The first third-party post-launch review for Intel's Arc discrete graphics was published yesterday and to the delight of many who are displeased with the AMD-Nvidia duopoly, Intel's new offering actually did fairly well in the test. Though if you are after a review with less gaming and more compute numbers, you should head over to this article instead.
However, despite the good showing overall from Arc, you may not be able to get your hands on an Arc GPU, at least for a while, if you were looking to put it in a desktop. That's because Intel has officially confirmed that it will only release desktop Arc initially in China via OEMs and system integrators. And though this is technically not a delay as the company's launch timeframe is exactly what was promised, it will still be disappointment for most people worldwide, outside of China, who were looking forward to desktop Arc.
Intel explains that the move is to limit the number of variation of Arc Alchemist discrete GPUs for the time being. The company may feel that it can become tricky for vendors as well as consumers if DIY channels for an all new family of graphics products are opened up this early since no one is quite familiar with Arc yet.
Like on laptops, at first, only the entry level Arc 3 (A3) discrete graphics cards will be available. DIY Arc 3 products will follow later and will also be China-exclusive initially. The higher end Arc 5 and Arc 7 desktop GPUs will launch afterwards and will follow the same pattern as that of Arc 3.
Intel shared this information in a community blog post penned by the company's Graphics Software Engineering Director, Lisa Pearce. She writes:
Unlike notebook designs, desktop systems have a vast set of combinations, including memory, motherboards, and CPUs. To initially limit some of this variation, we will launch working with system builders and OEMs with specific configurations.
We will release our entry-level Intel Arc A-series products for desktops (A3) first in China through system builders and OEMs in Q2. Etail and retail component sales will follow shortly in China as well. Proximity to board components and strong demand for entry-level discrete products makes this a natural place to start. Our next step will be to scale these products globally.
Roll-out of Intel Arc A5 and A7 desktop cards will start worldwide with OEMs and system integrators later this summer, followed by component sales in worldwide channels.
Overall, it looks like Intel is limiting the sale of Arc products to Asian markets only initially as this move follows its earlier decision of capping the sale of the Arc mobile discrete GPUs to just Korea.