Intel Xe GPUs Will Have Hardware Accelerated Ray Tracing Support

At the recent FMX conference in Germany, Intel announced some pretty big news about their upcoming Xe graphics cards. A lot is still under wraps, but the company has confirmed that their GPUs will support ray tracing at a hardware level, putting them directly in competition with NVIDIA’s Turing based RTX line-up. This also means the Intel GPUs will pretty much leave the Pascal and non-RTX Turing cards in the dust, as far as ray tracing is concerned. Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

“Intel® architecture processors are the flexible, large memory capable, performance engines that drive the end-to-end creative process for visual effects and animated feature films. Today’s available GPUs have architecture challenges like memory size limitations and performance derived from years of honing for less sophisticated, “embarrassingly parallel” rasterized graphics use models. Studios continue to reach for maximum realism with complex physics processing for cloth, fluids, hair and more, plus modeling the physics of light with ray tracing. These algorithms benefit from mixed parallel and scalar computing while requiring ever growing memory footprints. The best solutions will include a holistic platform design where computational tasks are distributed to the most appropriate processing resources.

David Blythe’s recent blog provided initial insights into our exciting new Intel® Xarchitecture currently under development. We are designing the Intel® Xarchitecture as a cohesive acceleration companion to our continuing roadmap of Intel® Xeon® processors. As David closed his blog he mentioned, “We will look forward to sharing more details on the Intel® Xarchitecture in the months ahead.” I’m pleased to share today that the Intel® Xarchitecture roadmap for data center optimized rendering includes ray tracing hardware acceleration support for the Intel® Rendering Framework family of API’s and libraries.

Your existing investments in graphics and rendering solutions based on Intel® Rendering Framework open source products will seamlessly map to the exponential performance benefits of these flexible accelerated platforms.  Further, ray tracing as a general computational guru technique for a variety of simulation computation beyond rendering is rapidly growing. To put it succinctly in my own words “Leave no transistor behind” by creating a holistic software and compute environment ready to maximize your workflow for exponential benefits.”

For more information, you can read the full press release below:

Thinking ‘Exponential” with Intel® Xarchitecture compute and graphics processors

Intel® architecture processors are the flexible, large memory capable, performance engines that drive the end-to-end creative process for visual effects and animated feature films. Today’s available GPUs have architecture challenges like memory size limitations and performance derived from years of honing for less sophisticated, “embarrassingly parallel” rasterized graphics use models. Studios continue to reach for maximum realism with complex physics processing for cloth, fluids, hair and more, plus modeling the physics of light with ray tracing. These algorithms benefit from mixed parallel and scalar computing while requiring ever growing memory footprints. The best solutions will include a holistic platform design where computational tasks are distributed to the most appropriate processing resources.

David Blythe’s recent blog provided initial insights into our exciting new Intel® Xarchitecture currently under development. We are designing the Intel® Xarchitecture as a cohesive acceleration companion to our continuing roadmap of Intel® Xeon® processors. As David closed his blog he mentioned, “We will look forward to sharing more details on the Intel® Xearchitecture in the months ahead.” I’m pleased to share today that the Intel® Xarchitecture roadmap for data center optimized rendering includes ray tracing hardware acceleration support for the Intel® Rendering Framework family of API’s and libraries.

Your existing investments in graphics and rendering solutions based on Intel® Rendering Framework open source products will seamlessly map to the exponential performance benefits of these flexible accelerated platforms.  Further, ray tracing as a general computational technique for a variety of simulation computation beyond rendering is rapidly growing. To put it succinctly in my own words “Leave no transistor behind” by creating a holistic software and compute environment ready to maximize your workflow for exponential benefits.

Partnership and community: announcing Intel Graphics and Visualization Institutes of XeLLENCE

In order to better ensure advanced graphics and visualization capabilities are broadly available to the professional rendering, scientific visualization and virtual design communities, I am thrilled to announce that Intel® is supporting the establishment of Intel® Graphics and Visualization Institutes of XeLLENCE (Intel® GVI). Three world class founding institutions have been selected:

– Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI) at University of Utah, supported by Dr. Chris Johnson.

– Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at University of Texas, Austin with Kitware, Inc, supported by Dr. Paul Navratil and Dr. Berk Geveci.

– Visualization Institute of the University of Stuttgart (VISUS), supported by Dr. Ing. E. h. Thomas Ertl and Dr. rer. nat. Guido Reina.

These institutions have already made significant open research and open source contributions related to Intel Rendering Framework, large scale graphics and visualization and we look forward to working with them to bring their energy and expertise to enable all creative and scientific communities to better utilize Intel® Xarchitecture enabled platforms. I highly recommend you track the output of these institutes for the revolutionary ideas and solutions they have and will continue to deliver individually, collectively and openly for all to use and benefit from.

 “The Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute, an international leader in visualization, imaging and scientific computing, is thrilled to be selected as a member in this elite founding group of Intel Graphics and Visualization Institutes of Xellence. As future Intel Xe architecture products are deployed to further augment visual computing, we look forward to ongoing research and open source contributions in collaboration with Intel and the Intel GVI centers. “

– Dr. Chris Johnson, Founding Director, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah

“At VISUS at University of Stuttgart, we constantly look for new ways of harnessing modern hardware to allow for interactive visualization of ever-growing data. With Intel Rendering Framework utilizing software defined visualization, we have been able to bring our approaches to HPC systems and maintain interactive performance while dramatically increasing visual fidelity through OSPRay ray tracing.  With our status as an Intel Graphics and Visualization Institute of Xellence, and the ability to utilize the IntelXe architecture scaled across a variety of compute platforms, we will enable even more comprehensive approaches that reflect our overarching goal most closely: distributing computational loads over different resources that maximize each’s strengths; enabling discovery and user engagement though seamless interactivity and visual quality for the rapidly growing data set sizes of tomorrow. We are very excited and honored to be among the select few foundational Intel® GVI institutions poised to deliver impactful research contributions to graphics and visualization.”

– Dr.-Ing E. h.. Thomas Ertl, Head of the Visualization Research Center of the University of Stuttgart (VISUS), Vice Rector for Research and Advanced Graduate Education.

“TACC is honored to continue our partnership with Kitware and Intel to provide high-performance, high-fidelity visual analysis tools to scientists to help them better understand and better communicate their findings. Intel’s support for groundbreaking visual analysis work through the Intel Graphics and Visualization Institutes of Xellence Institutes will provide researchers more powerful analysis sooner in the discovery workflow. Through use of the Intel Rendering Framework and future Intel Xarchitecture products, the Intel GVI centers will demonstrate that powerful interactive analysis can be achieved independent of underlying rendering architecture.”

– Dr. Paul Navratil, Director of Visualization, Texas Advanced Computing Center.

“Kitware is excited to be an included partner in the Intel Graphics and Visualization Institute of Xellence, continuing our long collaboration with TACC and Intel for delivering compelling, state of the art, open source solutions for large scale, high fidelity graphics and visualization.   Through the joint efforts with the Intel IGVI, we look forward to enhancing our partner’s and user’s experience with applications like ParaView and the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) by including the capabilities of future Intel Xarchitecture products.”

– Berk Geveci, Sr. Director of Scientific Computing

Through collaboration with Intel® Graphics and Visualization Institutes of XeLLENCE and our industry partners who leverage Intel® Rendering Framework, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and, in the future, Intel® Xe architecture; Intel will continue to enable delivery of leadership solutions for high fidelity studio assets creation.

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Featured Image Credit: Cristiano Siqueira

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