Forward-looking: In the last few days, engineering samples of the Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs have popped up in photos and a video. Sure, they don't reveal much, but they show that Intel is making steady progress towards their release.

Above is a photo of an Arc GPU given to VideoCardz by an anonymous source. It depicts a combination of design elements from the previous two photographed prototypes: the black shroud seen in May and the black PCB pictured in October.

Four ports can be seen on the left; one HDMI and three DisplayPort. According to a leaked driver update, Arc GPUs will be some of the first to support DisplayPort 2.0.

In the video below, which may be from the same source that provided VideoCardz with the photographs, the GPU is pulled out of a shipping box.

Its small size (for a modern GPU) stands out. It's dual-slot, and standard height and width, leaving only enough room for two fans. It won't have impressive cooling, but it won't need to: with only an 8 + 6 pin PCIe connector, it's limited to 225W.

Below is a photo of the GPU's PCB taken from the rear by an anonymous source. It's likely that the final version will have a backplate, but it's convenient that this prototype doesn't because we can take a look at its internals.

As rumored, there are the traces for eight memory modules around the GPU die. If they're used with 2 GB memory modules, they'll provide 16 GB of VRAM.

Intel is evidently distributing their prototypes to partners, which suggests that they're nearing the final phases of development. Some commentators believe that Intel can still squeeze the release into Q1 with a mid-March launch, but it's equally likely that Intel will need longer to manufacture the cards and finalize the drivers.

In some ways, Intel has caught a lucky break with the chip shortage. If AMD and Nvidia weren't raking in record profits by re-releasing old architectures at insane prices, then they probably would've released a new generation of GPUs by now and left Intel in the dust. As it is, Intel could arrive just in time with an RTX 3070 / Ti competitor that could be in hot demand.