Intel has been hard at work on its upcoming high-performance graphics card for a while, but it has finally been tested. And the results so far seem promising.

Intel logo
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The logo of Intel Corporation at the Thailand Game Show 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. 26 October, 2019.

In a report by PCGamer, the pre-production Intel graphics card (codenamed "Arc") was just tested in a gameplay video posted on the Intel Gaming YouTube channel. Furthermore, they also said that the long-rumored DG2 GPU will now be called "Alchemist"). Here is the gameplay video:

In the video, Intel showed off their pre-production chip running several AAA games such as "Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord," "Metro Exodus," and even the "Crysis Remastered Trilogy." There aren't any performance figures on the video (i.e., frame rates), but it's obvious that the games are on high-max visual settings, and they're playable.

There are also shots of what looks like a pre-rendered scene from an unnamed game engine, which seems like it's running real-time ray tracing judging from how the reflections look.

According to the Intel website, the new Arc graphics card series is slated to "deliver high performance gaming, immersive visuals, and seamless game streaming/creation experiences." The release date is set at Q1 2022, with both hardware, software, and streaming services covered.

The name "Arc" is alleged to go in the same vein as GeForce or Radeon, which will help Intel's cause in terms of branding. This means that potential buyers would not have to Google "Intel graphics card" and could instead only type something like "Intel Arc", which is a lot easier.

Read also: Intel Reveals New 11th Gen Processors, Taking Windows Laptops to the Next Level

Intel Arc: Not Your Typical Integrated Graphics

For years, Intel has only offered integrated graphics as a part of their high-performance CPUs. These integrated graphics chips have so far been underwhelming until the release of the Iris Xe series in their 11th-gen parts. However, still fell way short of the mainstream competition from NVIDIA and AMD, which has maintained a graphics card market duopoly for so long.

One big thing about the Intel Arc GPUs is that it's going to have ray-tracing capabilities, according to Engadget. This is going to be in line with what modern GPUs have been bringing to the table ever since NVIDIA first introduced them for gaming in 2018.

Furthermore, Team Blue also claims that their GPUs will support AI-powered supersampling, reminiscent of NVIDIA's DLSS (Deep-Learning Supersampling) and AMD's FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution).

The game lineup in the gameplay test video alone is enough to point out that the Intel Arc is not merely integrated graphics. If Team Blue plays their cards right and the GPUs will be on-par with high-level offerings from NVIDIA or AMD, then it's going to be great for GPU shoppers to have another major choice.

Intel hq logo
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Signage with logo at the Silicon Valley headquarters of computer hardware manufacturer Intel, Santa Clara, California, August 17, 2017.

What's the Pricing Going to Be Like?

There is no actual word yet about the pricing of Intel Arc graphics cards. But judging from the confirmed technologies within (i.e., ray tracing and AI supersampling), perhaps the first few models off the assembly line aren't going to be cheap. There is a confidence that Intel will release high-end cards before mid-rangers and entry-level models, just like what NVIDIA and AMD have been doing for their most recent GPU releases.

Related: Intel Arc Brings a New Gaming Graphics Brand for Mobile and PCs, to Debut in 2022


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Written by RJ Pierce

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