MSI has unveiled its first Intel Arc GPU, a low-profile graphics card containing the budget Arc A380 card – the same somewhat underwhelming GPU that has already been released in China by manufacturers Gunnir and ASRock. The MSI A380 is currently only available on pre-built PCs, appearing on a sensibly priced MSI gaming desktop at Chinese online retailer Tmall.
The new version of MSI’s A380 card is compact and doesn’t require an external power connector (it draws power directly from the motherboard’s PCIe slot), which can be a boon for gamers looking for a graphics card that doesn’t consume a lot of power. – especially in the face of Nvidia’s monstrous power requirements for upcoming RTX 4000 Series.
But it all feels a bit ‘too little, too late’ for the Intel Arc. german technology site Igor’s Laboratory stated last week that a partner at AIB – the manufacturers that produce third-party GPU models for Nvidia, AMD and Intel – has dropped the Arc program altogether due to quality concerns. That would be a severe blow to Intel, especially when the company is already facing great difficulties at the launch of the Arc.
While the current generation of Intel Alder Lake CPUs may be doing just fine, its GPU venture – which it first announced three whole years ago – has apparently stumbled across all the obstacles in its path. Covid delays, global chip shortages and, presumably, the war in Ukraine have all severely impacted the development and launch of the Arc series, and it looks like Intel may have fallen for a game it can’t win.
See, while Intel has been busy trying to get its first-gen Arc GPUs up to speed with Nvidia and AMD’s current-gen counterparts, these two competitors aren’t exactly resting on their laurels. Nvidia’s RTX 4000 and AMD’s RDNA 3 GPUs are on the way, and current performance details suggest that Intel will be left in the dust almost immediately.
The constant confusion on Intel’s part didn’t help either. own performance boost feature causing issues for a single missing line of code tank ray tracing performance, Arc had a seriously rough initial release; and that’s before we even properly see desktop boards for sale in the West.
Even beyond issues like these, overall performance has been mediocre. The high-end A7 cards failed to impress, and while the A380 seen here is decent, it isn’t doing anything to differentiate itself from competing RTX 3050 and RX 6400 cards. The lower spec A3 cards were even weaker from a performance per dollar standpoint.
It’s honestly hard to see how Intel could retrieve this one from the edge of the cliff. While its current best hope seems to be positioning itself as a cost-effective alternative to Nvidia’s expensive but powerful GPUs, it will only take a strong budget choice from Nvidia or AMD to sink the Arc for good. It’s sad, because a third major player producing graphics cards it was exciting, but sadly, it looks like Arc won’t recover for a while – if at all.