As we get closer to CES 2022, we hear more and more rumors regarding Intel’s ARC Alchemist gaming graphics card lineup based on the Xe-HPG DG2 GPUs.
Intel’s ARC Alchemist High-End Graphics Lineup is rumored for March launch, will include DG2-512 16GB & DG2-384 12GB variants
According to the latest rumors from Expreview forums (via ITHome), it is rumored that Intel had originally planned to launch its ARC Alchemist graphics series in January 2022, but it was postponed until the end of 1. quarter and possibly even slip into the 2nd quarter, but that remains to be seen as Intel may have changed its plans and moved the launch forward. The first ARC Alchemist DG2 GPUs have already been shipped to major AIB partners for debugging, so we can expect a number of custom cards to be available at launch along with the reference models.
As for the lineup itself, it is said that apart from the entry-level ARC A380, which has the DG2-128 GPU (SOC 2), Intel will have two ARC Alchemist graphics cards based on the DG2-512 SKU (SOC 1). Regarding the configurations for each Intel ARC Alchemist GPU, they are listed below in detail:
Intel Xe-HPG 512 EU GPUs Powered ARC Alchemist Gaming Graphics Lineup
The best Alchemist 512 EU (32 Xe Cores) variant is said to have at least three configurations. The full form has 4096 cores, a 256-bit bus interface and up to 16 GB of GDDR6 memory with a 16 Gbps clock, although 18 Gbps cannot be ruled out according to rumors. The following are all ARC 512 EU variants that we can expect based on DG2-SOC1:
- 512 EU (4096 ALUs) / 16 GB @ Up to 18 Gbps / 256-bit / 225 W (Desktops) & 120-150W (Portable)
- 384 EU (3072 ALUs) / 12 GB @ Up to 16 Gbps / 192-bit / 150-200 W (computers) & 80-120 W (portable)
- 256 EU (2048 ALUs) / 8 GB @ Up to 16 Gbps / 128-bit / 60-80 W (portable)
The Xe-HPG Alchemist 512 EU chip is suggested to have clocks at around 2.2 – 2.5 GHz, although we do not know if these are the average clocks or the maximum boost clocks. Let’s assume it’s the maximum clock speed, in which case the card will deliver up to 18.5 TFLOP’s FP32 calculation, which is 40% more than the RX 6700 XT, but 9% lower than the NVIDIA RTX 3070.
In terms of performance positioning, the top 512 EU variant is said to compete against the RTX 3070 / RTX 3070 Ti, 384 the EU variant is said to compete against the RTX 3060 / RTX 3060 Ti on desktops. On the portable side, the 512 EU can be as fast as the RTX 3080, the 384 EU variant around the RTX 3070 level, and the 256 EU ending up against the RTX 3060.
It is also stated that Intel’s original TDP target was 225-250W, but it has been raised to around 275W now. We can also expect a 300W variant with dual 8-pin connectors if Intel wants to push its watches even further. In either case, we can expect the final model to rock an 8 + 6-pin connector configuration. The reference model will also resemble the drone marketing image presented by Intel during the ARC branding revelation.
As for the launch, the SOC1 variants are scheduled for launch in mid-February, and while AIBs wait for the final doors to test with their custom PCB designs, desktop variants can be launched first, followed by laptop and then workstation at the end of 2022.
Intel ARC Alchemist vs NVIDIA GA104 & AMD Navi 22 GPUs
|Graphics card name||Intel ARC A780?||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti||AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT|
|GPU name||Alchemist DG-512||NVIDIA GA104||AMD Navi 22|
|Architecture||Vehicle HPG||Ampere||RDNA 2|
|Process Node||TSMC 6nm||Samsung 8nm||TSMC 7nm|
|Die Size||~ 396mm2||392 mm2||335 mm2|
|FP32 cores||32 cores||48 SM units||40 calculation units|
|Memory capacity||16 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6X||16 GB GDDR6|
|Launch||1st quarter 2022||2nd quarter 2021||1st quarter 2021|
Intel Xe-HPG 128 EU GPUs Powered ARC Alchemist Gaming Graphics Lineup
So finally we have the Intel Xe-HPG Alchemist 128 EU (8 Xe Cores) parts. There are two configurations that have the full-fat SKU with 1024 cores, a 96-bit and a 64-bit variant with 6 GB and 4 GB of memory capacity respectively.
The cut-off variant comes with 96 EUs or 768 cores and a 4 GB GDDR6 memory across a 64-bit bus interface. The chip will also have a clock speed of around 2.2 – 2.5 GHz and has a power consumption of less than 75 W, which means we will be looking at plug-in graphics cards for the entry-level segment.
The following are all ARC 128 EU variants that we can expect based on DG2-SOC2:
- 128 EU (1024 ALUs) / 6 GB @ Up to 16 Gbps / 96-bit / ~ 75 W (desktops)
- 128 EU (1024 ALUs) / 4 GB @ Up to 16 Gbps / 64-bit / 35-30 W (portable)
- 96 EU (768 ALUs) / 4 GB @ Up to 16 Gbps / 64-bit / ~ 35 W (portable)
Performance is expected to land between the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 SUPER, but with raytracing features. A major advantage that Intel could have over AMD and Intel is that with these cards they can enter the US market under $ 250, which has been completely abandoned in the current generation of cards. The GeForce RTX 3050 series has only gotten a portable release so far with the RTX 3060 serving the entry-level Ampere segment for $ 329 US, while the RX 6600 is expected to be AMD’s entry-level solution for around $ 300 US.
This GPU will be very similar to the DG1 GPU-based discrete SDV card, but Alchemist will have a more improved architecture design and definitely more performance enhancement compared to the first generation Xe GPU architecture. This lineup will definitely be aimed at the discreet beginner-level desktop market based on the specifications.
Intel ARC Alchemist vs NVIDIA GA106 & AMD Navi 24 GPUs
|Graphics card name||Intel ARC A350?||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050||AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT||Intel ARC A380?||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050|
|GPU name||ARC Alchemist DG2-128||NVIDIA GA107||AMD Navi 24||ARC Alchemist DG2-128||NVIDIA GA106|
|Architecture||Vehicle HPG||Ampere||RDNA 2||Vehicle HPG||Ampere|
|Process Node||TSMC 6nm||Samsung 8nm||TSMC 7nm||TSMC 6nm||Samsung 8nm|
|Die Size||~ 155 mm2||TBC||TBC||~ 155 mm2||276 mm2|
|FP32 cores||8 cores||16 SM units||16 Calculate units||8 cores||24 SM units|
|Memory capacity||4 GB GDDR6||4 GB GDDR6||4 GB GDDR6||6 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6|
|TDP||35-50W||30-45W||~ 75W||~ 75W||~ 75W|
|Launch||1st quarter 2022||1st quarter 2022||Q2 2022||1st quarter 2022||1st quarter 2022|
Based on the timeline, the Xe-HPG Alchemist series will compete with NVIDIA’s Ampere & AMD RDNA 2 GPUs, as both companies are not expected to launch their next-generation parts by the end of 2022. NVIDIA and AMD are expected to release updates in early 2022, so it may give Intel’s new lineup some competition, but based on current performance expectations, the update may not bring drastic performance differences to the lineup. The Xe-HPG ARC GPUs will also come to the mobility platform and will be featured in Alder Lake-P notebooks. By 2023, Intel will have a proper high-end graphics card lineup that goes up against NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace and AMD RDNA 3 chips in the form of ARC Battlemage.
Intel Xe-HPG-based discrete Alchemist GPU configurations:
|GPU variant||Variant for graphics card||GPU dies||Execution units||Shadow units (cores)||Memory capacity||Memory speed||Memory bus||TGP|
|Xe-HPG 512EU||ARC A780?||Alchemist-512EU||512 EUs||4096||Up to 32/16 GB GDDR6||18/16/14 Gbps||256-bit||~ 225W (computers)
|Vehicle HPG 384EU||ARC A750?||Alchemist-512EU||384 EUs||3072||Up to 12 GB GDDR6||16/14 Gbps||192-bit||150-200W (desktops)
|Vehicle HPG 256EU||ARC A580?||Alchemist-512EU||256 EUs||2048||Up to 8 GB GDDR6||16/14 Gbps||128-bit||60-80W (portable)|
|Xe-HPG 128EU||ARC A380?||Alchemist-128EU||128 EUs||1024||Up to 6 GB GDDR6||16/14 Gbps||96-bit||~ 75W (computers)|
|Xe-HPG 128EU||ARC A350?||Alchemist-128EU||128 EUs||1024||Up to 4 GB GDDR6||16/14 Gbps||64-bit||35-50W (portable)|
|Vehicle HPG 96EU||ARC A330?||Alchemist-128EU||86 EUs||768||Up to 4 GB GDDR6||16/14 Gbps||64-bit||~ 35W (portable)|