Intel’s Arc GPUs eye up the sub-$200 market, but so does… a refreshed RTX 2060?

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Why it matters: By now, it’s no secret that Intel’s upcoming Arc Alchemist GPUs won’t match AMD or Nvidia’s best cards, and will likely be entirely outclassed by next-generation products coming next year. However, it’s also becoming clear that they’ll be almost uncontested in the low-end market… but according to another leak, Nvidia is readying a refreshed RTX 2060 to fill that gap before Alchemist launches.

An alleged leaked slide posted on Baidu once again reiterates that Arc Alchemist intends to leave the top “Enthusiast+” class of graphics cards — the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT, as well as their higher-end halo-product cousins — well enough alone. Instead, the upper portion of the Alchemist lineup, still referred to here by its DG2 moniker, covers the upper-midrange market segment, while the lower end “SOC2”-derived GPUs target the clear gap in recent releases below the $300 price point.

It’s rather surprising that the Alchemist product line is set to be derived from only two families of GPU silicon. By contrast, AMD’s Navi lineup has three silicon variants, while Nvidia Ampere is based on four, with the latter leading to the awkward performance gap between the GA104-derived RTX 3060 Ti and the GA106-derived RTX 3060.

Competition seems to be on the way, too, as according to insiders cited by VideoCardz, Nvidia is readying the RTX 2060 for another outing. The Turing-based GPU will see its vRAM capacity bumped to 12 GB, but other than that it is reportedly the same GPU that launched back in January 2019, rather than a higher-powered variant like the Super series.

Although it would lack the glamour of being the latest-and-greatest generation of graphics cards, a re-released RTX 2060 could help fill out the low-end GPU market if priced appropriately, as in laptops it’s been shown to outpace the RTX 3050 Ti. However, GDDR6 prices have exploded with the current GPU and console generation, which may pour cold water on the prospects of a GPU with 12 GB of it going for cheap.

According to the report, the card could reach market by the tail end of 2021 or January 2022, which would be just in time to pre-empt Alchemist GPUs moving into that same low-end market. It’s perhaps a little optimistic that Intel could still consider the $150-199 class to be “Mainstream+” — at least, not since the GTX 1060 3 GB and RX 570 way back when — but more competition in that price range is always welcome.



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