Intel has been working on its own line of dedicated graphics cards for a few years, culminating in the first Arc 5 and Arc 7 cards earlier this year. Intel is now preparing a ‘Pro’ series of cards with faster performance and more features.
Intel revealed its first Intel Arc Pro A-Series GPUs today, which will go on sale “later this year from leading mobile and desktop ecosystem partners.” Just like the first round of Arc graphics cards, the Pro series is intended for productivity work, not playing games. Intel says the cards are designed for applications like Blender, Adobe Premiere Pro, Handbrake, and DaVinci Resolve Studio.
Each of the cards support two 8K displays (7860 x 4320) at 60 Hz, one ultrawide 5K screen (5120 x 1440) at 240 Hz, two normal 5K displays (5120 x 2880) at 120 Hz, or one 4K screen (3820 x 2160) at 60 Hz. There’s also full compatibility with ray tracing, AV1 video encoding, DirectX 12 Ultimate, OpenCL, Vulkan, Dolby Vision HDR. The cards are built for “modern PCIe 4.0 x8 systems,” so they’re relatively future-proof, but Intel pointed out that they’ll still work at the fatest-possible speeds on PCs with older PCIe slots.
There are three designs in the works. First is the Arc Pro A40 GPU, a lower-power card that only takes up a single PCIe slot — ideal for small PCs. There’s also the Arc Pro A50 GPU, a larger card with more performance and memory bandwidth, intended for full-power workstations. Finally, the Arc Pro A30M is a mobile chipset design that will be available in future laptops. All of them are based on TSMC’s 6-nanometer process.
The Arc A380 card that arrived in China and other markets earlier this year was surprisingly capable for gaming, but that model only targeted the low end of the GPU market. The upcoming Pro A40 and A50 cards should be slightly better, as they have the same 6 GB of GDDR6 memory as the A380, but with more graphics memory bandwidth (both 192 GB/s, compared to 186 GB/s).
The new Pro cards still aren’t intended for mainstream gaming, but they are another step towards competing with NVIDIA and AMD. The graphics card market has been a duopoly for many years, and it’s exciting to see a third player emerge — even if it’s a slow process.