Intel's next gen Battlemage GPUs are up and running in its labs, and work on its next-next generation Celestial architecture is well underway

Intel Alchemist GPU renders on a blue gradient background
(Image credit: Intel)

After the less than perfect launch of Intel's first generation Arc Alchemist graphics cards, work on the second generation Xe2 Battlemage architecture appears to be coming along nicely. That's according to comments made during an interview at CES 2024 by Tom Petersen, a current Intel Fellow.

The interview was conducted by PC World. Petersen revealed that Battlemage is up and running in Intel's labs, with development shifting to the software side of things. The hardware team has already shifted its focus to the third generation Celestial architecture.

In a quote from the PC World interview, Petersen says: "It's coming, I am excited about it, and all our engineers, you know how they are constantly doing their engineering things. I'd say about 30% of our engineers are working on Battlemage, mostly on the software side because our hardware team is on the next thing (Celestial). So, think about it as the Battlemage has already has its first silicon in the labs which is very exciting and there's more good news coming which I can't talk about right now. We hope we are going to see it before CES '25."

Petersen is known for his openness and candor, and this is a good indicator that the first Battlemage cards are on track for a 2024 launch.

Speculating on how Battlemage cards will perform is pretty much guesswork with so many months to go before they launch. We can expect a new memory subsystem, improved ray tracing and updated machine learning features. Petersen also talked about game-enabled AI, mentioning features such as AI-assisted character animations and augmentation. 

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Intel has said it's targeting the enthusiast segment this time around with its high end offerings. Even RTX 4080 or RX 7900 XT levels of performance at competitive prices would make it a success in my opinion, though of course Nvidia and AMD will bring their own next-gen competitors to the fight. We'll just have to wait and see.

I've previously written about why all gamers should be rooting for Battlemage's success, even if you end up buying an AMD or Nvidia graphics card. Key to its success will be the quality of its driver. That was the biggest let down when Arc first launched, but with a few solid years of hardware and software development experience and surely the identification of its biggest bottlenecks, Intel will certainly be in a better position to compete from day one this time around.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.