In the context: Intel has always been going to struggle with launching its discrete Arc graphics cards in the face of stiff competition, rough economics, and mediocre, often glitchy performance. But the company was likely unprepared for the level of apathy that has reportedly caused even its partners to shun Arc cards.

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Igor Vallossek from Igor’s laboratory writes that he spoke with some dealers, potential distributors and manufacturers in Europe about Intel Arc cards, and there was little interest in them. It is argued that, unlike Nvidia and AMD, Intel was either unable or unwilling to issue any price guarantees, and its RMA and returns policies were significantly worse than those of its competitors.

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Vallossek notes that Intel seems to be focusing on system integrators and OEM customers of its Alchemist cards, and is making the retail market much less of a priority (or not at all). There are also allegations that one of Intel’s major partners has completely stopped production of Intel cards due to quality issues, which certainly sounds alarming.

Our very own Steve Walton recently looked at entry level Arc 3 A380, the only card in the series released so far, and it’s only available in China. The card is expected to cost between $120 and $130, making it one of the cheapest new GPUs out there, but the results do suggest a “get what you pay for” scenario. And it’s generous: The 5-year-old RX 570, which originally cost $170, beats it.

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What’s more, the Arc 3 A380 still requires a lot more support when it comes to drivers, and performance drops drastically without the Resizable Bar, though Intel should be able to fix those issues.

Arc’s troubles were exacerbated by Intel’s recent financial report, which says its Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group (AXG) has fixed $507 million operating loss for the previous quarter as a result of weakening demand for PCs and components. Intel explained that most of the money comes from “inventory holdings and investments in road plans.”

CEO Pat Gelsinger revealed that the company will fall short of its internal goal of selling four million Arc GPUs this year. He also talked about driver issues that many reviewers have complained about. “We thought we could use an integrated graphics software stack, but it was completely inadequate for the required levels of performance, game compatibility, and so on,” Gelsinger said.

Some in the industry say that Intel is even considering throwing in the towel and shutting down the entire Alchemist project due to its costs and apparent lack of interest, joining Optane in the tech graveyard.

Complete cancellation is a last resort. Things must improve by the time the Arc cards get their full launch, but it’s certainly not good for Chipzilla. At least AV1 hardware encoder in Arc A380 beat Nvidia and AMD H.264 encoders in initial real world tests, that’s it.