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Intel’s Arc Alchemist laptops will cost a small fortune

Although there was some initial confusion regarding the launch of Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs at the start of April, it seems, at long last, laptops equipped with Team Blue’s latest boards will become available in the U.S. soon.

There is a caveat, though. The prices attached to these systems, which come with an entry-level Arc GPU, are raising some eyebrows.

An Intel Arc Alchemist laptop with the Arc logo displayed.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware, the first notebooks and ultrabooks that feature the A370M graphics card have been listed on Best Buy. An Asus model will cost you $1,400, while an HP laptop will require a small fortune at $2,000.

The former, Asus’ Zenbook Flip 2-in-1 device ultrabook, is powered by an Intel Core i7-12700H 12-core CPU, as well as 16GB of LPDDR5 memory. The 15.6-inch OLED touch-screen laptop also provides a 1TB SSD, while its default operating system is Windows 11 Home.

Meanwhile, HP’s Spectre is an Intel Evo-based device that sports a 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1260P processor, joined by 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Alongside the Arc Alchemist A370M graphics card (4GB GDDR6), the $2,000 machine offers a 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD as well.

Other specifications include a 16-inch diagonal, UHD+ OLED screen with multi-touch capabilities, in addition to a 360-degree hinge that allows you to use Spectre in four positions, one of which is a tablet mode (a stylus comes with the laptop). Asus also implemented a 360-degree hinge for its Zenbook.

Tom’s Hardware points out an important distinction: The aforementioned costs aren’t necessarily uncommon for thin and light Evo laptops, with 2-in-1 devices naturally commanding higher price tags due to their versatility.

Arc Alchemist’s strong competition

However, gaming laptops outfitted with the more powerful Nvidia RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 graphics cards can be purchased for similar prices. Case in point: The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has both an RTX 3060 mobile GPU and a Ryzen 9 5900HS processor. It’s even lighter than the Asus Zenbook and HP Spectre. The price? $1,561.

Comparatively, the first Arc laptop that was officially released in South Korea at the start of the month — an Arc A350M Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro — launched with a $2,130 price tag.

This system was previously listed for $1,349 on a U.S. online retailer before it was taken down, albeit after customers already paid for the system (but were delivered Intel’s Iris XE GPU as opposed to an Arc Alchemist board instead).

Furthermore, Tom’s Hardware also emphasizes the fact that these $1,400 and $2,000 Arc-based systems are, at the end of the day, being powered by the entry-level A370M board. AMD put this specific GPU to the test when it compared its performance with its own entry-level RX 6500M, which found that the latter is 27% to 114% faster than the former.

Therefore, the A370M is a significantly less powerful board than mid-range versions from AMD and Nvidia such as the RX 6600M and RTX 3060.

The lacklustre technical specifications associated with the A370M GPU, coupled with extremely high prices, could prove to be a stumbling block for Intel’s plan to gain a foothold in the GPU industry.

Ultimately, it seems Intel will be pinning its hopes on the Arc Alchemist desktop series, with the company reportedly preparing seven models for that range — although you may have to wait a while before they hit store shelves.

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