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August 17, 2021
🎂 Good morning! I forgot to mention it was my dog's birthday yesterday! Time flies!
Intel Arc
intel arc logo

Intel Arc is the newly announced brand name for Intel’s upcoming high-end graphics chips. Arc is fine and all, as it competes with Nvidia’s Geforce line and AMD Radeon’s GPUs for a lucrative slice of the discrete GPU market.

What’s more fun than Arc are the code names Intel will use for its generations of Arc GPUs: Previously known as DG2, the first generation Intel Arc chips are officially codenamed Alchemist. 

  • Future Arc chips will be known by the code names Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid, which is fun.
  • And that’s also a hint from Intel that it is committed to the market.

Intel’s GPUs may actually be solid:

  • First, Intel’s not starting at zero or a complete first-generation approach — it’s had integrated GPUs for an eternity, and its 11th-gen cores have been able to play decent high-level games without a discrete GPU.
  • There’s also software expertise, with Intel releasing drivers for games with performance boosts, just as AMD and Nvidia have done for some time.
  • Intel’s Xe-HPG microarchitecture will be used to power Intel’s high-end performance graphics chips for gamers and cryptominers.
  • They’ll also support features like “hardware-based ray tracing and artificial intelligence-driven super sampling,” to compete with Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX upscaling. The chips will also fully support Microsoft’s DirectX 12, all the fancy features included.
  • You may have seen a DG2 name floating around for this in the past: That was a tentative name given it was a follow-up in some ways from something Intel released only to system builders, called the DG1.
  • The Alchemist launch will be a series of graphics cards, likely split between desktop performance and low-power draw mobility options, RAM configurations, and cores. In short, no spec sheets are available yet.
  • Intel also released a trailer showing some current PC games running on pre-production Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs.

The problem:

  • Gamers and PC builders need those GPUs now. It’s still hard to find even far less-mighty cards on the market, let alone anything like an Nvidia RTX 3090 or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT.
  • And if you want to game on PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll struggle to find one of those too.
  • With reports Intel is relying on TSMC’s 7nm process, it seems like it is constrained on supply, and Intel said it’ll be a “first quarter of 2022” release.
  • I doubt Q1 2022 will see an end to the cycle of shortages, but having more from Intel now might’ve helped…

🥳 Hooray! Samsung is removing those pesky ads from native apps (Android Authority).

🔋 Google Pixel 5a leak reveals the largest-ever Pixel battery (Android Authority).

🤔 Leak dishes out key specs of the Samsung Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra (Android Authority).

👍 The Samsung Eco 2 OLED display helps the Galaxy Z Fold 3 use less power (Android Authority).

👎 Qualcomm built its ideal smartphone and you can buy it for $1,499, but our reviewers say you probably shouldn’t: it’s fast, but its camera is feeble, and my goodness … $1,499?? (Android Authority).

🔜 ZTE’s gigantic Axon 30 will launch globally on September 9 (Android Authority).

🔐 Sorry but the T-Mobile data breach is one you can’t ignore (Wired).

💌 Tinder will soon make voluntary ID Verification available, globally (TechCrunch).

🔎 Tesla’s Autopilot is under federal investigation by the NHTSA following 11 crashes since 2018 where a Tesla using Autopilot crashed into stopped first responders’ vehicles (Engadget).

🎮 Call of Duty: Vanguard announced, with more to be revealed in Warzone on August 19 (The Verge).

🏡 “I thought Lawn Mower Simulator would be way more relaxing(Kotaku).

💭 Anonymous chat app Yik Yak is back from the dead, for some reason — it was pretty problematic for anonymity leading to online bullying and such. Four years later, the developers are aware and trying to limit that … let’s see (Engadget).

💉 Finally, a shot to prevent Lyme Disease could be on its way (Outside).

Chart Tuesday

Rent prices are soaring across the United States, jumping by 9.2% during the first six months of 2021, or around 2-3x faster than typical, pre-pandemic years.

rent prices soaring


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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