Intel has been working on discrete graphics cards for many years and has just announced that its new GPU will arrive on the PC market under the Intel ARC brand name. Don’t Google this quite yet because you’ll likely find Intel Ark instead, which is Intel’s CPU specifications database.

Intel has been on the road to building a discrete GPU product for more than a decade: remember Larrabee 1 and Larrabee 2, two ambitious projects that did not quite make it.

Intel is no stranger to GPUs and ships many of them in the form of graphics units integrated into some CPU products. As such, the company has a lot of experience with graphics standards and drivers. As of late, the integrated graphics have had an excellent performance bump but are not replacing even low-end discrete graphics from AMD or NVIDIA.

The Intel Xe graphics architecture for graphics cards was recently featured in the Intel Xe DG1 card, and its performance was comparable to an NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030, which has about half the speed of a GTX 1060.

Today’s announcement will translate into Intel’s DG2 hardware (codename “alchemist”) hitting the market under the Intel ARC brand in Q1 2022. We don’t know what the performance is like, but this is an essential step for intel as the company seems ready to compete in at least some market segments.

According to the company, the new hardware supports advanced features such as hardware raytracing with AI-based noise reduction and super-sampling. From an API perspective, Intel will offer “full support for DirectX 12”.

For years, the graphics industry had consolidated from about 50 companies when I started working in video games development to a handful today. It’s exciting to have a major company like Intel (re)entering the high-end graphics market, and we’ll have to see what comes out of it.

In the end, GPU metrics to watch are straightforward: absolute performance, performance per Watt, and performance per dollar spent. Let’s see what Intel can do.

Watch Intel’s announcement:

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