Intel Arc discrete graphics are coming to GPUs to take on Nvidia, AMD

Intel Arc
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel today revealed "Arc" as the brand for its next-generation discrete graphics cards for mobile and desktop. 

Arc isn't a specific GPU, but rather, the platform under which multiple generations of graphics solutions — involving both software and hardware — will be released. The first of these generations is set to release in Q1 2022 under the codename “Alchemist." Subsequent launches will be called Battlemage, Celestial and Druid. 

“The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere,” Roger Chandler, head of Intel’s client GPU business, said. “We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year.”

Intel will continue to use the "Xe" name for these upcoming chips, suggesting they use the same underlying architecture. Most ultra-thin laptops are equipped with Iris Xe graphics using the Xe LP architecture; other versions include Xe-HPC for high-performance computing and Xe-HP for servers. 

But the one to look out for is Xe-HPG, the architecture for high-end consumer graphics and Intel's response to AMD Radeon and Nvidia RTX solutions. According to our sister site AnandTech, Intel has been testing the first Xe-HPG release, Alchemist, in its labs since fall. Alchemist will support ray tracing, mesh shading, variable-rate shading, and video upscaling when it arrives in early 2022. Moreover, the chip will be fully DirectX 12 Ultimate compliant and use AI-accelerated supersampling (which sounds like Intel's version of Nvidia's DLSS or AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution).

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We haven't seen these graphics in action but Intel's Twitter account released teaser footage showing pre-production Arc graphics running several modern games. Intel also launched an Arc website this morning with more details about the upcoming graphics solutions. We expect to hear more about Arc and Alchemist in the coming months as Intel gets closer to launching its first high-end discrete GPU. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.