Highly anticipated: Intel has officially announced its consumer discrete graphics brand. Intel Arc will span hardware, software and services, and stretch over multiple hardware generations. The first products, codenamed Alchemist (formerly DG2), are set to arrive in the first quarter of 2022 in both mobile and desktop form factors.

Alchemist is based on the Xe-HPG microarchitecture and is rumored to consist of up to six models with EU counts ranging from 128 to 512. This first batch of products will feature hardware-based ray tracing along with AI-driven super sampling and full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate.

Real-world GPU performance remains a mystery. Intel tweeted some gameplay footage alongside its announcement but without displaying FPS, it's mostly useless. Hopes are high, however, that Intel's cards will be able to trade jabs with the AMDs and Nvidias of the world.

"Every game, gamer, and creator has a story, and every story has an Arc." - Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions.

Future hardware generations will assume the codenames of Battlemage, Celestial and Druid, we're told.

Intel clearly wants to become the third major player in the discrete graphics space, and I suspect most gamers would welcome additional competition at this point. That's not to say that AMD and Nvidia are doing anything wrong, but rather that competition usually brings out the best in all participants. And in this unique time when GPUs are especially hard to come by, a third source to buy from will hopefully only help matters across the board.

Intel promised to share additional details later this year.