published on ExpReview forums, we finally have an answer to this question. ExpReview, for those who don’t know, is a Chinese tech news site that has a strong focus on PC hardware coverage, including reviews, benchmarks, and leaks.

According to the site, Intel’s Alchemist architecture should launch with multiple models sometime in March 2022 – a January release was reportedly scheduled but had to be delayed by a couple of months. Either way, from the looks of it, Q1 is still on the table.

Intel’s planned offerings include three discrete desktop GPUs and five laptop GPUs (mostly desktop card options).

The desktop lineup will include Intel Xe HPG 512 EU, 384 EU and 128 EU.

The rumored 128 EU will have 1,024 ALUs, 6GB of VRAM, 75W TGP and a 96-bit memory bus. Intel hopes the 128 EU will be able to beat Nvidia’s GTX 1650, but with RT support – something that neither the 1650 nor the 1650 Super lacks. This is understandable, given the drop in performance when such functions are enabled. The base clock speed here is likely to be limited to 2.5 GHz.

The 512 EU will ship with 16GB of VRAM, 4096 ALUs, 256-bit memory bus, 225W TGP and rumored clock speed around 2.5GHz. Blue Team is positioning this model as a competitor to Nvidia’s RTX 3070 and 3070 Ti.

On the other hand, 384 EU will take on the younger 3060 and 3060 Ti with 192-bit memory bus, up to 12 GB of video memory, TGP of about 200 W and 3072 ALU.

The 128 EU laptop version drops the VRAM to a paltry 4GB and cuts power consumption to around 30W. Another low-end laptop chip, 96 EU, drops the ALU count to 768, while keeping everything else pretty much the same.

Intel’s high-performance GPUs for Alchemist notebooks differ from their desktop counterparts primarily in lower TGP power consumption across the board (up to 150W for 512 EU and up to 120W for 384 EU). The average 256 EU is a laptop-only card with 2048 ALUs, 8GB VRAM, 128-bit bus and TGP up to 80W.

As you can see, Intel is primarily targeting the current generation AMD and Nvidia cards with the first release of a gaming GPU. As such, fans of Blue Team may have to wait for the company’s next GPU architecture – codenamed “Battlemage” – as an Intel alternative for AMD’s RDNA3 and Nvidia Lovelace cards.

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