back to article Intel challenges Nvidia, AMD with trio of workstation GPUs

Intel unveiled its answer to the AMD's FirePro and what used to be Nvidia's Quadro workstation GPUs this week with the launch of a trio of new graphics cards aimed at professional applications like architectural design, engineering, and content creation. Intel's professional lineup — marketed as the Arc Pro series — includes a …

  1. Snowy Silver badge


    Do they have professional drivers?

    1. sreynolds

      Re: Drivers

      Come on, this is Intel we are talking about - of course they only do the unprofessional. And then they cripple the system when they discover just how full of bugs their silicon is.

  2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    AV1 target "Quality" or "Streaming" ?

    As soon as "Quality" is selected, including some options to disable the forced grain+temporal filter, it is out for sure. And then we are back to do it on the CPU. Without disabling those filter, like I do for x265, you'll end up with actors looking so much younger, and kids with faces looking like plastic.

    1. Bartholomew Bronze badge

      Re: AV1 target "Quality" or "Streaming" ?

      > back to do it on the CPU

      Sounds like the first generation was fast tracked to market. I can imagine an interaction like this:

      Line Manager: Is it ready yet ?

      Lead Engineer: Well it works on the initial test cases, which is a good first step, but this is complex and will need to do a lot more before we can ship it.

      Line Manager: I heard "it works" and "ship it" that is good enough for me (YES, I'm getting my bonus and stock options), tape it out and I'll flag it for production and shipping.

      Lead Engineer: I don't like it, but OK we will freeze here and branch for revision B1 which will should do a lot more than the initial test cases ?

      Line Manager: No, we need to ship a million units first so save all that for the next generation of ARC chips or the following one. We need to see what AMD and Nvidia, and possibly Qualcomm, are offering.

      Lead Engineer: Alright, but customers will notice.

      Line Manager: Customers are idiots, all they will see is AV1 encoding and decoding in hardware. First-to-market nearly gets 100% market share.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sag notes that while Intel has its work cut out when comes to competing with AMD and Nvidia in gaming graphics, the company stands a far better chance of being competitive in the workstation market."

    Highly unlikely when considering the workstation market is comparatively small and requires stable drivers and certifications for specific apps (which are expensive)? Right now intel can't even deliver for the consumer market where "good enough" for GPU and drivers would make them a killer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The workstation market might be small but it churns. Workstations typically get replaced annually whereas typical desktops might be used for years on end.

      Your typical desktop PC costs about £400-£500 whereas an average workstation will cost easily 6 times that. So even if the workstation market is 6 times smaller than the desktop market, it is still way more profitable because people will be paying 6 times more money probably 5 times more often than a desktop customer.

      Sure, there is the gaming market, but that isn’t as profitable as you’d think because the margins are tighter and once again even the most die hard enthusiasts probably aren’t doing a complete upgrade once a year.

      1. Smirnov

        Re: The workstation market might be small but it churns.

        "The workstation market might be small but it churns. Workstations typically get replaced annually whereas typical desktops might be used for years on end."

        You really need to present some evidence for that because that's not what I see in the real world (and I spend a lot of time in that part of the market). Hardly anyone replaces workstations annually, because it would be an idiotic move, considering the fact that there are no new/better components every year (the average time between XEON CPU and Quadro GPU generations is closer to 3+ years), plus the components still need to be certified by the ISV.

        Out here in the real world, workstations actually see much longer use than desktop PCs, and often only get replaced when the application running on them is replaced, which is more like 4 to 7 years later.

        In terms of volume, the workstation market is a niche market that is shrinking by the day, mostly because more and more workloads are shifted onto servers or the cloud, where they can share resources like GPUs. The rest is increasingly dominated by mobile workstations (laptops). Actual high-end machines (like dual CPU HP z8 G4) are like a drop in the ocean in terms of volume sold, compared to other parts of the PC market such as business PCs or consumer PCs.

        In any case, the idea that a vendor like intel who already struggles to make it with its discrete GPUs in the consumer market which is quite forgiving to become successful in the workstation segment where stable drivers and ISV certifications are key is preposterous. Just ask AMD, which has been struggling in that market for like forever because when it comes to GPGPU workloads CUDA is king and that means Nvidia (and the rest is often well served with any kind of entry-level or mid-range GPU, like many CAD workstations are). And unlike intel, AMD actually has some good products with stable drivers right now.

      2. BOFH in Training Silver badge

        If I understand correctly, workstation level hardware need to be rock solid, especially in terms of the drivers.

        I have been reading that the Arc GPUs currently have driver issues, so unless they managed to fix that(or release a good driver for the Pro series), it may not work out well for the workstation market.

  4. knarf

    Thought they binned the whole ARC line up

    Rumours abound its binned, just after they appeared in host of you-tube channel with Intel Engineers on hand to protect the priceless cards.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Thought they binned the whole ARC line up

      While I welcome more competition to the GPU market, this statement by the quoted analyst is absurd:

      << "This workstation launch kind of negates a lot of the rumors that they're going to shutdown their discrete business that they haven't even really spun up yet," he added, arguing that many of these rumors are likely borne out of fear that Intel could pose a threat to Nvidia and AMD's duopoly. >>

      With the way things are going right now at Intel, I can guarantee you neither AMD nor Nvidia are not spreading these rumors about Intel's graphics division. That statement is just further proof that all of these so-called analysts are know-nothing know-it-alls. They get paid for their opinions even though they are hardly ever right. I would love to have a job where I can almost always be wrong, and people still value what I think.

  5. iron Silver badge

    > Nvidia's 3090 TI may capture people's attention, they are very low volume, decent margin, and ultimately make up very little of the company's profits.

    Unlike the workstation market which is huge and makes up... oh wait, the workstation market is tiny in comparison to the consumer market.

    I look forward to watching Intel's graphics division fail yet again.

    You could always try making ARM processors next Pat, you could call them StrongARM or XScale. lol

    1. Cuddles

      "Unlike the workstation market which is huge and makes up... oh wait, the workstation market is tiny in comparison to the consumer market."

      You may want to double-check your numbers. Conveniently, Nvidia has just posted theirs - $2 billion from consumers, $4 billion from data centres.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Workstations are neither datacentre nor consumer. They are in-between.

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