Intel has given an update on the timeline for its long-awaited entry into the discrete graphics game: Arc GPUs for laptops are set to ship soon in Q1 2022 (where they’ll slot in neatly on machines with Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake H-series CPUs that it launched at CES 2022). Arc desktop GPUs will still have a bit of a wait ahead of them: Intel says that they won’t be arriving until sometime in Q2, while workstation graphics cards won’t hit until Q3.
Intel has quietly announced a new, upcoming service for its Arc GPUs — “Project Endgame,” which will allow customers to stream access Intel’s graphics cards for an “always-accessible, low-latency computing experience.” The exact mechanisms here aren’t totally clear, but it sounds like Intel will allow 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 yet on Project Endgame, including things like what kind of GPU access it’ll give customers, how much it’ll cost, or whether it’ll even be a gaming-focused product. But Intel is saying that it’ll arrive sometime later this year, so we’ll presumably find out more soon. The fact that Intel is planning some sort of cloud streaming service is also the latest sign of confidence that the company has in its discrete GPUs.
Additionally, Intel announced that it’s started architecture work on its third-generation of Arc GPUs, codenamed “Celestial”. (For reference, Alchemist is the first generation of GPUs that’s set to arrive this year, while a second generation of hardware, “Battlemage”, is already in the works). Most notably, though, is that the third-gen Celestial GPUs are said to offer “a product that will address the ultra-enthusiast segment” — meaning that Intel could be setting its sights on taking on the 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 still has yet to release its first-generation GPUs yet, and it’ll presumably be some time before its’ third-generation graphics cards are ready for market.