Intel® Arc™ GPU support for Cycles using oneAPI

In Blender’s 3.3 LTS release, we’re excited about its many new features and capabilities, especially that the Cycles rendering engine now includes oneAPI as a rendering device API, with support for the latest Intel® Arc™ A-series discrete graphics and Intel® Data Center GPU Flex Series.

Bob Duffy, Director, Intel Graphics Community Engagement, and Senior Tech Evangelist.

An early preview of Cycles rendering on Intel GPUs was highlighted by Intel last March using oneAPI GPU-accelerated rendering on Intel Arc GPUs; it was also demonstrated in the Intel and Blender booths at SIGGRAPH 2022. Now, oneAPI with Intel GPU rendering support in Cycles is available to all Blender users with release of version 3.31.

The new oneAPI support in Blender 3.3 is using Khronos Group’s SYCL language and oneAPI DPC++ compiler, an open, standards-based language that provides multivendor CPU and GPU code development. This first implementation of oneAPI in Blender is what allows for Intel GPUs to render using the Cycles render engine. 

Once the drivers for Intel Arc A7 desktop series become available1, you can easily take advantage of oneAPI and put Intel GPUs to work for rendering in Cycles:, just go to Preferences, System and select oneAPI under Cycles Rendering Devices settings. From there, you should be able to select Intel Arc or Intel Flex Series GPUs.


Intel Discrete GPUs Provide Full Support for Blender Features

Starting with Blender 3.3, oneAPI supports full functionality for Cycles rendering, with complex path tracing scenes, Geometry Nodes, indirect lighting and dense geometry for both final frames and in the real-time Cycles Viewport powered by Intel Arc Graphics or Intel Flex Series GPUs.

See It In Action


Next Steps – Hardware Ray Tracing Support

Longer term, and through an evolutionary process, using this open-source development method aims to free Blender users from being locked into single, proprietary architecture and programming. Providing support for Intel GPUs is our first step. Going forward we can expect more great things from Intel’s Blender community collaborations.

This current implementation with oneAPI does not yet support hardware accelerated ray tracing; however, Intel is working to deliver Intel® Embree Ray Tracing  for GPU support in Blender for the Arc A Series and Data Center Flex Series GPUs. Development is also underway to add Intel® Open Image Denoise AI GPU acceleration in Cycles for Intel GPUs. An early beta version of Intel® Open Path Guiding Library (Intel® Open PGL) was demonstrated at SIGGRAPH 2022 showing improved Cycles performance for challenging problems in global illumination, volumetrics, and caustics in scenes.

Background: Intel Collaborations Advancing Blender and Open Software Development

Intel has been a long-term supporter of the Blender Foundation and became a Patron sponsor in 2021, the highest level available. Intel’s contributions to Blender include development consulting, integrating advanced features and technical capabilities, and providing training support. Intel Embree, the academy award-winning 3D ray tracing kernel library, was integrated into Blender delivering high-fidelity photorealism several years ago – supporting many films and projects.

In 2019, Intel Open Image Denoise was added to Blender, helping artists and studios deliver final frame image quality in less time, which has been embraced by the Blender community. The new oneAPI support using SYCL is the latest in a long line of features embracing oneAPI software contributed by Intel. Going forward, you can expect more great things from Intel and the Blender community’s collaborations.


Get the Software

You can make use of oneAPI for Intel GPU rendering on Intel Data Center GPU Flex Series or Intel Arc GPUs 1 by downloading Blender 3.3 LTS from blender.org. Both Windows and Linux are supported.

Blender with oneAPI support demoed in the Blender booth at SIGGRAPH 2022

See the below links to learn more about Intel graphics, connect with the Intel community of creators and learn about oneAPI.

Have fun creating!
Bob

1 Pre-release Notes: At the time of this post, Intel drivers for Intel Arc A7 desktop series GPUs have not been published, and there have been reports of stability issues with the current public drivers. Updates are in progress, and you can experience the benefits in an upcoming driver release soon. Be sure to use the latest drivers from https://downloadcenter.intel.com and check the release notes.

Intel, the Intel logo, and Arc are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

10 comments 7,517 views
  1. Minha GPU Radeon RX 590 Series não tem suporte =/.

  2. This is very exciting news. We need another strong player in the GPU market and I am definitely open to exploring these new cards.

  3. Techgage has Intel ARC GPU accelerated Blender 3D cycles testing and the usual Graphics Workstation focused GPU testing done so go and read there for the Day One Reviews as the ARC review embargo has now lifted for the ARC 770 and ARC 750 SKUs.

    • Looks like their benchmarks show the A770/750 is currently equivalent to an RTX 3050. Eevee is not competitive.

  4. How much did Intel pay Blender to add this?

    • This wasn’t added by Blender, it was added by Intel. The same way that Apple developers added support for Metal, NVIDIA developers added support for OptiX, and AMD developers added support for HIP.

      Luckily these days due to Blender’s popularity, Blender Institute developers no longer have to invest as much time/money in supporting specific graphics hardware, as manufacturers have taken over the task.

  5. Great news ! Now, we are just wainting for the benchmarks… I know that Intel’s cards won’t compete with the best in class, but I’m very curious to compare with a price/performance and power comsuption ratio.

  6. This will make the 20 Intel Arc users over the world probably very happy 🤪

    • As as I understood, the API is vendor independent. So in theory, other GPUs could also be supported.

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