Intel has released an update on the timeline for its long-awaited entry into the discrete graphics game: Arc GPUs for laptops will ship soon in Q1 2022 (where they will fit neatly on machines running Intel’s new 12th-generation Alder Lake H-series CPUs it launched. at CES 2022). Arc desktop GPUs will have to wait a little longer: Intel says they won’t arrive until sometime in the second quarter, while graphics cards for workstations won’t be available until the third quarter.
Intel has quietly announced a new, upcoming service for its Arc GPUs – “Project Endgame”, which allows customers to stream access to Intel’s graphics cards for an “always accessible, low-latency computing experience”. The exact mechanisms aren’t entirely clear here, but it sounds like Intel is allowing customers to rent GPUs in the cloud, or even a full-fledged front-end gaming service like Nvidia’s GeForce Now subscription.
There are almost no details on Project Endgame yet, including things like what kind of GPU access it will give customers, how much it will cost, or if it will even be a gaming-focused product. But Intel says it will arrive sometime later this year, so we’ll probably find out more soon. The fact that Intel is planning some sort of cloud streaming service is also the latest sign of confidence the company has in its discrete GPUs.
In addition, Intel has announced that it has begun architectural work on its third generation of Arc GPUs, codenamed “Celestial”. (For reference, Alchemist is the first generation of GPUs to be released this year, while a second generation of hardware, “Battlemage”, is already in the works). Most notably, though, the third-generation Celestial GPUs are said to offer “a product that will appeal to the ultra-enthusiastic segment” — meaning Intel could set its sights on adopting graphics cards like Nvidia’s flagship 3090 Ti or AMD’s RX 6900 XT.
That said, it’s probably worth tempering expectations: After all, Intel has yet to release its first-generation GPUs, and it will likely be some time before that. third generation graphics cards are ready for the market.