Intel Arc A380 desktop GPUs finally make it to the US – but it might be too late

Intel’s Arc A380 is on sale in the US at last – well, almost. ASRock’s Challenger Arc A380 6GB desktop graphics card is available to order on, with an expected launch date of August 22. Shockingly (read: not shockingly), it hasn’t sold out at the pre-order stage.

The Arc GPU line has been having serious problems for a while now, becoming a worrying black hole of wasted investments for Intel and its CEO Pat Gelsinger. With estimated losses of $3.5 billion, and analysts suggesting that Intel should sell off its discrete GPU operation, it’s hard to see how this new card will turn these turbulent tides.

The Arc A380 GPU that ASRock is selling has already made an appearance on the Chinese market, from manufacturer Gunnir, while MSI has produced a compact, low-powered version of the graphics card for laptops and small desktops. The A380 is one of the cheaper GPUs in the Arc line, competing with the AMD Radeon RX 6400 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1630.

Analysis: This GPU might serve a niche purpose, but Arc is still in hot water

One interesting thing to note here is the pricing. While the Arc A380 doesn’t seem to be a very impressive GPU, it’s cheaper than both of its key competitors at $139.99; although neither the RX 6400 nor the GTX 1630 are particularly good, so the bar isn’t actually that high. Pricing in other territories is not yet confirmed, but it converts to about £115/AU$200.

Compared to those two cards, ASRock’s A380 GPU benefits from 6GB of VRAM, factory-overclocked speeds, and superior AV1 video encoding. This could give it a niche market position as the best budget GPU for lightweight work PCs or media-center systems, even if the gaming performance is lackluster.

Still, this doesn’t feel like the big release needed to snatch Intel Arc from the jaws of death. The far superior AMD RX 6500 XT is currently available for as little as $155 in the US, and should offer much better performance for just 15 bucks more. Intel continues to tease the more powerful (and potentially more interesting) Arc A7 cards but with no US release date on the cards yet, Team Blue is still in trouble – even if its current-gen Alder Lake CPUs are doing great.

The A380 won’t even be able to slide into an affordable-GPU niche for professional PCs, because as part of Intel’s ever-confusing Arc rollout plan it’s also just announced a series of dedicated Pro GPUs. As much as we’d like to see Intel’s graphics venture succeed, it feels like this is a small stumble forward when the company should be sprinting ahead.

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