In a recent update from a senior Intel official, the much-anticipated Arc Xe2 Battlemage line of discrete graphics cards is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2024, enriching the landscape of gaming GPUs for the year. This revelation follows the debut of Intel’s first generation of discrete GPUs in 2022, which encountered delays but introduced the Xe-HPG architecture, codenamed Alchemist.
The upcoming Xe2-HPG architecture, known as Intel Arc Battlemage, has been shrouded in secrecy regarding release details. However, during CES 2024, Intel Fellow Tom Petersen provided insights to PCWorld, stating that approximately “about 30%” of Intel’s engineers are currently dedicated to finalizing the Battlemage line. The focus of their efforts lies predominantly in the software domain, while the hardware team is already making strides with the next endeavour – the Arc Xe3 Celestial architecture.
The Battlemage project is progressing steadily, with the first chips already existing in Intel’s labs. Petersen expressed optimism that the GPU line would be ready for launch before CES 2025. Considering this projection and recent leaks aligning with Intel’s roadmap, it seems plausible that Battlemage may grace the market by late 2024.
Intel’s return to the GPU market was initially met with enthusiasm from consumers, providing healthy competition to Nvidia and AMD. However, the first-gen Alchemist graphics cards faced criticism due to lacklustre software, limiting their overall potential. Recognizing this, Intel has been diligently addressing software improvements, raising hopes among enthusiasts that the Battlemage generation will not encounter similar issues at launch.
The Intel GPU roadmap extends beyond Battlemage, featuring two confirmed product generations: Celestial and Druid. Limited information is available about these upcoming releases, but Celestial is anticipated to be based on TSMC’s 3nm process node. Concurrently, Intel is exploring consumer-facing applications for its GPU technology, underscored by the recent introduction of the MSI Claw. Positioned as a vibrant rival to the Steam Deck, the MSI Claw boasts Intel Arc graphics, showcasing the company’s commitment to expanding the reach of its GPU technology.
Intel’s journey in the discrete GPU market has been a dynamic one, with each release contributing to the refinement of its offerings. As the Battlemage line prepares for its debut, consumers eagerly anticipate not only improved hardware performance but also a more polished and optimized software experience. The late 2024 launch window aligns with industry expectations, setting the stage for a competitive year in the gaming GPU market.