Intel’s Arc treasure hunt gives us some clues about card prices

In March 2021, Intel launched an online scavenger hunt to help publicize its future GPUs, which we now know as the Arc series. It all started with a teaser video that directed viewers to a website and coordinates for Goat Island, which sits right next to Niagara Falls. I don’t know why Intel chose this particular location. It’s better than Hell, Michigan or Boring, Oregon, but I digress.

The hunt is now over and users have been notified of their prizes. We are able to glean information from the notification received by the user from Twitter Fries David (via Rock Paper Shotgun). La Frite David posted a screenshot that lists the approximate retail value (ARV) of the prize bundle.

The prize includes an Intel Arc “Performance” graphics card, merchandise, and three months of Xbox Game Pass for PC. The retail value of these products is listed at US$700. Since the ultimate tier Game Pass is $45 for three months, you can subtract $45, which leaves $655. Take away a little more for the merchandise and we arrive at a ballpark figure of $600 for the card itself.

A second winner @TheMalcore posted their loot too. This one lists a “Premium” Arc card, merchandise, and six months of Xbox Game Pass for PC, all worth $900. Subtracting the extras indicates that this card is worth around $750 to $800. It is important to note that Intel assigns these values. I guess bundled merchandise is mostly standard fare.

These prices are expensive. The GPU market is quickly returning to normal, and you can find an RTX 3080 in stock for not much more than the expected price of the premium-tier Arc card. I would be surprised if this card can match a 3080. Prices are volatile though. That apparently changes day by day and while Arc cards are still weeks away from launch, pricing surely isn’t finalized yet.

We have now accumulated a decent amount of information on Arc cards. There are some details about XeSS, Intel’s upscaling technology, the inclusion of AV1 encoding support, and the fact that the high-end card can include all three power connectors. 8 pin. But the really important things, like how they perform in games and what the retail cards look like, remain unknown at this time.

No less than three new GPU architectures will land in the coming months. There’s Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace and AMD’s RDNA 3, while Intel’s Arc Alchemist line is slated to launch first, sometime this summer in the northern hemisphere.