Intel confirms no mining limiter for Arc Alchemist cards, can't guarantee availability

midian182

Posts: 7,289   +65
Staff member
In context: There is still plenty we don't know about Alchemist, the first of Intel's upcoming Arc graphics cards. One of the many questions gamers have been asking is will the company follow Nvidia's lead and include some form of mining limiter, thereby making the GPUs less attractive to crypto miners. And now we know the answer: no, it will not.

Gadgets 360 recently took part in a roundtable conversation with Intel's Raja Koduri, SVP and GM of Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics, and Roger Chandler, VP and GM of Client Graphics Products and Solutions. The discussion revolved around the Arc launch and what people can expect from Alchemist, the first-generation of team blue's discreet GPUs based on its Xe-HPG architecture.

The publication asked the pair if Alchemist would have any hardware or software lockouts to discourage mining, akin to what Nvidia uses in its Lite Hash Rate (LHR) cards. The response will likely disappoint gamers hoping that Intel would be giving them priority.

"This is a tough one to answer," said Chandler. "As far as like software lockouts and things of that nature, we're not designing this product or building any features at this point that specifically target miners. As far as actions we're taking to avoid or lock them out, it's a product that will be in the market and people will be able to buy it. It's not a priority for us."

Raja Koduri added that "We're not putting any extra work, yes."

Cryptomining remains one of several factors hammering a graphics card market that has seen prices return to 83% over MSRP. By not adding a limiter, Intel risks incurring the wrath of gamers in the same way AMD has been lambasted for appearing to not care about the community. But with Intel admitting it will take time for Arc to reach the same popularity level as its rivals, the company likely doesn't want to restrict its potential market.

Another issue facing everyone who wants a new graphics card is availability. When it comes to Alchemist, Koduri was careful not to make promises Intel won't be able to keep. "I'll always be very cautious, when the demand is so high and when the market is so hard. I can always use more supply. So I'm not going to say I have enough supply in this high-demand market. I think every one of my competitors will say the same thing right now," he said.

Other areas of the interview include hints of a separate pro-graphics Arc line. Chandler also spoke about Intel's XeSS upscaling technology. He said the company is working with dozens and dozens of game studios so that a "healthy collection" of games are supported when Alchemist arrives, with more launching over time. He also added that XeSS would be backward compatible with Intel's 12-gen Xe-based graphics solutions, including Tiger Lake and the DG1 platforms.

Quite a few of the questions were met with "we can't discuss the details just yet," but make sure to check out the full article on Gadgets 360.

Alchemist is expected to land in early 2022, though recent rumors suggest it has been delayed until the second quarter of the year, with the laptop versions arriving before desktop. We've also seen some concept images for the very D&D-like Arc codenames: Alchemist, Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid.

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winjer

Posts: 271   +1,123
Great, another launch for miners and scalpers.
They should stop calling it GPU, and start calling it MPU: Mining Processing Unit

It will be 2025, before I can upgrade my 2070S.
 

Achaios

Posts: 233   +663
Idc, quite happy I don't need to upgrade as I don't play any triple A games. My Palit 1080 works just fine, let them make more cards for the Miners.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,059   +3,922
TechSpot Elite
Great, another launch for miners and scalpers.
They should stop calling it GPU, and start calling it MPU: Mining Processing Unit

It will be 2025, before I can upgrade my 2070S.
I prefer this over making GPUs strictly for mining like Nvidia is doing. Not only does it reduce the available gaming cards on the market but it also ruins the second hand market since these are harder to resell.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,808   +3,043
Maybe, just maybe, Intel - like AMD - did not design their GPU to be good at mining in the first place?

Just compare the raster and mining perf of Polaris and Vega to that of RDNA2 and then do the same for nVidia.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,268   +2,347
This is a much better stance than what Nvidia is doing. Anyone who thinks Nvidia is trying to help out by limiting mining and creating dedicated mining cards haven't spent more than a millisecond thinking it through.
 

nodfor

Posts: 119   +214
Even if 100% of Intel cards are bought by miners, still helps out the market since more NVIDIA and AMD gpus would be available for gamers.

It wouldn't make sense for them to introduce any locks, they are launching into a new market for them vs 2 established players, it seems to be risky enough as it is.
 

Alfatawi Mendel

Posts: 153   +241
Great, another launch for miners and scalpers.
They should stop calling it GPU, and start calling it MPU: Mining Processing Unit

It will be 2025, before I can upgrade my 2070S.
The 2070S is still a decent enough card. I wouldn't be too concerned about it lasting another few years, given the state of the gaming industry.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,742   +5,189
Just another sign that sIntel could care less who gets their equipment as long as those that do buy into their crap, and keep buying into their crap.

For me, its never again sIntel.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,334   +2,609
I didn't really expect it to be any different. Their strategy however is the most short sighted of them all: Paper launches from established players like Nvidia or AMD are one thing, a paper launch from intel's first gaming GPUs means spending a lot of money on promotion and marketing only so that nobody gets to try this on actual games and all become mining cards.

I'm sure they'll make a lot of money initially and who knows, maybe mining is here to stay for good and it will not be just a few more months but several years before PC gaming GPUs come back for consumers. But it's still betting on a market that will potentially crash and leave gamers uninterested in even considering intel GPUs once all 3 teams come back crawling to gamers.

Just...Don't market the card to gamers at all on the upcoming launch? If you don't want to do anything to prevent mining (And no, limiting would never work, but running a tighter ship around your distributors and AIB partners would absolutely slow down mining) that's fine: launch it as a compute device without talking about gaming performance and let miners pick em up.

Anyway last couple lines are a small reminder that if you understand the forces of capitalism you should understand why this is no longer like the previous couple of mining crazes, this one is here to stay for good: consider either moving to consoles (Even though those are still very scarce they'll recover reasonable prices way faster than GPUs ever will) or if you really like PC gaming consider exploring beyond demanding AAA titles: classic games and indie game do have a future as a solid gaming platform for the PC but anything that requires a GPU to have passable performance might never fully recover to early 2019 levels.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,904   +4,165
Gamers are one of the most rude and ignorant groups of people around. Why wouldn't you want to offset the cost of your card by having it mine while idling?

During the last mining boom, graphics card were hard to get bit still could be had at MSRP. Now, the absurd price of hardware is from scalpers. You can easily get a graphics card now, you just need to pay 100% above MSRP
 

Aceseven

Posts: 124   +180
Idc, quite happy I don't need to upgrade as I don't play any triple A games. My Palit 1080 works just fine, let them make more cards for the Miners.
this is one of the issues also, you dont need the latest card fresh out the oven to play the newest "triple a" games.

I have a 980ti that still maxes games at 1080p/60, I know it isnt 4k raytraced and whatever other abbreviations but it still handles itself damn well.

the fact the switch exists and keeps getting ports of new games proves if devs actually optimized their janky games we wouldnt need all this extra power to brute force their crummy titles.
 

Fastturtle

Posts: 21   +15
Seeing as Intel is a Chip Company, they don't have to worry about Gaming or anything other then does the card sell. If miners prove the card has better hash rates then Nvidia and AMD, the miners will be buying as many as Intel can make, freeing up both Nvidia and AMD cards. It's that simple really. I have as much loyalty to Intel as AMD and Nvidia as I do to Apple and ARM for the simple fact that what works and solves my problems is the only thing I care about
 

BadThad

Posts: 736   +831
There was no doubt they would not limit the cards mining. They want to sell as many as possible regardless of who's buying. No matter, as others have pointed out, having more cards in the marketplace will help the overall situation IMO. I'm hoping they are GREAT mining cards and just so-so at video games - I don't think these will match AMD/Nvidia in game performance based on leaked stuff.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 928   +821
Would be a big mistake for Intel not to ensure they have adequate supply given this is their maiden outing with the big players. Bad look when you are trying to convince people you're a serious alternative and end up selling out in a few days.

Does not bode well for 2022.