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Intel Finally Launches an Arc Desktop GPU, in China

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(Photo: Intel)The big day has finally arrived. Intel has officially launched its very first desktop GPU, the Arc A380. (Cue the noise makers and confetti.) Now, before you get in your car and ask Siri to point you towards the nearest Best Buy, note the GPU has only launched in China. Still, it’s an exciting development in what is now a years-long quest by Intel to enter the GPU market.

The launch of its first GPU is part of Intel’s staggered global rollout for Arc. It had said previously it would launch in China first, then expand to other parts of the world. The reason it’s starting in China is “proximity to board components and strong demand for entry-level discrete products,” according to a prior statement from Intel.

The launch of the first Arc GPU allows us to see an Arc GPU’s price tag for the first time. According to Videocardz, the card’s price translates to $153. Obviously, this is an entry-level GPU, which is where Intel said it would begin with Arc. Its specs include eight Xe cores, a 2,000MHz base clock, and a 75W TDP. Its low TDP means it doesn’t need a power connector, as it can draw that much from the PCIe slot. It includes 6GB of GDDR6 memory clocked at 16Gb/s. It utilizes a narrow 96-bit memory bus and offers 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Despite its modest specifications, Intel says it’s still a great 1080p/60fps gaming card. It released a chart showing how it’s capable of exceeding that resolution/frame rate benchmark on a variety of popular games. Those titles include DOTA 2, Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, and similar games. The GPU supports DirectX 12 features the Xe Media Engine. This allows hardware AV1 encoding acceleration, and it also offers HEVC and H.264 encode and decode. It will also support Intel’s AI-based super-scaling, XeSS.

(Image: Intel)

The A380 is positioned against AMD’s recently-launched, entry-level Radeon 6400 GPU. Overall, the two GPUs are very similar, especially their diminutive size and single-fan coolers. Intel’s GPU seems to beat it out in the specs department though. It has a slightly higher TDP — 75W versus AMD’s 53W — but 6GB of VRAM compare to AMD’s 4GB. The AMD card is priced similarly, at $160 USD. The AMD GPU also has a tiny 64-bit memory bus, making it only slightly better than integrated graphics. Intel claims its A380 offers 25 percent more performance-per-yuan than its competitors, but it doesn’t name them.

Intel says the A380 is now available to system builders, but soon it’ll be available to OEMs as well. In its press release it says its partners are Asus, Gigabyte, Gunnir, HP, and MSI. Though we’re obviously more interested in the higher-end GPUs from Intel, at least we can now see the ball is rolling. The company says the rest of its GPU lineup will be released “later this summer.”

Arc was initially supposed to have already launched, but it’s been plagued with setbacks. On top of COVID-19 lockdowns and supply chain turmoil, the company has also been having “software readiness” issues as well.

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