The wait for the launch of Intel’s Arc desktop graphics cards in North America has been long, but thankfully, it appears that it’s soon to be over. An eagle-eyed redditor spotted a new listing at Newegg of ASRock’s Challenger Arc A380, with an expected release date of August 22 in the USA. We inquired with Intel about this, and while we were not told if August 22 was indeed the intended launch date, we gained the impression that we will in fact see it before the end of the month.
We’re not sure when the card will appear in Canada, but Costco locations in the country are set to soon have demo models of Arc A370M-powered notebooks, following USA locations that have already rolled them out. Hopefully that means the Arc A380 will appear in Canada in the weeks ahead, as well.
While the Arc A380 will be a brand-new launch on these shores, it’s been available in Asia for a handful of months, with the GUNNIR brand being most prominent. Intel has released a list of Arc 3-series partners before, and interestingly, ASRock was not mentioned. It’s good to see more companies than we realized on-board; others Intel has mentioned before include Acer, ASUS, GIGABYTE, and MSI.
Based on reviews that have taken a look at the GUNNIR version of the Arc A380, it appears the card trades blows with AMD’s Radeon RX 6400, but falls behind it more often than not. While the RX 6400’s SRP is $160 USD, it’s currently easily found for $150 online. Meanwhile, supposed pricing of the ASRock Arc A380 is $140. We’re not sure if that’s official SRP, or assumes a premium for being an “OC Edition”. The A380 might be found cheaper than $140 once more models release, and potential game bundles could spice things up.
If the A380’s performance falls behind the RX 6400 overall, then it’s hard to say if its slightly lower price will manage to lure people in, but Intel does offer a couple of interesting perks in comparison to the RX 6400. Both the RX 6400 and RX 6500 forego integration of an accelerated video encoder, while Intel’s card includes one. As an added advantage, Intel’s encoder also offers AV1 encoding – a first on GPUs – and according to encoding enthusiast EposVox, it’s good.
It’s hard to say how long the AV1 feature will remain exclusive to Intel, as its highly expected that both AMD’s and NVIDIA’s next-gen series will bundle one in, as well. At that time, the comparisons will shift to revolve around which one can deliver the highest quality and efficiency.
In addition to the accelerated encoder, Intel’s Arc A380 will also sport a 50% larger framebuffer than the RX 6400 (and newly-launched GeForce GTX 1630), settling in at 6GB. It’s difficult to tell how beneficial that extra framebuffer will be on a card with this expected performance level, but for creator potential, it’s nice to have the extra breathing room.
Everything else aside, it’s just going to be nice to see Arc for desktop finally launch on these shores, as the wait has genuinely felt long!