I love graphics cards, and I’ve been obsessed with them for most of my life – I just think they’re kind of neat. And while I’m definitely privileged that I get to play with pretty much every single one that comes out, this last year has been a little bit frustrating – and it’s all thanks to the graphics card shortages.
I don’t know what it is, but everything that Nvidia and AMD put out in 2021 has been kind of, well, underwhelming. While something like the RTX 3060 would be truly exciting if it was $100 less expensive, and the same with the AMD Radeon RX 6600, the fact of the matter is that AMD and Nvidia simply don’t have to be competitive on price – everything sells out no matter what.
But luckily, Intel’s Xe Alchemist launch is on the horizon, and as Anandtech reports, Team Blue has doubled down on its Q1 2022 release date, and honestly it can’t come soon enough.
No 3080 killer? Who cares?!
Leaks have been circling for a while, and one of the ones I keep seeing is that Intel’s flagship won’t be as powerful as an RTX 3080. There are probably people who take that as an excuse to dismiss Intel’s GPUs outright, but not me, that actually makes me excited.
The fact of the matter is that most people don’t play games on the RTX 3090s or the RX 6900 XTs of the world. Affordable 1080p graphics cards are where most people are, and it’s a breed of GPU that’s all but disappeared in the last couple of years.
If the Intel Alchemist flagship only matches the RTX 3070, that means its whole range of GPUs will naturally filter in beneath that performance tier, which is exactly what I want.
This probably won’t happen, like, right as Intel’s lineup hits the street – it never does – but Intel is going to need a hook to get people to jump on its graphics brand when it was simply never a force in the discrete GPU market before. If these leaks are to be believed, showstopping 4K performance won’t be Intel’s hook, but price might be.
If Intel could provide an affordable graphics card, even in the face of the shortage, it could win the GPU market by default.
Let’s be real
I’ve been building my own gaming PC since I was about 15 years old, and the entire time I’ve never been able to afford a flagship card. In fact, the GPU I have the fondest memories of isn’t the RTX 2080 Ti I was eventually able to afford in 2018, but the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970. That was the nicest GPU I’d ever had, and for the first time I was able to max out a Witcher game at launch – hell, it even came with The Witcher 3 (and also Arkham Knight, but we don’t talk about that game).
I had to save up for months to be able to afford that graphics card, and it was worth it. But it felt special because it was nicer than other graphics cards I could have bought at the time.
Because even though the GTX 970 was just as expensive as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is supposed to be today, there was a whole range of graphics cards below it that were more affordable. And now that we’re more than a year past the initial launch of Nvidia Ampere, and we’re approaching that for AMD Big Navi, neither of the GPU manufacturers have released a budget GPU.
I know I wasn’t able to afford a $329 graphics card when I first started getting into PC gaming, and literally no one else I knew growing up could either. I just fear that there’s an entire generation of potential PC gamers that are being priced out of a wonderful hobby. It’s not meant to be a rich person’s pastime, but it’s sort of becoming that, and I don’t like it.
TechRadar – All the latest technology news