In a move that’s only mildly upsetting given the fact that GPU aficionados have grown accustomed to disappointment, Intel is seemingly pushing the launch of its all-new Arc graphics technology back a smidge. Just a few weeks ago Intel was boasting of a “Q1 2022” launch for its eagerly anticipated graphics technology in marketing materials and via language on its website, but apparently that’s no longer the case. The company has removed the phrase “Q1” from its website, leaving just “2022” as the launch window.
We’re not sure what changed, but we do know it is a recent development. Your humble author wrote a piece about Intel showing off a demo of its Arc discrete graphics card on December 13th, and in that video it says Q1 2022 at the very end.
The real kicker though is when you go to the landing page Intel designed for its Arc technology, the phrasing has been altered. We loaded up the page in the Internet Wayback Machine to see what it used to look like, compared to what’s there now, and the results are below (compared to today).
The news of the delay is a bit surprising, because all signs pointed towards Intel hitting its deadline. As recently as three days ago, in its CES keynote, an Intel executive stood on stage and announced it was currently shipping Intel Arc mobile GPUs to its OEM partners for gaming laptops, and right next to her was a graphic that said it was “Coming Q1 2022.”
OEM integration is not instant, but the fact that Intel has pushed back this late in the game suggests that either it needs more time to build hardware supply or that OEMs need more time to prep systems for shipment.
So that means all lights were green on Tuesday, but something changed on Wednesday or Thursday, which is when Videocardz was alerted to the discrepancy by an anonymous reader. Anandtech author Ryan Smith reached out to Intel about the sudden change, according to his post on Reddit, and they told him, “At present, the company is not offering any specific product release details (such as mobile vs. desktop). The most detailed information they are handing out at this time is that they are targeting the first Alchemist products to be in market in Q1 2022.”
This news is bound to disappoint gamers who have been waiting patiently for what seems like years for Intel to enter the GPU arena. The pandemic-related chip shortage has caused such a glut of GPUs that just the notion of a new graphics card theoretically being available for purchase from a big company like Intel was enough to make people excited, especially as Intel has vowed to take on Nvidia and AMD with a very competitive GPU. At the same time, the company has been rather tight lipped about almost all of the aspects of its first generation product, the Arc Alchemist. Even after all this time and all this PR, we still don’t have final specs, pricing, launch date, etc. We don’t even know if the company is launching Arc first on mobile, desktop, or if both will arrive simultaneously. This lack of information felt kind of weird just a few weeks ago since it was close to launching, but now that Intel has scrubbed its website it makes a bit more sense. Given the fact that gamers have been unable to actually buy a decent GPU at a reasonable price for over a year now, this news from Intel just adds a bit more salt to the wound.